Soooo.... Senator Spector says that he's also the Commander in Chief. In fact, he thinks that all of Congress is also Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Military decisions via committee. Now that's a good idea. Why didn't the founders come up with that one?
Let's see what they did come up with, and put on paper, about whose in charge of the Armed Forces.
The Constitution, in Article 1, Section 8, says that the Congress shall have the power:
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
And in Article 2, Section 2, the writers of the Constitution stated:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States....
As I see it, Congress raises the money for an Army and Navy (funny thing about that 2-year funding rule on the Army side and not applicable to the Navy; it really screws up long-term planning of weapons systems) and they make the rules for government and regulation of said army and navy. That's the UCMJ. It exists and is followed quite closely, except in the case of senior officers. The President is the Commander in Chief. That title was well understood by the writers of the Constitution to mean that he would be in charge of the Army and Navy, exclusive to his office. It is critical, and it is almost unheard of; civilian control of the military. Our founding fathers believed it to be of the utmost importance, that the military be controlled by the civilian government and obey the orders of the President of the United States. In fact, Congress has always required Commissioned Officers to swear loyalty to the Constitution, and promise to obey the orders of the President of the United States. The first oath under the Constitution was approved by Act of Congress; 29 September 1789 (Sec. 3, Ch. 25, 1st Congress). It applied to all commissioned officers, noncommissioned officers and privates in the service of the United States. It came in two parts, the first of which read: "I, (state name), do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the constitution of the United States." The second part read: "I, (state name), do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) to bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and to serve them honestly and faithfully, against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and to observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States of America, and the orders of the officers appointed over me." In over 200 years, Congress has never seen fit to question or change that portion of the oath.
Though the wording in our oath has undergone some changes since that time, it has never been without the oath to obey the orders of the President of the United States. And since the signing of the Constitution, it has never allowed for following the orders of the Congress.
The Constitution is also clear on when the President needs the advice and consent of the Congress. That's covered in Article 2, Section 2:
He (the President - ed) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
There's nothing in the Constitution that says the President needs the advice or consent of the Congress in order to carry out his duties as Commander in Chief. But now Senator Spector believes that the Congress is suddenly a partner with the President in deciding how the military will be commanded. He's got a lot of the Loony Left behind him on that one, I'm sure. And probably every single Democrat in Congress. Not that the Constitution has ever been a big read on the Left, but it's pretty clear that they don't have a leg to stand on in this case. Yes, the Congress can cut funds, as Constitutionally they control the purse. That's about it.
Given that Congress can't even get it's act together on something as simple as Social Security reform, I can't wait to hear what the orders from Congress to the military will be.