This article was submitted by guest contributor Zak Carter

A Constitutional Military would call for far more than just an end of our overseas military bases.
A standing peacetime Army is unconstitutional, our Founding Fathers abhorred them and warned us not to keep them.

From Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution –
“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”

The Founders made a clear distinction there between an Army to be called up when needed and a full time Navy.

“I am for relying for internal defense on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy which, by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burthens and sink us under them.” –Thomas Jefferson

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” – James Madison, Father of the Constitution

So just what would a Constitutional military look like?

End the branch I myself served in, the Army and the Army Reserves. Save the Ranger battalions, Special Forces, and Delta units and their respective support units from the chopping block, because warfare has changed since the days of flintlocks and block formations. They would from then on serve as U.S. Marines. The Department of the Navy, which oversees both the Marine Corps and the Navy, is the only professional time of peace force the Constitution allows for.

End the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard. There is no provision for an Air Force in the Constitution, and it’s unconstitutional creation only came about with the National Security Act of 1947. Any of their planes that the Navy deem necessary to their new defensive mission would become Naval aircraft.

A repeal of The Militia Act of 1903 would return control of the National Guard to the States, and each State would have a choice of keeping the status quo of a paid force, returning to a militia or a hybrid of the two. My guess is most States would return to a militia or at least a hybrid when they also get to foot the bill again.
Guarding the coast would once again become the Navy’s job, and so the Coast Guard can go back to being the Revenue Cutter Service as originally established.

This would leave us with the Navy, Navy Reserves and “the Navy’s Infantry,” the Marines and Marine Reserves, which is more than enough firepower to keep any enemy at bay. Reduction of those forces to reflect a defensive mission could follow. Letters of Marque and Reprisal would fill any gaps in Federal military capabilities.

If we don’t tie the military to the Constitution, we leave open the door to future Presidents willing to disregard the Constitution just as has happened for the past 100 plus years. It’s much harder to build a force big enough to invade the world in two 4 year terms and send it off than it is to just order invasions with a pre-existing military that is already designed for offensive campaigns. We have to change the structure, and not just the policy. Policy will not keep a Wilson, Bush, a Johnson or an Obama from using a standing peacetime Army unconstitutionaly. Thinking policy will keep us safe from an executive bent on bending to the will of the military industrial complex is absurd when we have a standing Army built for invading other nations. I’d also add that I agreed with Admiral Mike Mullen when he said “our debt is currently our biggest national security risk”, and I believe we have to cut back everywhere. Returning to the Constitution will show us the way.

“There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.” -Thomas Jefferson

“It might be here shown, that the power of the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their controul over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty.” Robert Yates, written under the pseudonym Brutus, in the anti-federalist papers

In Liberty, Zak Carter

Reality Check: Is There A Link Between Mass Shootings and Anti-Depressants?

  • Deva Bryson Winblood

    Good article. Thank you for writing it.



  • Matthew Mason

    That would save a lot of money and would could start to pay down our bills/debts. But what about those who are already retired from those branches that will soon be deleted?

    • Zac

      We don’t have debts, the government does, and we are the ones they owe.

      • Matthew Mason

        I wasn’t aware that the Government received money from an outside source other than ‘The people’. We, The people, have to work to pay it off, not the Government. The only way to pay off those debts is through taxation and limited spending. Our national debt is OUR problem.

        • Ricky Ticky

          No its the federal reserves dept

          • Patrick Piklapp

            The Federal Reserve is a private entity, so let’s do what Vietnam and Iceland are famous for doing and tell this private bank that they have to put up or shut up. In both cases, the private bankers have been held accountable for their misdeeds and Vietnam has even executed a few as an example of screwing over the general public.

        • Drew R

          The multi-trillion dollar national debt would be impossible to ever pay off. I say we tell the federal reserve bankers to stick this ‘debt’ where the sun don’t shine.

  • RedEyeJedi

    Great Ideas

  • Samuel

    Army special units do not belong with the Marine Corps. Sorry, Marines do not light a candle compared to them, and even if they did, the Marines already have their own special forces. No. Roll Army special forces into Stateside Guard units for special stateside tasks.

    • jumper297

      Special operations conducting missions within the borders? That’s actually your idea?

    • Ricky Ticky

      I don’t think that you understood what he was saying nor the actual role of a constitutional military.

      • Steven

        You should look up the 5 SOF truths. Competent SOF cannot be created after a crises occurs. They need to exist before-hand if they are to exist at all, and they play an enormous role in modern warfare.

        And he is correct in saying that Army SOF do not belong in the Marines — the mission set and mentality are completely different. USMC SOF is very recon-oriented, while Army SOF is very hostage-saving and resistance-training oriented, and USAF SOF is very support-oriented.

      • Steven

        Also, as a side point: he makes the argument that the Air Force isn’t mentioned in the constitution; but an Air Force exists in the same spirit as the Navy. Armies win wars and oppress people because of their physical presence on the ground.

        A Navy exists at sea, and cannot be used to subdue the populace. They exist as a support function to ground forces, and to control the maritime environment. Likewise, the Air Force cannot be used to subdue the populace. The Air Force exists to support ground troops.

        Without a ground force to support, the Navy and Air Force are both legitimate defensive tools. The only problem is that, though it meets the spirit and intent of the document, the Air Force hasn’t been properly integrated into the Constitution.

  • jumper297

    Interesting, but a flawed argument full of holes and outright fallacies. Warfare has become a specialized thing in out time and it takes a full-time, professional military. The Navy and the Marines are not “more than enough firepower” if we ever entered into a conflict with another 1st world nation. I could see a drastic reduction in overseas bases, especially Europe, but a full withdraw is also not especially smart or practical. We could also save money by letting the military be just the military and not a social experiment and funding mechanism for politicians’ pet projects.

    • Randy

      If you don’t do it out of hopes that other nations will follow suit, then you may as well just go ahead and blow everyone up now. Use the nukes so no one can ever attack us first.

      Either that, or the war machine drags us down and we all die by that which we currently live, regardless, the sword.

    • Ifreeman2u

      When you slap someone or crap in their yard, they may not be big enough to slap you back, but they might be resentful and later cause blow back so the CIA says. I guess you have to watch your back and the need for more weapons and military.

      How did Ron Paul say it? “We just marched in and we can just march out.” But power received and increased is always justifiable by those that have it and abuse it.

  • shine

    While I agree with a lot of the conclusions that this article makes, especially about repealing The Militia Act of 1903 and returning control of the National Guard to the states, this article is an oversimplification of our entire military structure. Obviously, the Constitution make no mention of an Air Force because because there was no air craft at the time the Constitution was drafted. Technology has made massive leaps since the founding of this country, and we adapt as our military power changes. The principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don’t change because technological advances or military prowess, of course, but the way those principles apply do change.

    Being active duty Coast Guard myself, I can’t agree with eliminating the Coast Guard as either. The Navy isn’t equipped to handle port security the way we are, and the Coast Guard’s primary missions aren’t offensive in nature to begin with. And the Coast Guard wasn’t just formed from the Revenue Cutter Service. The modern service came about in 1915 and was a merger of 5 different federal agencies at the time. The Revenue Cutter Service, the
    Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse
    Service, the Bureau of Navigation and
    the Steamboat Inspection Service

    Change in structure only comes through policy, which is why it is so important we elect constitutionally minded congressman and senators to Congress in order bring about the necessary changes needed to conform the military to the Constitution. In addition, military personnel cost are just a small portion of the overall DoD budget. You want to cut costs? Close most of our overseas bases and cut all of the wasteful defense contracts that are so near and dear to those in the military industrial complex. jumper297 summarized much of my sentiments on the subject. Let the military do what it was designed for, and quit screwing around with our capabilities to appeal to some extreme lobbyist organization or politician’s ego.

    I agree completely that our military is not to be used for nation building and that the whole “War on Terror” is nothing but an excuse to expand the power of the Executive branch. Bring our men and women home, and use our military might “only” to defend our country from foreign aggression, not use it to be the world’s policemen.

    • Ifreeman2u

      In general the article and suggestions seem “Constitutional” and in consideration of new technologies and a different world. For instance the Air Forces would be assimilated by the Navy as is needed.

      Zak Carter from his understanding of the Constitution and understanding of power or any power that can be corrupted offers a general blue print already in place (that is The Constitution) with allowances and considerations for a different world today.

  • Never Stop Learning

    People don’t understand why our military is all over the world like it is. I’ll give a quick explanation to what no one ever learns in school…

    Its called the petro-dollar system. Every country in the world that produces oil is forced to sell their oil in US dollars. That means if a country wants to buy oil from someone, they have to do it in USD. This means that every country in the world needs a lot of US dollars to get their much needed oil.

    This is the reason we’ve done so well the last few decades, why everyone wants to trade with us, why we’re so often the center of attention in the world, and has a huge part in why many other countries and groups hate us such as the middle east.

    It is why we’ve been able to ring up such a huge national debt without declaring bankruptcy. We’ve printed and sent over seas about 50-70 times as much of our currency as is actually in America itself. So we print out paper money, and use it to buy real stuff with from other countries (like China), and they have to use that money to buy oil.

    This system has been the basis of the American economy for many years, although the average American knows squat about how it works. Iran is the only country that has always refused to be part of this system. Its the key focus of why we’re always at odds with them.

    Remember when Bush went ape shit and wanted to destroy Iraq? Sudaam had declared he was not going to accept the US dollar anymore for his oil, but take the European euro instead. This could not be tolerated, so our leaders saw fit to his downfall. To allow one country to break from the system gives excuse for the rest to consider leaving too, since its an inconvenience for all of them but us.

    Why would anyone keep going along with this system instead of using
    their own money to buy oil with, you might ask? Because we defend this
    system with our military. If you made a list of the biggest militaries
    in the world, not only would ours be on top but we are also as big as
    the next 25 on the list COMBINED. If any country starts to consider leaving this system, we find justification to get militarily involved with them.

    So, we’re not out spreading freedom and unity and peace. We’re defending our way of life that is made at the expense of the rest of the world. And anyone who’s been keeping track of world events knows that much of the world is really pissed, and ready for America to be replaced as the king of this system. Its going to be a very rough future for us…

    Here’s a good place to start learning about it all…

    • Never Stop Learning

      It also needs to be understood that this system is beginning to collapse, and our status as the reserve currency of the world is coming to an end. There have been several reserve currencies throughout time, and none have lasted much more than a century at best.

      If people think our economy will ever get back to what it was in the 90s, they are sadly mistaken. Our economic troubles are only just beginning.

      To have a realistic viewpoint on all this, don’t think of the last 2 decades as being the norm and the economy now is in the dumps. Think of the last 2 decades as an incredible short burst of greatness, and how things are now is the real norm, with a very difficult time coming ahead. Manage your finances according to that perspective.

      • Drew R

        I happen to believe our best days are ahead of us. When free energy technology is finally available on the market it will revolutionize the economy. This coupled with monetary policy reform will be huge. We’re not going to have to work as hard as we used to just to get by, and we’ll all have more free time to tinker and follow pursuits of passion and bliss. With that comes innovation and social benefits as well.

        • Never Stop Learning

          Perhaps in time. With the kind of technology that’s being made and all its possible applications, the course of events in the world can go many different ways depending on the choices we make. Given enough time, I expect we’ll go through many different major changes. Hopefully, in time we’ll have a world that is wondrous beyond all imagination.

          But at least for our near future, things will get worse in many respects before they get better. We’re not prepared, financially or emotionally, for the coming changes and a rough period of adjustment will need to be endured. But its why the organism that is most adaptable tends to survive the best.

          One thing’s for sure lol, society isn’t going to be stagnant and boring. 😀

        • berky

          “our” is a relative term. You may be right, if you’re talking about our great great great grandchildren…. Perhaps I’m a pessimist, but I just don’t see those in power being so willing to give it up. I see the collapse coming as well, but I also see the replacement being ‘more of the same’ that appears to be change.

          • Drew R

            If the majority of us decided to be the change we want to see in the world things would manifest quickly. It’ll get bad before things get better, but it will get better. Birth pangs.

        • poof

          “I happen to believe our best days are ahead of us. When free energy technology is finally available on the market”< I shot coffee out of my nose when I read that!

          • Drew R

            And why’s that?

          • poof

            Because the actual 23% unemployment,inflation,spending by the government is not by any means at the top of the hill. It is only getting worse.Until I see it getting better,and I don’t see that happening,I cannot understand anyone thinking our best days are ahead.Our WORST days are ahead!

          • poof

            AND… with the energy corp.s in the whitehouse,and the candidates being funded by the energy corp.s,I don’t see any free energy emerging anytime soon.

        • Mom442

          Those who have introduced free-energy systems to the world have had their lives suddenly snuffed out.

  • Michael Norton

    Understanding the threat potential of the enemy and the amount of damage they can cause to the USA is way over the heads of most Americans. Why we keep elevating Al-Qaeda as our #1 threat to national security is beyond me. It does show what a bunch of idiots Americans are however. Al-Qaeda doesn’t have any tanks or fighter jets, so they’re not much of a threat to national security, for your information.

    • Mom442

      We continue to give them everything they have…our tax dollars at work.

    • awco1988

      Indeed, what it shows is that when it comes to what’s really going on with the U S political/corporate agenda, “We the people” are little more than the funding for mysterious “black protects” and “mad money” to line the pockets of the elite ~ paying with money, life and limb.

  • Al Wolf

    troops are mercs worthless welfare whores. they take orders and follow them from the same ones taking your freedom, liberty and rights. they follow unconstitutional orders and brag about it. they murder and rape innocent people and call it collateral damage. then wonder why people fight back on seeing them. i do not wonder, i know why.

    • FedUp

      You dont know shlt!! Youve never been in the military and they wouldnt want the likes of you anyway. Although I agree with this article and its premise to reduce our military to a minimum as per the Constitution, your comment makes me wish they would build a base on top of your house and plumb the sewage thereof through your brain. At least then it would have a useful purpose besides spouting leftist propaganda that you evidently have no clue about. I thought I despised Obama more than any living person on earth but you have just taken up a close 2nd if not a tie.

      • totenglocke

        “I thought I despised Obama more than any living person on earth but you have just taken up a close 2nd if not a tie.”

        Why? Because he called out government thugs who murder for money? Terrorizing foreign nations does not make us safer and being willing to blindly obey any order, no matter how illegal or immoral, is certainly not protecting Americans.

      • Al Wolf

        in that case YOU DO NOT support freedom, liberty or rights. you and the rest who down ranked this posted are fakes.

        • Draken

          “you and the rest who down ranked this posted are fakes”

          So because someone doesn’t agree with you that makes them fake? Must we all agree with you on every topic, or only on particular ones? Do you allow for debate, or do you simply pass judgement?

          I’ll be the first to say that I find your view on the military very disheartening. I know quite a few who have served, some still actively serving. Yes there are a few in the ranks that I wouldn’t trust with a rubber band gun let alone an m-16. There are others that I would trust with my life. I have no doubt that civilian deaths and rapes have taken place. What I doubt is that the people who committed those crimes speak on behalf of everyone else.

          • Al Wolf

            there is no grey in freedom, liberty or rights. you do not infringe on them. as such, yes. i do allow for debate. i wrote it that way to strike an emotional response, to be blunt and offensive. please stop calling it service. this is a pr word to down play the truth that the troops are murdering mercs. they do not provide a positive service. either they are aware they are following unlawful, unconstitutional orders in just being active or they are ignorant, pick one. they do not represent me in any way. anyone who identifies themselves as a vet or trooper is not someone i would trust, they think it is something honorable and to demand respect from. i grew up military born on base, grandfather was wwii dad was nam. i was once an ignorant blind trusting sheep who loved the troops. now i work to expose them as them as the scum they are. no id did not drop out, get dishonorable or turned down or wife banged by a trooper. the crimes are done in following any order be it to heal an injured fellow trooper or run the drones. it takes them deciding to follow orders and not question them for the harm to take place.

      • Al Wolf

        but please point out to where i was wrong…
        welfare whores, how do they get paid? our stolen earnings aka taxes.
        mercs, they do not protect our freedom and take orders for pay.
        given they are unconstitutional and so are the wars that is simple enough to explain… i can go into more detail if you want.
        do you need the rape reports? or the collateral death reports?
        gee i did not have to rape or murder someone you know and look how you react….

      • Mom442

        “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

  • Frank_in_Spokane

    Along those lines … Humbly submitted for your consideration, “An Amendment for Peace,” by Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, USMC (1881-1940):

  • Frank_in_Spokane

    And then there’s “The Swiss Report” (1983) by Gen. Lewis Walt (USMC) and Gen. George Patton (USA) — FREE PDF! (Read and share!)

  • Michael Lopez

    As much as I like the idea of this military back in the day didn’t account for all the technology we would have today like planes just like today our laws regulations and such don’t take into account technology of tomorrow which would lead to space warfare and it’s branches or inter dimensional warfare and its branches. Basically when it comes to something like warfare we spend way to much but as we evolve so must our defensive and offensive capabilities. This kind of thinking is the same kind of thought lines as people who want the internet to go away.

    • Mom442

      All the elitists and all the political hacks in the current administration “want the internet to go away” or, at least, to be strictly controlled by them. They ALSO want ever more warfare, which increases their wealth and power.

    • Robert Zraick

      We can always accommodate modern technologies. That is no excuse for allowing the government to act unconstitutionally.

      The argument that the Constitution is old or out dated is simply wrong. It is the argument always presented by those who support tyranny and treason, even if they mean to do otherwise.

      • Michael Lopez

        At no point did I mention that unconstitutional and illegal aggression was permitted. The ideals of the constitution are never out-dated because they have to do with freedom and I have a copy next to ma at all times which I have read many times. if you add
        you will see for yourself. That being said any document that discuss technology must take into account future technology when coming up with regulations so that is literally the definition of out-dated when it does not for the same reason I mentioned in my original post

        • Robert Zraick

          My comment was a general comment, not particularly in direct response to your post. I too keep a copy of the Constitution handy at all times.

          There are those who would make the argument that the Constitution is outdated. But they are either simply wrong, or they have an agenda to destroy the country.

    • Tom Jefferson

      Look how well the US military is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, with all of our “technology of tomorrow”. Your point sucks, period. Any country that wants to invade America…good luck. Not going to go well. If you’re worried about foreign aviation and air strikes…well we have a Navy with a nice compliment of Aircraft. Bye bye Army and Air Force…you’re not constitutional!

      • Michael Lopez

        Those illegal wars have nothing to do with keeping our army up to date nor have anything to do with technology of tomorrow. I don’t and will never justify those atrocities that were committed but that being said they have nothing to do with evolving our military and air-force on a boat is still the air-force even if they launch from the sea.

  • Tom

    I was once in the service (peace time/ cold war). Thought I was defending the constitution over in Germany on the border (not awake then). I don’t regret my time but we should have had better direction and within our own laws.
    As for this story; I like anything that follows the constitution. Today we see the service calling out “Global force for good” or using them in our own neighborhoods in patrols. I see why our forefathers made the wording as such in reference to a full standing army. It can be misused even by republic based elected persons. The original plan would sure be cheaper and less intrusive to the world and us.
    With my understanding of our military, I do wonder about the new dynamics of the world today (internally created or not) and whether we can rightly defend our land with ready well trained land forces. If we could get the local militia’s to pull its weight (I current am a local active member), then that would ease my mind.

    • FedUp

      Ditto Tom.

    • totenglocke

      “If we could get the local militia’s to pull its weight (I current am a local active member), then that would ease my mind.”

      That would be easier if our President and Congress weren’t constantly vilifying and trying to ban the Second Amendment that provides for the arming and training of the militia.

  • Klaatu Fabrice Aquinas

    Zak Carter, do you know who Lee Wanta is? Have you ever heard of him? If not, I will give you a primer:


    The author of the above article wrote his biography.

  • Joey

    And the militia can ride to war on unicorns and all of the Navy’s ships can be powered by rainbows and good intentions. Nice the way that you acknowledge that warfare has changed since the days of flintlocks and block formations, but you’re willing to make certain excemptions. As John Cleese so eloquently stated “It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality…..”

  • Trevor Watlington

    the air force wasn’t in the constitution because flying didn’t exist back then

  • Ara

    I’m there until:
    the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard. There is
    no provision for an Air Force in the Constitution, and it’s
    unconstitutional creation only came about with the National Security Act
    of 1947”
    not because I’m former Air Force Reserve, but more because that
    argument is the same argument the left tries to use to disarm us “Well
    AR-15s weren’t around when the Constitution was written so if you want
    guns you can only have a musket!”

    OF COURSE the Constitution doesn’t mention an Air Force, the airplane wasn’t even invented yet… smh.