Document Type



Since its passage in 1973 over the veto of then-President Nixon, the War Powers Resolution (WPR) has been laden with controversy. Labeled as everything from ineffective to unconstitutional, the WPR has generally failed in its design to require notification and consultation to Congress by the President. Despite numerous proposals to amend the WPR, it continues to languish in the twilight of Executive war powers, and its future is bleak. With emerging technologies such as drones, cyber tools, nanotechnology, and genomics, the ineffectiveness of the WPR will prove even more profound. The WPR’s reliance on “armed forces” and “hostilities” as triggers for the reporting and consulting requirements of the statute will prove completely inadequate to regulate the use of these advanced technologies. Rather, as the President analyzes the applicability of the WPR to military operations using these advancing technologies, he will determine that the WPR is not triggered and he has no reporting requirements. Recent conflicts (or potential conflicts) in Libya, Syria and Iraq highlight this inevitability. For the WPR to achieve the aim it was originally intended to accomplish, Congress will need to amend the statute to cover emerging technologies that do not require “boots on the ground” to be effective and which would not constitute “hostilities.” This article proposes expanding the coverage of the WPR from actions by armed forces to actions by armed forces personnel, supplies or capabilities. The article also proposes expanding the coverage of the statute to hostilities and violations of the sovereignty of other nations by the armed forces.


29 Emory Int'l L. Rev.

Publication Title

Emory International Law Review