What Is the President’s Role As the Commander-In-Chief?

As commander-in-chief, the president’s wartime responsibilities include deploying troops, ordering air strikes, invasions and bombings, and peacetime and homefront duties such as stationing troops, meeting with military and defense leaders, and making sure the nation’s veterans are treated well. Although the president does not have the power to declare war, he may lobby for Congress to do so when he deems it necessary.

Once Congress declares war, the president plays a very active role in how the war is managed. He orders troops to be deployed and warships to be sent. He participates in decisions regarding strategy and resources. The president is the face of the nation in welcoming home troops and decides which military members receive certain medals and honors. He also makes decisions on which service personnel receive state funerals.

The president appoints cabinet members to advise him on military matters including the secretary of defense and the secretary of veteran affairs. He also works closely with the joint chiefs of staff and the national security advisor during times of war and peace.

The president decides where troops are stationed abroad even during peacetime, and he may call on those troops for various duties to protect the national interest. All military personnel are ultimately under the president’s command.