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Assignment of Certain Functions Related to Military Appointments

Date of Issuance:

Section 531(a)(1) of title 10 does not affirmatively prohibit delegation to the Secretary of Defense of the President’s appointment authority.

The Appointments Clause of the Constitution does not prohibit Congress from allowing the President to choose between making such an appointment himself and delegating it to the Secretary of Defense.

So long as each nomination is submitted to the Secretary of Defense for approval (whether individually or in groups) and each appointment is made in the name of the Secretary of Defense (whether the document evidencing the appointment be signed by the Secretary or an authorized subordinate officer), the Constitution would permit much of the legwork of the appointment process to be delegated to a subordinate officer below the Secretary of Defense.

Updated June 2, 2015