The Constitution discusses appropriations and regulations for land forces and Navy. Is it possible that the Air Force can benefit (or suffer) from this omission (on account of not yet being invented, of course)?

1 Answer 1


It is a vanishingly small possibility.

First, someone would need to bring a case that an appropriation for the Air Force was unconstitutional.

A Federal court is unlikely to find that it is because:

  • The constitution would be interpreted broadly where the thing being considered did not exist when it was ratified. That is, the court would consider if, had the Air Force existed the drafters of the constitution would have wanted it governed by the Federal government or the State governments. Almost certainly they would decide on the Federal government.
  • The Air Force is a direct descendent of the Army - originally being the United States Army Air Force. As such, an alternative line of reasoning for the court is that the army contemplated by the constitution consists of both the Army and the Air Force - the fact that they have been split is not relevant.

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