Undeclared wars have a history in the United States almost as old as the country itself and bear an importance that has grown along with the nation’s power, international status, and technological proficiency. Kenneth B. Moss’s highly original argument in Undeclared War and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy demonstrates that though the framers of the Constitution had a broad notion of the varieties of war and the authority under which they would be undertaken without a formal declaration, Congress and the President are leading the United States into conflicts without fundamental oversight and accountability. The concentration of power in the president’s hands is particularly troubling to Moss, and he traces the shift to congressional deference and even timidity. Presidential accountability to Congress and the public for limited wars has been harmfully weak, most recently in the wars against Vietnam and Iraq, says the author, and he proposes a new strategy for improving congressional institutions for oversight.

Kenneth B. Moss is a professor at and chairman of the Department of National Security Studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University. He has also been affiliated with the Siemens Corporation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.



1. Where Is Limited War in the Constitution?

2. Imperfect War and the Fragile Balance

3. The Rise of Imperfect War and Presidential Power

4. Keeping War Usable: A Place for Imperfect War

5. Justifying Intervention and the Increase of Presidential Power

6. Why Challenges to Accountability Will Grow

Conclusion: The Dilemma of Limited Military Force and the Constitution


“This is an exceptionally thoughtful, probing, insightful study that adds much to our understanding of modern warfare, both its practical application and its constitutional legitimacy. The manuscript reflects the author’s rich experience in both Congress and the executive branch. A major work that enlightens and educates.”—Louis Fisher, author of Presidential War Power

“Through its study of constitutional and political debates about American decisions to intervene militarily, Undeclared War analyzes the deeply rooted and hightly contentious ideas about which branch of government has the fundamental authority to make war. In so doing, it represents an important contribution to our understanding of intervention in American politics, which remains a matter of permanent interest to scholars and policymakers.”—Political Science Quarterly

“Scholars and others vested in the field will find the author’s work to be invaluable… this book is a treasure trove of research material.”—Parameters