List the different types of presidential directives
Gaziano (2001) says that the two most known directives are executive orders and presidential proclamation; however, there are other documents that have similar functions.
Presidential directives are written instructions from the president. These are to the executive branch officials about the way they should carry out their duties. Most executive orders are presidential directives.
Presidential Proclamations are written statements. They are meant to communicate decisions or proclamations from the President to a group of people such as government officials, the general public, or foreign governments.
Another type of directives are called signing statements. They are also written statements, and they are usually used to sign a bill that has been turned into law. They tend to use similar language to presidential proclamations.
There are many more types of presidential directives, some of them are administrative orders, certificates, designations of officials, general licenses, interpretations, letters on tariffs and international trade, military orders, various types of national security instruments, presidential announcements, presidential findings and presidential reorganization plans
Legitimate uses of presidential directives
The legitimate uses of presidential directives are when the President acts as Commander in Chief. The President under this use is limited by certain constitutional powers from the Congress. Examples of these are the power to declare war, raise and support the armed forces, etc.
The power of the President as Commander in Chief is very ample in regards to the armed forces.
The President can also issue directives as Head of State, and this is also a legitimate use. The President has sole responsibility in regards to foreign policy, including the sole power to recognize foreign governments, receive ambassadors and negotiate treaties.
Another legitimate use of Presidential Directives is when the president issues these as Chief Law enforcement Officer.
The President is solely responsible for making sure that the laws are faithfully executed. Regarding criminal indictments, the President has also the absolute power to decline bringing criminal indictments.
The President can legitimately issue directives as Head of the Executive Branch, in order to ensure that the President has control over officials and the executive branch.
When the President is exercising the above functions, he or she is doing it under the law, that is, it is legitimate for the President to do so.
In some cases, the validity of an executive order could be unclear. These cases are, for example, when the Congress is not certain about it, or the Congress has been silent, or even when a claim within the constitutional authority can be argued.
According to Gaziano (2001) in order to evaluate whether a directive is legal or not, there are two good points to help evaluate it. First, it is important to know if the power the President possess and wants to use is in order to advance a particular policy objective, if this is the case it will raise issues of precedent and macro-policy. Second, if a particular draft directive does advance such a policy goal it raises issues of drafting and prudence.
Last but not least, to be certain that the directives are indeed legal, it must be considered which are the constitutional and statutory powers of each branch?
Gaziano (2001) supports an aggressive use of presidential directives as he believes it is necessary for the President to project strength as a leader in today’s free world. I fully agree with him.
The reason I agree is because the world today is becoming in itself more aggressive. Today’s World economies are showing as aggressive as ever, and in order to show strength as a leader, Presidents should be able to use their powers in such a way to keep up with today’s free World. Foreign policies are also another area where presidents should maintain their strength, and the only way to do it is by using presidential directives, if necessary in an aggressive way. There are many powers in the world, and the United States of America is not the only power as it used to be. To maintain its leadership, the President must stay firm, and show leadership by using when necessary more aggressive approaches when issuing presidential directives.
Economy and politics are both part of a free and aggressive arena, and while, in the past, there was no need to use directives in such an aggressive way as today to show strength and leadership, today there is no other way.
Ultimately World bureaucracy is another aspect to consider, and to overcome this major obstacle and stand up as a leader, the President must use aggressive approaches or else it will not survive as leader of such a nation. It is the only way to be able to implement successful administration policies.
Gaizano, T. (2001). The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives. The Heritage Foundation, 2. Retrieved from