|commander in chief|
|—n , pl commanders in chief|
|1.||the officer holding supreme command of the forces in an area or operation|
|2.||the officer holding command of a major subdivision of one military service|
The role of the United States president as highest ranking officer in the armed forces. The Constitution provides this power, but, through the system of checks and balances, gives Congress the authority to declare war. During periods of war, presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush have taken active roles as commander in chief.