An executive order is a directive issued by the President of the United States that manages operations of the executive branch, including all federal agencies. The President has traditionally used executive orders to provide instructions for federal agencies on policy relating to national security, and they should also be reviewed during the research process on national security law issues.
Executive orders carry the force of law and are initially printed in the Federal Register and later codified in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations. They are numbered consecutively as part of a series. To read a detailed review of the executive order and its place in the American legal system, please review this piece by the American Bar Association.
In addition to finding executive orders in the Federal Register and the CFR, you can also view collections of these and other presidential documents via the following resources:
Multiple federal agencies are responsible for regulating in the area of national security law. Federal agency websites are often a great first stop in the regulatory research process, as they will outline the types of regulatory material issued by the agency and provide an overview of the agency's purpose. Federal agency websites also provide easy and free access to regulations and other policy-making materials.
The following is a list of the major federal agencies working in national security law areas, along with links to their websites:
Remember that state agencies can also play a role in supporting national security law enforcement, but this guide does not address state regulatory agencies.
The official codification of federal regulations is the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR"). It organizes all currently in force federal regulations by topic and allows for more robust searching via indexes and other useful tables.
Government websites, like GovInfo, provide access to authenticated versions of the CFR. Subscription legal databases, like Lexis+ and Westlaw Edge, provide access to annotated versions of the CFR and other primary law sources, and these annotations also contain summaries of judicial decisions, statutes, and other primary law materials related to a regulation. The following is a list of sources for accessing the CFR:
When using the Code of Federal Regulations to conduct regulatory research in national security law, try using the following tools to enhance your research process:
|Index & Finding Aids Volume||
The CFR Index and Finding Aids volume is published once a year and provides a variety of different tools to use in researching federal regulations. Included in this volume are: (1) subject/agency index for rules currently codified in the CFR; (2) a list of agency-prepared indexes appearing in the individual CFR volumes; (3) a table of laws and Presidential documents cited as authority for regulations in the CFR; (4) a list of CFR titles, chapters, subchapters, and parts; and (5) an alphabetical list of agencies appears in the CFR.
Note: Lexis+ and Westlaw have a separate index tool, which is also linked in the next column.
|Credit & Authority Line||
Found at the end of each regulatory section in the CFR, the credit line tracks the amendment history for the regulation you are viewing. It provides citations to the original Federal Register entries that announced the final ruling and any additional amendments.
This line also contains an authority note, which details the authorizing/enabling legislation that granted the agency the authority to issue the regulation. The authority line will be a citation to the U.S. Code, and it is another means for identifying relevant statutory law.
|Viewed at the end of a regulatory section in the CFR.|
The Federal Register is the daily journal of the federal government that contains government agency rules, proposed rules, and public notices. The majority of federal agencies will publish proposed rules in the Federal Register, so this is a good source for tracking and identifying potential additions or changes to an agency's regulatory framework.
The following is a list of sources for accessing the Federal Register: