Legislatures and Defense: The Comparative Experience, Occasional Paper #8
Giraldo, Jeanne Kinney
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Democratically elected representatives in a country’s legislature have an important role to play in formulating defense and military policy and monitoring its implementation (i.e., oversight). Legislative participation in these areas is desirable for a number of reasons. Democracy as “rule by the people” is enhanced by input from all elected officials, not just those who comprise the executive branch. The needs of society and the military are more likely to be balanced to the extent that representatives from all segments of society are consulted in the policy process. Although consulting multiple actors in the Congress on defense issues may be time-consuming, the end result is usually better and longer lasting policy. The policy produced tends to be better as both the executive and military actors involved are forced to defend their positions publicly.
Occasional Paper # 8
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