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Watchdogs on the HillThe Decline of Congressional Oversight of U.S. Foreign Relations$
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Linda L. Fowler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151618

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151618.001.0001

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Police Patrols and Fire Alarms in U.S. Foreign Policy

Police Patrols and Fire Alarms in U.S. Foreign Policy

(p.132) Chapter 5 Police Patrols and Fire Alarms in U.S. Foreign Policy
Watchdogs on the Hill

Linda L. Fowler

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines partisan calculations about party reputations as influences on routine and event-driven public hearings, using the classic typology of police patrols and fire alarms. It considers committee choices regarding the content of national security oversight hearings by comparing routine inquiries to reviews of major crises and scandals. The chapter uses the unique characteristics of fine-grained coding of hearings to develop measures for police patrol and fire alarm oversight of national security. It also discusses expectations about committee behavior as well as the distribution of patrols and alarms for the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, particularly as they relate to changes in military casualties from 1947 to 2008. Finally, it explores crisis oversight as a form of committee review that is particularly important to democratic accountability.

Keywords:   public hearings, police patrols, fire alarms, national security, scandals, national security oversight, Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, military casualties, democratic accountability

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