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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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Reforming National Security Oversight in the Senate

Reforming National Security Oversight in the Senate

(p.186) Chapter 7 Reforming National Security Oversight in the Senate
Watchdogs on the Hill

Linda L. Fowler

Princeton University Press

This chapter challenges the efficacy of reform proposals currently circulating in Washington and makes practical recommendations for improving the capacity of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees in terms of oversight of national security. These recommendations look beyond consultation about the initiation of conflicts to generate a more robust review of the implementation of administration policies over time. The focus is on the underlying incentives that drive committee inquiries into the performance of the Department of Defense and the State Department, with an eye to the self-correcting mechanisms at the heart of the Constitution that balance relations between the branches. The chapter argues that well-functioning committees that promote the rule of law in foreign affairs through regular, predictable, and public deliberation make a revised war powers act unnecessary; in the absence of such regular order, new rules for consultation seem likely to fail.

Keywords:   reform proposals, national security oversight, Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Department of Defense, State Department, Constitution, rule of law, foreign affairs, war powers

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