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Is there formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy?

1a. Formal rights


SCORE: 100/100

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1b. Effectiveness


SCORE: 100/100

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1c. Independent legislature scrutiny


SCORE: 100/100

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The Albanian Parliament has the power to approve or veto laws on security and to reject or amend defence policy. These powers are conferred to the parliament by the Constitution of Albania [1], the law on the Powers and Commanding Authorities of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania [2], the Law on the Manner and Procedures for the Deployment and Transfer of Foreign Military Forces in the Territory of the Republic of Albania, as well as for the Deployment of Albanian Military Forces Abroad [3]. The Rules of Procedure of the Parliament (RoPP) stipulates that “the parliamentary committees oversee the implementation of the laws and control the activity of the ministries and other central institutions” [4]. Each draft law (including the Law on Budget and laws on defence procurement) is discussed and voted on in the permanent committees three times: in principle, article by article and in whole [1], [4]. After the adoption of the budget or procurements are subject to review by the Committee on National Security and the Committee on Economy and Finance [4].

Following constitutional and legal provisions the Albanian Parliament formally debates security policy and legislation related to defence and security in the permanent committees and the plenary such as the national security strategy and the military strategy, the laws on budget laws on major defence procurements, military missions abroad, international agreements, etc [1].
However, the role of the parliament in influencing defence policy has been rather limited as the parliament adopts the documents almost in the same form as proposed by the executive. Moreover, the role of the Albanian Parliament has been very limited due to the limited use of oversight mechanisms and ex-post oversight functions [2, 3, 4, 5].
Except for occasional hearing sessions of annual reports (such as the annual reporting of the Director of the State Intelligence Service (SHISH)) the parliament has very rarely used other oversight tools such as, holding hearings or inquiries, summoning military personnel, civil servants or experts to testify, examining petitions and complaints from military personnel and civilians, etc [2, 3].

One of the typical features of the Albanian Parliament is the political polarization which has resulted from the tendency of alignment between the executive and the ruling majority on party lines alone [1]. The majority in parliament rarely challenges the executive’s proposals so the adoption processes tend to be rubber-stamping processes leaving it only to the opposition to propose amendments and reviews to the proposed drafts. In the long run, this practice has limited the effectiveness of the system of checks and balances provided by the Constitution and reduced role of the parliament, as the minority in the parliament has resorted to continued and frequent boycotts leading to further polarisation [2, 3].
Over the last decade, constant allegations have been also made by the two main political parties that the prime ministers take advantage of their position to “buy” MPs to secure majorities in support of laws proposed by the government [3, 4, 5].
There is no evidence of undue influence by the military. Albania has a long tradition of political control over the armed forces that goes back to the communist system. This tradition of political control has continued in the post-communist period also with the Armed Forces showing no signs of any praetorian trends even during a major crisis such as the collapse of communism or the 1997 financial crisis [6].

Theoretically, the Algerian parliament has the right to control the defence policy as laid down in Art. 113 of the constitution, which states that the parliament controls the action of government (1). Algeria’s parliament is composed of two chambers; the Council of the Nation (Conseil de la nation) and the People’s National Assembly (APN, for Assemblée populaire nationale). Regarding the state budget, the government has to report to each house on how the budget is appropriated for each fiscal year. A law on the budget regulation for each financial year has to be passed by both chambers (Art. 179) (2). Art. 140 also states that the parliament is required to vote on the state budget (3). Formally, the parliament has a permanent National Defense Commission. The internal rules of the APN only vaguely say that the commission is responsible for matters relating to national defence (4). No further information on its powers or competencies could be found. Art. 140 stipulates that the parliament has legislative power concerning general rules relating to National Defence and the use of the armed forces by civil authorities (3). However, no formal rules stipulate that parliament has the right to review arms procurement. It has no formal right to veto defence decisions. Instead, the President of the Republic is responsible for national defence (5). In a state of emergency or during a war, the power lies with the President of the Republic. In these cases, the presidents of both chambers will only be consulted, and the parliament shall meet as required by law (6). No further details on the consultation process could be found in the constitution, in the internal rules of the APN, or the law that regulates the relations between the government and parliament (7).

In practice, Algeria’s parliament rarely questions the executive’s legislative proposals, and so the executive branch remains the most powerful, according to a report of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (1).

There is scant information available on the website of the APN or in the local news that mentions the work of the Defence Commission or planetary sessions on defence policy. The information found suggests that issues on defence policy have only been discussed on the surface and have been poorly reviewed by the defence commission or in parliament.

In 2016, the APN passed a law on the status of reserve officers and military personnel. It was developed by the Ministry of Defence and presented to the legislature on June 22, 2016, by the Deputy Minister for Relations with Parliament. The presentation of the bill was followed by a discussion during which MPs’ opinions were divided between the opposition, which expressed their rejection of this law, and the ruling parties (the National Liberation Front [FLN] and the National Rally for Democracy [RND]), which endorsed it (2). Less than a week later on June 27, 2016, the law passed (3). During other sessions of parliament and the Defence Commission, members of parliament were informed about defence issues, for example, the military industry (4) or terrorism (5).

Algeria’s parliament theoretically debates defence policies; however, research suggests doubts about the monitoring function of the parliament, including the opposition. Yazbek writes that the regime has neutralized the opposition who have “embraced the rules of the game and replicated the same illiberal patterns they decry” (6, p. 1 & 11-12). According to Boudhane, the Algerian parliament is, on the one hand, the only place where the opposition can express their discontent with the government. However, on the other hand, questions addressed to ministers are ultimately held back by the Speaker of the APN (7).

Due to the close relationship between the two dominant political parties (FLN and RND), the president (from 1999 until 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika), and the People’s National Army (PNA), there has been no independent control of defence policy. Yazbeck outlines in a 2018 report that the PNA is the main decision-maker in the country, which rules Algeria behind the scenes, while a civilian façade governs the country (1). Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, and elections have been postponed indefinitely (5).

The FLN and the RND dominate both chambers. In the 2017 election for the National Assembly, the FLN won 164 seats in the 462-seat National Assembly, before the election it had held 221 seats. The RND won 97 seats gaining 27 seats from the election in 2012 (2). In the Council of Nation, the RND secured 43 seats in 2015, while the FLN received 40. The Council of Nations is composed of 144 members, 96 of whom are elected Due to the close relationship between the two dominant political parties (FLN and RND), the president (from 1999 until 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika), and the People’s National Army (PNA), there has been no independent control of defence policy. Yazbeck outlines that the PNA is the main decision-maker in the country, which rules Algeria behind the scenes, while a civilian façade governs the country (1). Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, and elections have been postponed indefinitely (5).

The FLN and the RND dominate both chambers. In the 2017 election for the National Assembly, the FLN won 164 seats in the 462-seat National Assembly, before the election it had held 221 seats. The RND won 97 seats gaining 27 seats from the election in 2012 (2). In the Council of the Nation, the RND secured 43 seats in 2015, while the FLN received 40. The Council of Nations is composed of 144 members, 96 of whom are elected by indirect and secret ballot (2/3). Another 48 members are appointed by the President of the Republic (3). According to Yazbek, both parties defend government policies in parliament and ensure that electoral results are in favour of the government. The executive’s influence over parliament is not coercive, it provides incentives to the parties, such as political and administrative positions for their members (1). Thus, the undermining of legislative oversight is embedded in the structure of the regime. Major deficiencies and electoral fraud were reported during the last parliamentary election in 2017 (4).

The 2010 Constitution establishes in Article 162 that Parliament exercises control and oversight over the state accounts. It has the exclusive power to legislate on the general elements of the organization of national defence and the organization, functioning and regulation of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), public security forces and the information services (1).

However, a 2013 constitutional court ruling imposed limits on the parliament’s controlling and oversight function. The court declared several provisions of the parliament’s 2012 internal rules and regulations unconstitutional (2), (3). These provisions allowed MPs to question members of government and request parliamentary hearings and inquiries. Updated regulations were passed in 2017, while the opposition voted against them (4), (5).

Since 2013, the president of the parliament has dismissed several of UNITA’s, the opposition party, formal requests for parliamentary inquiry commissions into alleged corruption as “unconstitutional” or “unfounded”, on the Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA) bank (2014), the state-owned oil company Sonangol (2016), and – under President João Lourenço – on Angola’s Sovereign Fund (2017), and on the national debt (2018) (6), (7).

Presidents of parliament have always been senior MPLA officials, the current one, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos “Nandó”, is a member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau, and his predecessor Paulo Kassoma is a member of the MPLA’s Central Committee (6), (7).

Formal parliamentary oversight and controlling functions were formally restricted by a 2013 constitutional court ruling (see above) (1). Parliamentary debates on the defence sector take place mainly during state budget discussions and voting of bills regarding the defence sector, as well as in the 2nd parliamentary commission. However, due to the highly centralized nature of policy-making within the MPLA, there is no room for effective parliamentary debate. The ruling party has held a two-thirds majority in parliament for decades, and the president of the Republic simultaneously holds the ruling party chair (except during a short transition period between the 2017 elections and the MPLA Congress in September 2018) (1).

Opposition parties have unsuccessfully requested parliamentary inquiries (see above) (2), (3). During annual state budget discussions, opposition parties have repeatedly asked for more detailed information on the defence and security budget. In January 2018, the Minister of Defence declared that the defence budget corresponded to one-fourth of the required budget and that 94% of the budget accounted for personnel expenses; the Finance Minister Archer Mangueira gave different numbers (59% for salaries and 23% for social benefits). No documents were provided to back up his claims (4), (5), (6).

Parliamentary decisions regarding defence and security affairs derive from initiatives conveyed by the president, government and the ruling party majority in the parliament. President Dos Santos, simultaneously president of the ruling party, has exercised unabated influence over decisions of the ruling party in Parliament until he stepped down as president of the Republic in September 2017 (1).

In June 2017, Parliament passed a law that extended the mandates of the current security forces chiefs, including the intelligence services, to eight years. The law was criticized by the opposition and civil society as an unconstitutional attempt by President Dos Santos to limit the future president’s powers and to secure control over the security forces after stepping down. However, in practice, President Lourenço has used his constitutional powers to appoint and dismiss security forces chiefs regardless (2).

The Parliament has formal powers (according to the National Constitution) to approve or reject laws concerning the jurisdiction of the entire national territory (Art. 75), this includes defence and security. In this regard, Congress has published the National Defence Law 23,554 (1988) and the Internal Security Law 24,059 (1992), among others. Added to this, its constitutional functions are to authorise the Executive Power to declare war and peace, set the armed forces in times of peace and war, dictate the rules for its organisation and government, allow the entry and exit of troops, and declare status of site (Art. 75 incl. 25 to 29). With regard to the budget, Congress is responsible for the approval of the National Budget, previously formulated by the Executive Power (Art. 75 inc 8), where the defence and security budget is included. To this end, it has broad powers to modify it during its debate and, as of 2016, it has the technical support of the Budget Office (Law 27.3433). Once approved, Congress has no formal power to modify it per se. [1] However, Congress has no formal power to reject or modify defence and security policy or decisions in those matters, including arms acquisitions. This is a function of the Executive Power (Art. 99 inc. 12-15 ). [1] Two facts can be clarified here. First, the differential legal framework between security and defence in Argentina refers to the conception of two spheres of a different nature, where the defence includes external aggressions of a military nature and internal security to crimes within the borders (land, sea, and aerial) of the national jurisdiction. [2] A differentiation is also made in the ministerial structure (Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Homeland Security) and in the Parliamentary Commissions (Defence Commission, Security Commission). Second, Parliament cannot in itself interfere with the decisions of the Executive Power, but it does have scrutiny mechanisms (“balance of power”) such as generating new regulatory projects that aim to modify or reject aspects of government policy within the framework of its constitutional powers of art. 75; formal power to request reports and to summon the respective authorities of the Ministries and jurisdictions in charge (Art. 71). [3] [4] [5]

Congress examines and debates defence policies and attempts to influence them through formal mechanisms, but those attempts are limited. Attempts at influence through the scrutiny mechanisms that Congress has are undermined by the constitutional power of the Executive veto, whereby the President can reject all or part of laws approved by Congress (Art. 83). Although the PL has the power to reverse that decision, it needs 2/3 of each Chamber and if it is not achieved, the project cannot be dealt with in the sessions of the current year. [1] An example is the partial veto by presidential decree No. 1250/2016 to Law 27.329 that creates a special pension regime of an exceptional nature for former combatants of Las Malvinas. The Executive vetoed its Article 3, and the Congress did not insist on its processing. [2] [3] [4] These limited attempts can also be observed in the face of what happened after the enactment of presidential decree 683/18 that modifies the Regulatory Decree of the Defence Law (No. 727/06) and repeals the Organisation and Functioning Directive of the Armed Forces (Decree No. 1691/06). [5] In response to this, the PL activated scrutiny mechanisms in the Chamber of Deputies, through bill 4449-D-2018 to repeal said decree, and in the Senate with communication project S-2603/18 requesting the PE to revoke the decree. None of them have been treated in parliamentary sessions to date. Regarding another scrutiny tool, such as the request for reports and/or interpellation from the Executive authorities, in the 2016-2019 period, there was the creation of a Bicameral inquiry commission and the request for interpellation to the Minister of Defence about what happened with the ARA San Juan Submarine, in April 2018. [6] Finally, limited attempts by Congress to influence defence policy are manifested in the number of projects presented during the period. In the case of the Senate as a chamber of origin, there are 5 bills whose content does not deal with issues directly related to defence policy and 33 communication projects (requests for reports). [7] This is part of what Galván (2017) mentions, that from 2003 onwards there is a predominance in Argentina of the Executive’s legislative agenda. [8]

The executive branch and the military do not exercise undue coercion over Parliament in order to obtain votes, or at least that is public knowledge in the period 2016-2019. Protected under Article 68 of the National Constitution, which states that “none of the members of Congress can be accused, interrogated judicially, or disturbed by the opinions and speeches they issue in carrying out their legislator mandate,” [1] Parliamentarians have a tool legal that, as José Luis Ennis points out and based on the Supreme Court ruling (CSJN, Judgments 217: 122), “provides necessary coverage for the expression of the statements or qualifications contained in the speeches or votes given by the legislators in the exercise of political representation that they conceive and that, before a personal jurisdiction, acquires the status of a functional prerogative that guarantees them the best and freest performance of that mediation of the popular will.” [2] In both the Chamber of Deputies and in the House of Senators, there is liaison staff between the Ministry of Defence and Congress. They fulfill a communicative and informative role, and do not generate undue coercion. [3] Although the scrutiny is independent, the pressure exerted on the legislators can be attributed to the organisational dynamics of the Congress in relation to loyalty to the party (Deputies) or to the governors (Senators). [4] Organisations such as CIPPEC (2017) emphasize that the operation of the Congress has been characterized since 1983 by “the initiatives of the Executive in general organize the debate and constitute the basis of the plenary’s agenda. Legislators vote in a disciplined manner with the party block they belong to. The power of nomination in the legislative lists gives provincial governors or party supporters control over the legislators of their provinces.” [5]

Article 106 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia [1] outlines the establishment of the standing committees at the National Assembly to perform its primary duties; parliamentary oversight is among those duties. The Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly [2] that entered into force on May 18, 2017, outline parliamentary oversight over a wide range of activities, such as budget implementation discussions, providing expertise for lawmaking, etc. It also anticipates all those cases when the Parliament of Armenia is entitled to request more details both orally and in a written form, from the executive bodies to oversee the procedures and activities of public agencies. This is done through the third clause of Article 88, of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, through which the National Assembly exercises supervision over the executive power and adopts the State Budget, and Article 110 of the Constitution, which is on the adoption of the State Budget by the National Assembly upon the submission of the government. Furthermore, according to Article 155 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, the armed forces fall under the command of the government.

The separation of powers provided by the Constitution is duly in place to prevent any coercive measures towards the legislative. In addition to the provisions of the Constitution and the Rule of Procedure of the National Assembly, the Law on Defence [1] stresses parliamentary oversight over defence sector and provides that civic oversight over armed forces is among other principles that are applied while implementing defence policy in Armenia. The Presidential Decree NH-37-N of February 7, 2007 [2], also emphasized the role of civic oversight over armed forces and democratic principles towards defence budget planning. Meanwhile, according to the Law on Procurement, the National Assembly has no power to decide on major procurements in the field of defence. Under Article 5 of the Law on the Establishment and Operation of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia [3], the Security Council shall decide on the main directions of the defence policy. During the presidential system of government, the military doctrine and the national security strategy were approved by presidential decree. The new Constitution does not define who confirms them. The armed forces are indeed under civilian control under Article 14 of the Constitution, but there is limited parliamentary control mechanisms. Parliament adopts laws and budget drafted by the government (including defence one) however the conceptual documents are not confirmed by the parliament, but by the Security Council, consisting only members of the executive branch. There is no reason to assume that actual practice differs from the formal provisions in place [4].

Clause 8 of Article 15 of the Law on Defence [1] states that the armed forces should, by all means, stay neutral in political processes and decisions, channel themselves away from political parties, religious groups, etc. However, especially during the days of the previous authorities, the executive power had a direct influence on the Parliament due to the power structure. Parliament was approving most of the initiatives coming from the executive, in all the fields, not only the defence. The parliamentary oversight of the military was artificial. There is an expert opinion, that after the Velvet Revolution the involvement of the parliament in military oversight “offers a degree of promise and potential that the Armenian Parliament will adopt a more active and assertive role as an institutional counterweight to the executive branch” [2].

Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional democracy [1]. The federal Parliament has the exclusive Constitutional power to legislate, including by approving and vetoing laws, on defence and security matters [2]. The laws that form the legal basis for defence institutions and policies, such as the Defence Act 1903 [3], are passed and continuously reviewed and formally amended by the whole Parliament. Budgets, including the defence budget, are drafted by Ministers and annual Appropriations Bills must be approved by both houses of Parliament [4]. Legislative and policy scrutiny mainly occurs through Parliamentary committees, their authority being determined by the full Parliament as laid out in section 49 of the Constitution ((1, s. 49), see Q2A). The Australian budget process ensures that Parliament has the right to review budget and related policy decisions through Senate Estimates, a process that is open only to Senators from the relevant Senate committee [4]. Major arms procurements can be and often are also scrutinised through Senate Estimates (for example, the Future Submarines Program has repeatedly been the subject of questions during Senate Estimates, [5]) and formal inquiries. Defence decisions can also be scrutinised by Parliament through Senate Estimates as well as formal inquiries conducted by relevant committees [6, 7].

Parliament regularly debates and reviews defence policy, however, though Parliament has the formal authority to review and approve major arms procurements and defence policy, this right is not exercised effectively due to institutional limitations. While defence-related Parliamentary “hearings are generally robust and, being protected by parliamentary privilege, allow for significant public debate and dissent over defence policy” [1] , this debate and dissent very rarely leads to Parliament-led policy changes. On intelligence and security matters, a robust parliamentary oversight regime exists, which is consistently scrutinised and updated. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), bolstered by review rights and mandatory reporting requirements based in specific legislation, systematically reviews legislation, security agencies’ powers, and intelligence related expenditure. PJCIS can refer any matters for detailed inquiry and report to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor [2]. In order to support these efforts, PJCIS has the ability to review classified information relevant to these oversight efforts [3]. While the Senate Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) (defence-related committees) do regularly review and amend legislation and debate and approve budgets, their role and the role of other committees in overseeing defence procurement is self-limited. Unlike PJCIS, defence-related committees do not have foundational Acts of Parliament giving them continuity and specific powers, meaning they rely on procedural resolutions of appointment, referrals, and Standing Rules for authority (for instance, JSCFADT is disbanded and reestablished by a resolution of appointment every time a new parliament is formed [4]). Parliament has not granted powers to defence-related committees to review classified information, and requests for information from the executive are often met with non-answers justified by national security and commercial-in-confidence [2, 5]. Additionally, because defence is only one of three areas the defence-related committees scrutinise (along with foreign affairs and trade), resources are restricted to effectively evaluate individual procurement projects, which is reflected in the very limited number of arms procurement-related inquiries carried out by these committees [6, 7]. By contrast, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, drawing its authority from the Public Works Committee Act 1969, is able to systemically review defence acquisitions and uses of public land and infrastructure, and conducts inquiries into a dozen or more defence land and infrastructure projects annually [8]. These restrictions have led to public complaints from parliamentarians, even those belonging to the Government’s party, that they cannot exercise effective oversight over defence arms procurement and policy [9].

Independent legislative scrutiny is guaranteed through bipartisan Parliamentary committees that critically address aspects of legislation, and institutional mechanisms which prevent (former) members of the military from representing defence interests in Parliament. The bipartisan Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee and Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills carry out the “fine-grained, detailed examination of government legislative proposals” and protects Parliament from undue influence from the executive, particularly as the Senate does not include members of the executive [1]. Though there are and have been retired and reservist military officials and officers within Parliament, there are safeguards and policies to prevent an undermining of parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. The Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Act 1969 provides that Australian Defence Force (ADF) enlisted persons and officers must step down from active duty before electioneering [2]. The Military Personnel Policy Manual provides more specific prohibitions on political activity and generally sets the principle that personnel “avoid engaging in conduct that may bring the ADF’s or the Department of Defence’s political neutrality into question” [3, p482]. If there is still a question of a conflict of interest in a Parliamentary committee or inquiry, the House Member is expected to make an oral or written declaration of the conflict, and may chose not to participate in the committee or inquiry. The right of a Member to sit on a committee may also be challenged by a resolution [4]. The Senate Standing Orders make it more clear that a Senator is not permitted to sit on a committee if there is a conflict of interest [5]. There is no contemporary media or academic concern about Parliament being unduly influenced or coerced by the executive or former military officials in Parliament; in fact, Members who are retired military officials can be some of the most vocal critics of defence policy [6].

Parliamentary scrutiny of defеnce policy is performed in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1), the Law on Defence (2), the Law on Participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in peacekeeping operations (3), the Law on Military Situation (4).
Under the provisions of the present Constitution, the legislative (Milli Majlis – parliament), executive (the president) and judicial power (the courts) interact and are independent within the limits of their respective authority (5). According to the Constitution, the Milli Majlis establishes the general rules concerning defence and military service (6) and the basis of security (7). Approval of the military doctrine of the Republic of Azerbaijan (8), giving consent to the use of the Armed Forces for performing tasks not related to their assignment (9); and giving consent to declaration of war and conclusion of peace (10) are the issues that decided by the Milli Majlis.
According to the Law on Defence Legislative regulation of issues of defence and military construction is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan (11). However, the Law on Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, adopted in December 2017, does not mention the role of parliament in the article “Control over the activities of the Armed Forces” (12). According to the Law on Armed Forces, the Azerbaijani Army reports to the president, while oversight by other institutions than Parliament is minimal. This law says that “The Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Azerbaijan exercises the general control over the activities of the Armed Forces”, (Article 15.3). The new law retains the Prosecutor General Office’s oversight role over the enforcement of laws, to “exercise control over the enforcement of laws in the Armed Forces in cases and in a manner prescribed by the law.” The parliament has only a limited role and no oversight. Per article 13.3, “The Armed Forces can be involved in the execution of duties that are beyond its purpose via a decision by the Milli Majlis (parliament) based on a request from the relevant executive authority.”

According to the official website, parliament has the power to approve and to reject laws (13). Accordıng to the experts, parliament also has the right to review budgets, but it does not have the right to review major arms procurements and defence decisions. The details of what happens concerning the military are kept secret from the parliament and are never discussed (14).

There is no effective, meaningful, and open debate or review on defence policy in the Azerbaijani Parliament. Many parliamentarians believe that talking about military issues damages military power, and they are generally not supporters of the parliamentary oversight of the army and are in favour of the army being closed to society (1). Experts say that recent experience shows that parliamentarians do not play a significant role in making many decisions in military matters, they are simply engaged in signing documents sent by the presidential administration (2). In several cases, members of the parliament were and are unaware of what is happening in the army, which undoubtedly reduces the effectiveness of their activities (3).

Some experts argue that the defence policy is usually prepared by people in the Ministry of Finance, the Cabinet of Ministers and the presidential administration, and the parliament is not involved in the process (1), because of that there is no clear independent legislative scrutiny on the defence and security sector. So far, parliament has not criticized the government’s defence policy (2). Although some statements have been issued by some parliamentarians, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a counter-statement (3). None of the major issues relating defence and security in recent years has been brought to parliament for discussion, and the government has not made any reports in the parliament. There were calls by a minority of MPs asking the MoD to report to parliament. They repeated their calls in 2013 and 2014 (4, 5). However, the military never reported back to parliament and was never involved in a parliamentary hearing. However, in 2016, the spokesperson of the MoD took part in a meeting at the parliament and informed MPs about the situation in LoC (6). Changes in the leadership of the Defence Ministry (7), arrests and mysterious deaths (8), and the actual arrest of the leadership of the National Security Ministry (9) were not discussed in parliament. Experts claim that the military and executive powers are constantly influencing and oppressing the parliament, the president is commander-in-chief and there are no parliamentary barriers to his legislative proposals (10, 11).

The available data indicates the National Assembly of Bahrain (comprising 80 members: 50% elected and 50% appointed as part of the Shura Council) has no formal rights on defence policies, and it has no formal right to scrutinize it [1, 2,3]. The National Assembly cannot vote on defence policies, budgets of defence or question them.

Although there is a committee dedicated to defence and foreign relations, they do not debate defence policies, such as arms import, or defence procurement, plans, and so on [1]. For example, they did not debate or approve the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) coalition’s military operation in Bahrain [2]. The National Assembly is not effective when it comes to defence issues, including the budget.

Bahrain is a kingdom where the Head of the State is King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, and he is the Chief Commander of the Bahrain Defence Force. As the executive, he has ultimate power over all the military’s policies [1, 2, 3]. Therefore, there is sufficient reason to believe that the executive undermines the National Assembly’s efforts for effective scrutiny.

Parliament has no formal jurisdiction to scrutinise defence policy matters; this is a function of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) [1]. There is no official record to suggest that the existing defence policy, approved by the Cabinet on March 20, 2018, was ever discussed during meetings of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Defence (PSCMoD) or in any question and answer session of Parliament [2].

Parliament does not debate or review defence policy [1]; no further evidence was found on this subject.

It is evident from several analyses that both civil and military administrations have been operating on a collaborative model [1]. The government has given the military a free hand in defence spending, which has risen by more than 120% since 2009 [2]. This free licence has made military officials ‘invincible’ and enabled them to act with absolute impunity, despite credible allegations of human rights violations [3]. The political elite has seized this opportunity to undermine the overall democratic governance framework through ‘state capture’ by powerful politicians, bureaucrats and businesspeople [4].

Belgium’s federal Parliament has the exclusive power to approve or veto laws on security, and to reject or amend defence policy. It also has the right to review defence budgets, major arms procurements and decisions on defence matters. The federal budget includes a section on “defence” that is detailed (308-319, 2018). The annual report for the “Defence Budget 2019” which covers 2018 is subsumed under the Foreign Affairs, International trade, development cooperation and defence. Parliament also oversees arms procurement programmes presented by the Ministry of Defence. The House of Representatives oversees security and defence policies, as well as the permanent committee of control of defence intelligence [1, 2]. Parliament’s exclusive powers are:
1. Government-making power;
2. Control of the federal government;
3. Political control, e.g. the confidence given to the government at the time of its installation, which is conditional and can be revoked;
4. All government members must communicate their political statements to the chamber when they take office;
5. The ‘Control of Ministers’ policy, or the right of interpellation, which is a means of controlling the policy of ministers;
6. Financial and budgetary control. The chamber has jurisdiction over the adoption or rejection of budgets and the establishment of final accounts (article 74 of the Constitution) [3].

Belgium’s federal Parliament has the exclusive power to approve or veto laws on security, and to reject or amend defence policy [1, 2, 3]. It also has the right to review defence budgets, major arms procurements and decisions for defence. Debates on these topics are mainly held in the Commission of Defence, the Commission of Defence Purchases and Sales [4]. The reports of the discussions on these topics are found in the archives of the Chamber of Representatives.

Belgium’s federal Parliament has the exclusive power to approve or veto laws on security, and to reject or amend defence policy. It also has the right to review defence budgets, major arms procurements and decisions for defence. The rules of procedure of the Chamber stipulates its position within the government [1]. Its procedures ensure that it cannot be coerced or unduly influenced by the executive branch or the military. There is also no evidence that this happens below the radar [2, 3].

One academic study has highlighted the asymmetry in information between the defence administration on the one hand and the government/parliament on the other. In the case of the procurement of the F-35 leaked emails, there was active steering of information by the defence administration towards influencing the choice of the preferred acquisition [4, 5]. An investigation by the Federal Audit Service which followed these leaked emails concluded that the structure of the F16 replacement project is “not conducive for sufficient information streams” and that “herein a danger could be identified, which is that only like-minded visions determine the course of action, therefore lacking a healthy and critical reflection, which is alien to the own powers”. Following both an internal and external audit, a parliamentary commission was organised regarding the F-35 issue. It was then proven that no irregularities took place.

The Parliamentary Assembly has no formal powers over the defence policy. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopts the policy with the Parliament Assembly having any powers on amending or rejecting it.

Following Article 10 of the Law on Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina has the following competencies:
a) Power to declare a state of war upon the request of the Presidency in the event of a direct attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina or any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
b) Power to declare a state of emergency upon the request of the Presidency when there is a threat to the existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a threat of an attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina or any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or an immediate danger of war,
c) Exercising democratic parliamentary control over the Armed Forces and all defence institutions at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
d) Legislating all matters related to the organisation, funding, manning, training, equipping, deployment and employment of the Armed Forces,
e) Confirming appointments of the Chief and Deputy Chiefs of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, the Commander and Deputy Commanders of the Operational Command of the Armed Forces, Commander and Deputy Commanders of the Support Command of the Armed Forces and all general officers in the Armed Forces,
f) Authority to oversee and investigate all matters related to the organisation, funding, manning, training, equipping, deployment and employment of the Armed Forces.
g) Adoption of rules regulating the safeguarding of secret information during investigations and deliberations.

In accordance Article 12 paragraph o) of the Law on Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has to adopt the Security Policy and Defence Policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide strategic guidance in foreign affairs and defence matters [1].

The parliament does not regularly approve and veto laws on security and the best example of this that the Law on Defence has not been amended since its adoption in 2005 [1]. Parliament implements its budget by adopting a state budget that also covers the defence budget (page number 12 of the state budget) [2]. In accordance with Article 12 paragraph O, of the Law on Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is required to adopt the Security Policy and Defence Policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide strategic guidance in foreign affairs and defence matters [1]. It utilizes the 2006 BiH Security Policy and the 2008 BiH Defence Policy to help draft guidance through inter-departmental cooperative institutions. Although according to Article 10 paragraph C, the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Parliamentary Assembly exercises democratic parliamentary control over the armed forces and all defence institutions at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus affects the defence policy, within the time framework 2012-2014, there were no parliamentary questions and interpellations on defence and security issues [3].

The Parliamentary Assembly has no formal powers over the defence policy. There is a lack of up-to-date research in regards of parliamentary questionas and interpellations on defence and security issues post-2014. There were no specific sessions of PABiH regarding the defence policy. The AFBiH have been mentioned in the PABIH in regards of the migrant crisis, where soldiers would be used on the eastern border (to Serbia and Montengro) to assist the Border police of BiH.

The majority of the elected representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina compose the ruling majority who appoint the members of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the central state government). Since the multiparty system was introduced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there has been a high level of strong discipline within the political parties. Consequently, the party discipline is strongly expressed in the functioning of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina [1]. It also affects the prescribed democratic division between legislative and executive authorities and provides a solid ground for the executive branch of power to constantly influence the decision-making process in the legislative branch of power. For example, from 1996 to the present day, the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina has never voted to oust to the government, calling it to step away from its ruling position [2]. In general, it can be concluded that Bosnia and Herzegovina shows some characteristics of autocracy [3].
There is no evidence of military coercing the legislature. However due to the specific system set in place of the military hieararchy and the political influence on the appointment of high ranking military officials, as well as the high party discipline, there is indirect influence through through the executive and party politics.

The Parliament of Botswana is the supreme legislative authority. The National Assembly is a representative body elected by universal adult suffrage and consists of both men and women from all sections of society. Parliament was established on the 1st March 1965 as constitutional provision Chapter V part I Section 57-76 [1]. Whilst the Parliament of Botswana comprises of two houses, National Assembly and Ntlo ya Dikgosi, it is only the National Assembly that has the powers to make laws that govern the country [1]. There is no specific Committee that has veto powers to reject the Defence/Security Budget [1]. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Security and Government Assurances is responsible for scrutinizing the Defence Policy. However, it is important to note that Botswana does not have a Defence policy [2]. Instead, the President has the power to declare war. Similarly, their Parliament does not have veto power over defence procurement but the President has the ultimate veto power instead. Also, the Constitution of Botswana stipulates very limited controls of the Parliament over the Armed forces. In the final analysis, the Parliament can scrutinize budgets but nothing more than that.

In the absence of a clear Defence Policy, the Parliament of Botswana does have the powers to debate the Defence Budget. Whilst the Defence Budget does not define the specific items to be procured by the Defence Policy, the legal provision remains in place to be utilised once there is a Defence Policy [1]. This is provided for in terms of sections 86-88 of the 1966 Botswana Constitution (As Amended). The Defence Budget is debated in Parliament whilst the expenditure related to the Defence Policy is not[1]. The assumption here is that once the Defence Budget has been debated then there is tacit approval of whatever may have been included in the Defence Policy if at all it existed. In this case, there is no Defence Policy to talk about [2].

The current Executive of President, Mogkweetsi Masisi, came into power on 1st April 2018. There is no clear evidence as to any coercion either by the Executive of the Defence. However, there have been some reports in the media pointing to the interference by the previous Executive [1]. No legal action has been taken by the current administration regarding this alleged corruption [2.
In one report, it was stated that Investigator, Jako Hubona, with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime — an intelligence unit that probes state graft — accused Khama, former intelligence chief Isaac Kgosi and another senior intelligence officer, Weleminah Maswabi, of transferring some of the funds to HSBC Bank in Hong Kong and leading South African banks. The rest was pumped into offshore accounts as well as South African bank accounts. Hubona, claimed in an affidavit deposed in a recent high profile court case against Maswabi. So far, only Maswabi has been charged and is facing three counts of financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property and false declaration for the passport. She has since been granted bail and will make a court appearance in February next year. No charges against Khama have been filed in court.

All laws and main national policies, budgets, major arms procurements, and defence decisions are subject to evaluation by the two legislative chambers in Brazil. If they are chosen to be evaluated by a specialized committee, the full house should later vote about the policy or law [1, 2]. The specialized committees have an important role in this process: in 2019, for example, the Senate’s Commission approved the budget for a Program of Reequipment of the Brazilian Air Force, and also another amendment that reserves R$200.000 for the Navy’s equipment acquisition [3].

They have the competence (Article 90º of the Senate’s internal regulation) [4] to:
(1) discuss and vote draft bills that are related to their specific subject;
(2) to organize public audiences with entities of civil society;
(3) to summon state ministries or any other leaders of public organizations;
(4) to receive petitions, comments or complaints from any citizen against public entities or authorities;
(5) to ask for the deposition of any citizen;
(6) to evaluate any governmental plan or policy;
(7) to propose the termination of any act of the Executive that exceeds its regulation role;
(8) to follow the Executive’s elaboration of the national budgetary plan;
(9) to monitor and control the policies related to the commission’s expertise;
(10) to inspect any act of the indirect administration;
(11) to study any subject of the area and to make proposals about it;
(12) to deliberate regarding the merit of the proposals under its evaluation;
(13) to perform due diligence.

The legislature also has the capacity to establish temporary observatories, such as the one established to oversee the Federal Intervention on Rio de Janeiro’s Public Security (OLERJ) [5], delivered to the Army to conduct during 2018 [6]. The president can issue presidential decrees, but they have to be voted by the legislature to remain valid after 90 days.

There is a well-known lack of interest in defence policy from Brazilian legislators. Both the Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defence (CRE) and the Chamber of Deputies’ Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defence (CREDN) have very limited influence on some defence policy-making [1]. There is also a lack of substantial debate on the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations [2]. Finally, and in addition to the lack of civilian engagement in defence matters, there is a strong military lobby in the legislative, which has a history of successful influence in many topics, such as in making the Execuive and the Senate to endorse a pension reform that excludes military personnel [3].

Legally, all Defence Policy related documents should be debated and approved by the legislature. A revision of these documents occurred in 2016, and in 2019 they were debated and approved by the Chamber of Deputies – which sent the documents to the Senate for evaluation [4]. Major acquisitions were also evaluated and debated by legislative commissions several times. One example is the Gripen aircraft acquisition, which was debated several times in the CREDN [5], including a formal inquiry regarding a sudden rise in the prices negotiated with Sweden [6]. However, when corruption accusations in this acquisition emerged in 2016, there was no reaction from the legislative. According to a search of the Chamber of Deputies’ website using the term ‘Gripen’, all the recent messages were about technicalities and the need for ensuring the budgets to keep pursuing the project [7]. The only mention of the accusations of Gripen overbilling in plenary (and not in the realm of the specialized committee) was made in 2017 by deputy Luis Carlos Hauly [8, 9]. In 2018, the legislature decided to take action in overseeing the Armed Forces actuation in the Federal Intervention of Rio de Janeiro’s public security. In this intervention, the state’s governor lost powers over the civil police, the military police, the prison system and the fire brigades (in Brazil they are part of the police). The Army was made responsible for the public security system through two figures – an intervenor, that had the powers of the governor in public security, and his military appointee in the State Public Security Cabinet [10]. As soon as the intervention started, a legislative observatory was established at the federal level by the Chamber of Deputies, the Legislative Observatory of the Federal Intervention in the Public Security of Rio de Janeiro State (Observatório Legislativo da Intervenção Federal na Segurança Pública do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – OLERJ) [11]. Together with the Ministry of Human Rights, they presented a series of recommendations to the intervenor, such as the adoption of the government’s guidelines for policing and guaranteeing human rights – which implementation was not mandatory, but denote active oversight from multiple watchdog institutions.

The military has been exerting influence on the legislature through strong and traditional lobby activities within the legislature, through the military parliamentary assistance from the Ministry of Defence and from each of the branches of the forces. Often they are able to gain the support of defence-specialized committees and can propose modifications or delay voting – this was the case with the vote on the Brazilian Freedom of Information Law, in 2010, where the Senate’s CRE defended the points of view of both the military and the diplomats regarding documental classification rules [1]. However, these proposed modifications were not accepted by the legislature, which is evidence of a level of reliability of the legislative process when discussing and voting on topics that are tangential to defence. Nevertheless, when discussing defence documents and policies that are not tangential to other topics, there is still a lack of knowledge about the issues that undermine the exertion of proper scrutiny [2]. As the 2015 evaluation points out, the Brazilian Executive is considerably strong, since it has the power to set the agenda of the legislature. This might be a source of undue influence, especially when coalitions are well articulated, and parties benefit from government positions [3]. These parties will tend to vote in favour of the government’s agenda – an escalation of this system was the Mensalão scandal [4], in which the executive branch bought votes for their projects.

Article 84 of the Constitution gives formal power to parliament to scrutinize the defence sector, through a committee known as the Defence and Security Committee (CODES) (1). However, the 2018 BTI Report, states that “the National Assembly has been weak and has never been more than a rubber stamp for the government’s legislative propositions. From top to bottom, institutions suffer from corruption, which limits their performance” (2, p.10). The report notes that this weakness of oversight institutions, including the National Assembly, has deeply transformed the missions of the Army to become “more of a risk for destabilization than a guarantor of stability or security” (2, p.10). Elsewhere, Article 217 of the Constitution, grants power to the Supreme Audit Institution also known as Court of Account, to scrutinize the accounts of the government, including those of the armed forces (3).

Though the constitution gives full rights to parliament, it lacks any serious capacity to perform effective oversight of the defence sector in general and defence policy in particular. Yet, the lack of effectiveness of the Parliament with regards to defence sector oversight was also pointed out in the 2016 BTI report as well, which ended up making the army have “more destabilizing influence than a guarantor of stability or security” (1), (2).

The 2016 report indicates that “the unicameral National Assembly’s authority and involvement in decision-making is notoriously ineffective and its mechanisms of oversight are severely limited” (1), (2). The National Assembly functions by offering questions following debates. It also has constitutional rights to directly send written questions to members of the government (3). The National Assembly discusses defence policy, through the Defence and Security Committee (CODES) (1). The Finance and Budget Committee (FBC) often requests its technical opinion when analyzing the defence budget (1).

According to Articles 84 and 108 of the Constitution (2012), the National Assembly (NA) has the power to pass laws, including laws affecting military personnel and budgets, it also has the power to send the military abroad for peacekeeping operations (1). Similarly, members of parliament may not be prosecuted, investigated, arrested or detained while performing their official duty (art.108) (1). However, both the 2016/2018 BTI Burkina Faso Annual Country Reports, say the “National Assembly has been weak and has never been much more than a rubber stamp for the government;” and alleges the army of being “more of a risk of destabilizing than a guarantor of stability or security,” this clearly demonstrates grave lacks independence of the NA in its work of scrutinizing defence policy (2), (3). In general, the Constitution guarantees the formal separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches, but this it has remained limited in practice (1), (2), (4). The 2018 BTI Burkina Faso Country Report confirms this view when it states that “the institutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches is guaranteed in the constitution, but significantly limited in practical terms” (3).

Articles 16, 18, 26, 29, 30 and 35 (1) of the Constitution of 1996 give the National Assembly and the Senate (Parliament) the power to veto laws and to amend or reject security and defence policy, as well as the right to review budgets and defence decisions. However, the above rights are subject to article 35 (2), which states that state secrets and those related to national security cannot be scrutizined by Parliament [1].

Although Parliament has the power to vote on and veto laws and approve budgets, it does not have the power to approve procurement of military assets (Articles 4 and 71 of the Public Procurement Code exempt military and security contracts from the Procurement Commission’s scrutiny) [2]. It has no power to address issues relating to a declaration of war or a state of emergency in the country [3].

The Head of State (President of the Republic), who is also the Head of the Armed Forces, governs the defence and security sectors mostly through decrees and not through laws voted through by Parliament [4].

Bills on defence issues usually come from the Executive and often go unchallenged given that since the advent of multiparty politics, the legislature has been largely dominated by the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) and parliamentarians of the party often vote along party lines and exhibit loyalty to the regime, which has been in power since 1982 [5].

Although the Anti-Terrorism Law of December 2014 was hotly debated by the Opposition as it feared that it would be used to witch-hunt members of opposition parties, the bill could not be vetoed because the National Assembly and the Senate (Parliament) are predominantly members of the ruling CPDM [1].

Article 35 (2) of the Constitution (1996) limits Parliament from scrutinizing state and national security laws [2] and the President governs the defence and security sectors through decrees and not through laws passed by Parliament [3]. ParIiament also does not approve the procurement of defence assets [3]. The National Assembly exercises oversight functions over almost all funds, including defence funds but not those allocated to special services [3].

On March 25th, 2018, Senate elections were held across Cameroon. Of the 100 seats in the Cameroonian Senate, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) won 63 out of the 70 seats up for election. The remaining seven seats went to the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF). The other 30 seats are appointed by the President to make up the 100 Senate seats [4]. The majority of those appointed are from the ruling CPDM [5]. Parliamentary voting is more or less a formality because Parliament is also dominated by the ruling CPDM party with 148 out of the 180 National Assembly seats.

A delegate of the Ministry of Defence who is usually a civilian usually presents the budget of the Ministry of Defence. However, during sessions, there is a high presence of military officials which undermines the scrutiny of the budget [1].

The Constitution Act of 1867 gives Parliament legislative authority over the militia, military and naval service, and defence; this has since been construed to include defence functions not extant in 1867. [1] The 1985 Department of National Defence Act further establishes the power of the legislature to regulate expenditures related to defence. [2] While the Emergencies Act enables the government of the day to act without prior parliamentary assent, it must seek confirmation from parliament within seven days. [3] Both the Senate and the House have standing committees on security and defence, drawn from all major electoral parties. These committees meet regularly, and publish their meetings, as well as their publications and research, on a publicly available website. [4] [5]

Particularly with respect to arms sales, there is often a lack of disclosure and transparency with the public and with parliament, most recently with respect to the sales of equipment to KSA. [1] [2] The current government has also blocked attempts by an opposition party to create an oversight committee for arms exports. [3] [4] In other areas Parliament does regularly carry out oversight and study of defence policy and related issues, as documented on the websites of the competent House and Senate committees. [5] [6]

In a parliamentary democracy, this is not straightforward. The ‘executive’ can be construed as the Crown/Governor-General, which has no ability to coerce and is expected not to influence Parliament. On the other hand, the ‘executive’ can also be construed as the ‘cabinet,’ which in a majority government can generally ensure, through party discipline, that its decisions are voted through by Parliament. The nature of the Westminster government is that the cabinet of a majority government has significant power, and since the operations of the cabinet are traditionally confidential, a small minority could sway the cabinet and, through the party whip, ensure parliamentary support. However, Parliament is always free to vote against cabinet-supported legislations, and this has happened, sometimes resulting in the loss of a mandate to govern. The fall of the Liberal Government in 2005 was the first instance of a minority government in Canada falling on a pure non-confidence motion – all previous instances were the result of failures of minority governments to pass (cabinet-supported) budgets or other censure motions that were interpreted as a loss of parliamentary confidence. [1] The military has had no role and no official presence (despite members of the military holding office occasionally) in Parliament since the Confederation, and thus exercises no coercive influence over Parliament. The executive is drawn from Parliament, not separate from it, and Parliament always has at least the theoretical option not only to thwart the cabinet but to bring down the government. [2] [3] Defence policy in Canada is openly debated both within the legislature, through the media (with commentary by both government and the opposition), as well as through party platforms during elections. [4] [5]

Parliament has sought an active role in the scrutiny and formulation of defence and security policies, but its functions have been restricted by legislative and constitutional regulations [1]. In Chile, only the executive has the constitutional power to draft legislation that modifies the attributions of public agencies or requires fiscal financing [2]. Congress has had a notably weak role in the budget cycle of the defence sector [3]. The allocation of budget for defence is regulated by the Organic Law of the Armed Forces [4], which guarantees the financial stability of these institutions based on the existence of minimum amounts fixed by law, based on the budget approved and executed for the year 1989, corrected by inflation (Art.96). Likewise, Congress has had no influence on the approval and allocation of resources that belong to the Restricted Law on Copper [5]. According to this legal framework, 10 per cent of the export sales of the state-own copper enterprise Codelco must be transferred to the armed forces. These earmarked resources are in secret accounts at the Central Bank and are maintained outside of the national accounts and free from parliamentary oversight. In practice, Congressmen have not been part in the decision-making of significant arms procurement and the definition of defence strategies [6], which were the responsibility for most of the post-authoritarian period of the, now derogated High Council of National Defence (CONSUDENA), integrated by military and civilian authorities [7]. Although acquisition projects and investments are informed to the Permanent Commissions of Defence in Congress in reserved sessions, these Commissions do not have veto power on these matters, nor are they requested to approve major arms investments [8, 9]. A recent investment for the modernisations of F-16 fighter aircraft showed that these Commissions were not well informed about major arms procurements in the Chilean Air Force [10, 11]. In recent years, and as a consequence of corruption scandals in the armed forces, Congress has sought to play a more active role in overseeing defence spending through the formation of Special Committees of Inquiry, but its formal prerogatives are still quite limited. Finally, it must be noted that Congress did play a more active role in the policy and legislative process that led to the enactment of the new mechanism for financing the strategic capabilities of the national defence in September 2019 [12, 13, 14], which effectively changed the Restricted Law of Copper. However, its influence on the decision-making on these matters remains limited.

Although the legislature has sought an active role in the National System of Defence, it has only partially succeeded in its attempt to be a relevant actor [1]. Although Congress has a role in the approval of legislation in the defence sector, it is not considered to be a constitutive component of the System of Defence, understood as the set of organisations that participate in the decision-making and in the execution of the actions in which defence materialises [2]. Likewise, given legal restrictions stipulated in the Organic Law of the Armed Forces [3] and the Restricted Law of Copper [4], Congress has not been able to exercise an important budgetary power in defence and security [5, 6]. Minimum amounts guaranteed in the budget proposal for the armed forces limit the range of strategic definitions that Congress commission can make [7]. The restrictive time that congressmen have for the analysis and discussion of the annual budget law implies that the proposal for “the Ministry of Defence as a whole is reviewed in one or two days, which is sufficient only for a brief overview, usually focused on the presentation of the head of the respective service” [8]. Resources for the armed forces that belong to the Reserved Law of Copper have remained outside of the decision-making of Congress and its oversight [9].

Notwithstanding Chile’s traditionally dominant executive branch [1, 2], Congress has been able to perform its duties with autonomy and relative effectiveness [3]. Legislators in both chambers have been able to exercise their functions independently in those matters over which they have jurisdiction. Both chambers have permanent committees for the study and discussion of legislation in the sector. The Chamber of Deputies, in charge of overseeing the actions of government, has organised Special Commissions of Inquiry (Comisiones Especiales Investigadoras) in cases involving the misuse of public resources in the armed forces [4, 5]. Special commissions are created with the agreement of two-fifths of the deputies with the aim of gathering information and proofs related to specific actions of government. Other than the political logic of bargaining and confrontation between multi-party coalitions [6], there is no evidence of coercion or undue influence by the executive or the defence sector in the work of the commissions. This was confirmed by a legislator who participated in these committees [7].

According to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) the National People’s Congress (NPC) supervises the Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC is an organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (branch of the executive) which directs the Chinese armed forces, and formally appoints or removes its personnel. However, both the NPC’s formal rights in relation to supervision of the defence policy and the CMC and its structures are weak. [1]

Article 62 [on the NPC’s Powers and Functions], Paragraph 6 stipulates that the NPC elects “the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and, upon nomination by the Chairman, [decides…] on the choice of all the others on the Central Military Commission”.

Article 67, Paragraph 6 stipulates that the NPC supervises “the work of the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate”. According to Paragraph 18, the Standing Committee of the NPC has the power “to decide, when the National People’s Congress is not in session, on the proclamation of a state of war in the event of an armed attack on the country or in fulfillment of international treaty obligations concerning common defence against aggression.”

However, there is no permanent parliamentary defence committee, and no provision on independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy. The NPC has no formal powers (in law) to approve or veto laws on security, reject or amend defence policy or approve major arms procurements and defence decisions.

The Chinese President and Premier present the broad goals of China’s Defence Policy in work reports to the NPC’s annual sessions and to Party Conferences but this does not involve debate or active review. There is no evidence in available literature to suggest that the NPC has an informal influence over defence policy. [1,2,3]

Although the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) role in military issues has increased alongside the professionalisation of China’s armed forces, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remains in firm control of the overall defence policy. [1,2,3] As such there are no independent checks and balances and no independent legislative scrutiny over defence policy decisions of the CCP and purely military issues decided by the PLA.

In Colombia, the Colombian Congress has eight functions as stipulated in Law 5 of 1992, [1] which are defined in Article 6 as: the constituent function, to reform the constitution through legislative acts; the legislative function, to prepare, interpret, reform, and repeal laws; the political control function, to request and summon State officials; the judicial function, to pass judgement on high state officials for political responsibility; the electoral function to elect state controlling entities; the administrative function; the public oversight function, to require any citizen in order to render public statements; and the protocol function. Congress has the power to approve or veto security laws as a legislative process beginning in the standing Constitutional Commissions. The Second Commission is made up of “13 members of the Senate and 19 members of the House of Representatives” [2] which have the role of debating the bills related to issues of the Armed Forces; military honours and public monuments; and military service, [3] in addition to “approving or not military promotions, from general officers to the highest ranks.” [4] The Second Commission cannot modify public policy guidelines, but they can follow up on security and defence issues through political control related to the implementation of defence and security policy by the Executive. [5] The Third and Fourth Commission are in charge of the defence budget and are responsible for directing macroeconomic policy and national budget issues, including the budget for the defence sector. Public defence policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence, which has the function of “defining, developing and executing defence and national security policies.” [6] Therefore, decisions regarding arms acquisitions and contracting of goods and services are developed by the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces and Police. [7] The Congress of the Republic owns and develops political control in matters related to promotions and budget supervision, but fundamental decisions of defence policy are the dominion of the Minister of Defence. Recently, debates and a vote of no confidence have been held against the Defense Minister Guillermo Botero for his handling of internal security issues and political tensions with Venezuela. [8] There is no evidence that these actions have led to significant political changes.

Congress has legislative powers regarding the defence sector and has exercised actions in this regard. Between 2016 and 2018, the Congress of the Republic approved a total of 166 laws. Of these, 28 laws related to issues of security, defence, and public safety. [1] The most relevant topics were public order, arms trade, the internal structure of the Armed Forces, peacekeeping, the National Police Code, compulsory military service, military conduct and the military disciplinary code, the recruitment service and the control of reserves and mobilisation of the National Protection Unit, and the provision of the service of private security cooperatives. [2] The Minister of Defence goes to Congress to obtain additional resources for the budget to allocate to operational expenses and Congress endorses the annual budget and the allocation of the main budget items. In 2019, the Congress of the Republic approved 259 billion pesos for the general budget of the nation, of which 33.4 billion pesos were allocated to the defence sector, representing 13% of the total budget. [3, 4, 5] Compared to 2018, the defence sector grew by 6.6% or 2 trillion pesos. [6] Congress does not have the strength to participate in the debates on defence issues, according to Interview 1, [7] as the defence issues are confidential. Knowledge and decision-making remain with the Executive, who provides information to Congress for approval, hence the lack of independence and strength. Congress can carry out political control of the Minister of Defence and the Armed Forces and the Police through subpoenas for explanation of defense actions. Between 2016 and April 2019, according to reports from Visible Congress, [8] a total of 59 subpoenas were made to the Minister of Defence and to the Generals of the Armed Forces and the Police about public policies and political decisions. Subpoenas focused on a variety of topics but none of these subpoenas have led to the application of a vote of no confidence to the Minister of the Interior. This feature is designed for a Parliamentary system which guarantees elements such as partisan discipline and the subjection of the Prime Minister to the guidelines of the Parliament. However, in a Presidential system, there is a degree of political indiscipline, the political supremacy of the President over the forces of Congress, and clientelism, which makes the application of these recourses impossible. [9] Although Congress uses formal mechanisms to examine defence policy, these attempts are limited by the above.

There are continued pressures by armed organisations, some paramilitary, on Members of Congress, including physical threats. [1] Between 2018 and 2019, some opposition Congress members belonging to the Green Alliance, the Alternative Democratic Pole, Humane Colombia and the Patriotic Union received threats from illegal armed groups called “Black Eagles” for their work in the fight against corruption and the defence of human rights. [2] For Alternative Democratic Pole Congressman Iván Cepeda, “The Black Eagles is a denomination used by sectors that can be within the same institution to attack people who are their political adversaries… It has the language of the far right.” [2] With regards to the influence of the Executive on the Congress, there are different ways of exerting pressure on important political decisions, for López and Avila, [3] there are links between members of Congress and paramilitaries which seek to influence decisions in matters of security and internal order. This feature is more acute in regions dominated by clientelism and those that have historically been under chieftains. During the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos, the Executive was delivering indicative quotas or budget items to Congress members through the national budget, to be directed and implemented towards their regions, taking advantage of the political merits derived from their implementation. [4] This practice is called ‘jam,’ and seeks to use government appointments or contracts/economic aid to Congress members in order to add votes in Congress. [5, 6] There has also been pressure exerted by government parties on decisions in Congress and public opinion in favour of the Executive, in particular from the Democratic Center with former President Alvaro Uribe at its head. The Democratic Center is thus permanently supporting the Minister of Defence in government decisions, and for this reason Parliament is a place under the pressure of different forms of political and economic power, and is vulnerable to the action of distinct types of mafias. [7]

According to the 2016 Constitution, the Assemblée Nationale (NA, Parliament) has some formal mechanisms allowing for oversight of government policy. However, the NA lacks explicit formal rights to reject or amend defence policy. It also lacks formal rights to review defence budgets, major arms procurements and defence sections (1):

“Article 93 – Parliament votes the law and gives its consent for taxation. It controls the action of the Government and evaluates public policies.
Article 101 – The Law lays down the rules concerning … the status of the military function, the status of the personnel of the National Police … The Law determines the fundamental principles … of the organization of National Defense.
Article 104 – The declaration of war is authorized by the Parliament. In case of disagreement between the two chambers, the decision belongs to the National Assembly.
Article 105 – The extension of the state of siege beyond fifteen days may only be authorized by the Parliament … in case of disagreement between the two chambers, the vote of the National Assembly is preponderant.
Article 107 – Members of Parliament have the right of amendment.
Article 109 – The bills and bills are arranged both on the desk of the National Assembly and the Senate. The bills and bills are examined by the committees of each chamber.
Article 110 – All bills or legislative proposals shall be examined successively by both Houses of Parliament with a view to the adoption of an identical text. The Budget Law is submitted first to the National Assembly …
Article 111 – The Parliament votes the Budget Law in the conditions determined by the organic law.
Article 112 – Parliament shall consider the draft budget law before the end of the ordinary session. The draft budget law must provide the revenue necessary to fully cover the expenses …
Article 118 – … the Court of Auditors assists the Parliament and the Government in the control of the execution of the finance laws and in the fields falling within its competences.” (1)

While the Defence and Security Committee conducts scrutiny over policies related to national defence, police, immigration, and civil protection, internal conflicts issues, Article 68 of the Constitution states that the President of the Republic presides over the councils, defence and security committees; this seems to limit the power of the legislative body over the executive. Cases having a financial impact must be presented to the National Assembly and are subject to the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs. However, there are no specific provisions on the detailed budget.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPA), the preparation of the national budget does not require consultations with the NA. However, the NA monitors the defence budget via its formal right to control all public funds via amendments, as per Article 107 of the 2016 Constitution (2). According to the 2018 Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index (BTI 2018), “Côte d’Ivoire has a long history of complete presidential control of the political process. Political liberalization during the 1990s did not lead to any meaningful political empowerment of the parliament…” (3). The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), whose mandate ended on 30 June 2017, also proved instrumental in strengthening NA oversight of the security sector via the UNOCI-sponsored Réforme du Secteur de la Sécurité (RSS) program. For example, the UN organized a workshop in Grand Bassam from 18-20 July 2016 to build NA oversight capacity via the CSD (4). The government is aware of the institutional weaknesses regarding the lack of formal NA oversight over defence policy and has been working with multilateral organizations and development agencies (UNDP, USAID, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) to strengthen the NA Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD). For example, the National Security Council organized a workshop for the CSD in Yamoussoukro in May 2017 to strengthen the capacity of its members to effectively exercise its amendment rights (5). The official NA website described the workshop in Yamoussoukro in May 2017 as a way to endow the CSD with more oversight effectiveness by teaching best practices, allowing NA deputies on the CSD to learn how to draft laws specific to the security sector and being trained in the concept of parliamentary oversight (6).

The NA Commission Sécurité et Défense (CSD) has a composition that reflects the numerical strength of the party currently in power (Rassemblement des Républicains, RDR), as highlighted by the IPU source (1). “The Security and Defence Committee has the general powers accredited to committees, i.e. of inquiry and information. The composition of the Commission reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament. The parliament controls national defence policy when the finance bill is being examined” (1). By extension, the CSD also reflects the interests of President Alassane Outtara and NA President Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) and close political ally of Outtara. There is no evidence in open sources that address the military’s potential influence on the CSD, though this does not mean it does not exist. Given the RDR bias in the composition of the CSD, the country’s post-conflict context and the fact that the opposition boycotted the last presidential election of 2015, the score reflects the fact that both the military and the executive can undermine parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. While there is no direct evidence of influence of the executive on the NA, the fact that the NA is presided over by Guillaume Soro and that his longstanding political ally, Sidiki Konate, heads the CSD Commission, this gives rise to the possibility that Soro exerts undue influence over Konate in terms of legislative scrutiny of defence policy. Soro is also allegedly vying for the presidency in the 2020 presidential election (2). A Jeune Afrique article states:

“Sidiki Konate has accompanied Soro since the interivoirian negotiations of 2002. Close to the Muslim brotherhoods (Confréries musulmanes), the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly, who became a member of Parliament for the region of Man (Western Côte d’Ivoire) for the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR), rallies his political and religious bases on Soro’s behalf ” (2).

The shape of Danish Defence and the country’s overall defence policy is laid out by a political agreement (Defence Agreement) [1]. The defence agreement is negotiated between the parties in the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) and is traditionally made for a period of three to five years [2]. This ensures a relatively stable defence policy despite changing governments. The defence agreement lays out the goals, frames, and a prioritisation of the Defence’s tasks and direction during the period covered. The agreement lays out the financial framework for the Defence (the defence budget) and can contain more or less detailed financial directions. Major arms procurements are included in the Defence Agreement. As the Danish parliament approves the entire state budget yearly, the defence budget is subject to parliamentary control. As parliament passes all laws, laws covering defence are subject to parliamentary control. All government spending (including for defence) above 70 million DKK not included in the state budget in the yearly Finance Act (Finanslov) needs to be passed as an act (aktstykke) in the Finance Committee [3, 8]. There is a parliamentary committee specifically concerning the defence domain (Forsvarsudvalget) [4]. The committee is comprised of representatives from all parties and it has the right and responsibility to scrutinise bills and parliamentary motions (“beslutningsforslag”) on defence issues and conduct parliamentary control of the Defence Minister’s management of defence policy. The committee can pose questions to the minister [5]. Members of parliament can also individually pose questions to the Minister. Such questions (called §-20 Questions) are required to be answered in writing or orally within six days [6]. It should be noted that Transparency International Denmark has recently flagged that, generally, the legislative work is increasingly being moved from the open system of Parliament and into the ministries, where legislation is then negotiated in a closed environment, and where the discussions in Parliament are increasingly simply a matter of procedural formality [7].

Parliament regularly discuss and approve laws on defence, including the yearly budget (as in the state budget negotiations) and major procurements. The Supplemental Agreement for the Danish Defence 2018-2023, agreed on by a coalition of parties in parliament in January 2019 is evidence of an effective and reciprocal defence policy and budgetary review [1]. Likewise, the 2016 Danish decision to procure new fighter aircrafts (2021-2026) was reached by political agreement, involving a broad coalition in parliament [2]. However, of a total of 1096 §-20 Questions posed in parliament during the 2018-2019 parliamentary year (“Folketingsår), six §-20 Questions were posed to the Minister of Defence [3]. It is written into law that the decision to deploy military units in operations abroad has to be approved by Parliament [4]. Some exceptions are made by law specifically concerning e.g. defensive maritime patrol missions [5], where the government only has an obligation to inform. It should be noted that, during a recent case of corruption within the Danish Ministry of Defence Estate Agency, the Minister of Defence denied the Defence Committee access to internal ministry correspondence documents concerning the case. (Internal correspondence is excempt from public access in accordance with “offentlighedsloven” – law on public access).[7] This was highly criticised by the Head of the Defence Committee and a professor noted that this practice hindered Parliament’s ability to conduct parliamentary control of the government and thus also hindered the Defence Committee’s ability to scrutinise issues that fall within the Committee’s domain [6]. Thus, there may be limits of effectiveness in some areas sometimes.

No instances of undue influence on parliament by either the military or executive could be found [1].

According to sources, the Parliament has the legal power to practice oversight on all laws, and public decision making in all sectors, including the military and defence sector. However, it has no power to scrutinize defence policies. The military has almost full immunity from any scrutiny mechanisms by the Parliament as well as the judiciary branch (1), (2), (3). Every law must pass through the Parliament, but powers to review budgets, arms procurements and defence policy are very restricted (4). Although the House of Representatives (parliament) is entrusted with “exercising oversight over the actions of the executive power” according to Article 101 of the Constitution (6), these formal powers are restricted by law, and it gives the defence sector extensive autonomy in managing its own affairs. The National Defence Council (NDC), for example, led by the president and senior military and security officials must be “consulted” on any law that is related to the armed forces or national security, and they are the entity mandated to discuss and develop defence policies (5). It should be noted that Egypt has been governed under emergency law sporadically from 2013 and permanently since 2017, which gives the executive exceptional powers (7), (8).

According to sources, there has not been any debate about defence policies in the last five years. Although there are standard mechanisms granted by law, the National Defence Council, which is appointed by a president (who was an officer and the head of the armed forces) undermines these mechanisms (executive power exceeds the power of the Parliament). Because of that, and with the pretext of security instability (emergency), there has not been any debate of defence policies (1), (2), (3). Article 101 of the Constitution grants the Parliament formal powers over the executive branch including the armed forces, and entrust it with reviewing governmental policy and enacting laws, but other articles grant the armed forces exceptional powers and great autonomy (4). Accordingly, reviewing and discussing defence policy is the task of the NDC, and the majority of its members (9 out of 14) come from a military background (5). Therefore, the wide powers given to the NDC render the Parliament’s formal powers of oversight ineffective.

According to sources, the military and the executive (president) have been attempting to undermine scrutiny or questions on the financial and political assets and power of the military (1), (2), (3) (4). The few attempts by some independent-minded parliamentarians to question the financial benefits of armed forces officers lead to unfavourable consequences for the parliamentarians, including being expelled or forced to resign from their position (ex. M. Anwar al-Sadat) (5). The speaker has also expressed his full support of the government and the armed forces and said that ”the parliament’s main task to be helping the government to achieve its goals, not criticizing them or providing a critical oversight function. He has repeatedly demanded that deputies avoid being too critical of the government” (6,7). This is representative of the kind of impotency suffered by the Parliament vis-a-vis the executive. It is well-established that the current Parliament is ineffective in its scrutiny over the executive, especially concerning the military (1).

In accordance with the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, all the laws (with a few exceptions) in Estonia pass three thorough deliberations by the Riigikogu, Estonia’s Parliament, with its 101 members. After the first reading, all the members of Riigikogu, commissions and factions can submit proposals to amend the draft laws. This includes laws on security. The Riigikogu makes its decisions by a majority of votes in favour, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia or the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act. [1] In Estonia, the National Defence Committee acts as the leading committee in the legislative proceeding of draft legislation regulating national security and defence issues, including international treaties. [2,9] The state budget, which also includes the defence budget, also has to be passed by Riigikogu [3]. The defence budget includes major defence procurements. [4] The State Defence Committee is involved in elaborating defence-related strategic planning.
In accordance with the Foreign Relations Act, [5] the Estonian Parliament has the power to approve or reject the main national strategy document that provides the foundation for the Estonian security policy, the National Security Concept of the Republic of Estonia. The Estonian Parliament also approves or vetoes the country’s participation in international military operations, as stated by the Constitution of the Republic [6] and the International Military Co-operation Act. [7] Regarding major arms procurements, the priorities and financial limits of the procurements are determined by the ten-year national defence development strategy and the annual development plans that are not approved by the Riigikogu. [8]

The Riigikogu has regularly approved and vetoed laws on security. Since 1999, it has vetoed 15 and approved 265 draft laws that had been submitted by the National Defence Committee, based on the data provided by the Registry of Riigikogu’s Draft Laws. [1] The national budget is also annually debated at the Riigikogu. Each section is more thoroughly reviewed by the respective committees of the Riigikogu. The National Defence Committee reviews the defence budget annually. The procedure includes consultative meetings, usually a couple of times a year, as indicated by an interviewee, a member of the National Defence Committee. [2] There is evidence based on the articles published in the media that suggestions by the Committee have been taken into account during the budgetary debates. [3] The Riigikogu also debates regularly about the defence policy. [4,5] The National Defence Strategy is the foundation of Estonia’s national defence policy where the major defence decisions are included. The strategy is regularly reviewed and approved by the National Defence Committee. However, a broad political consensus is needed to make amendments after a bill is already initiated in the national parliament, or the National Security Concept of the Republic of Estonia is submitted to the parliament. For example, before the National Security Concept was approved in spring 2017, the opposition proposed changes, but they were not considered. Based on the interview with the member of the National Defence Committee, changes to the budget are rarely made once they are submitted to the Riigikogu. [2]

There is de facto consensus amongst major Estonian parties when it comes to the overall direction of the Estonian defence policy. [1] This makes the situation in Estonia quite unique compared to many other European countries. The defence sector is considered one of the priority sectors by all the parties in the parliament. There is no evidence that members of parliament have ever been directly influenced to vote in a certain way by the military, as indicated by interviewees. [1, 2, 3]
If there are any differences in opinion amongst the members of the Riigikogu, they would typically be about the budget. Each branch (the air forces, land forces, etc) is interested in developing a stronger capacity. These discussions, however, are usually held in the Government preparatory meetings, before the budget reaches Estonia’s Riigikogu for the final vote. [1]
The Parliament, and in particular, the National Defence Committee, consists of many previous or current military officials and experts and their presence maintains defence issues as a high priority. [4] As a small country, the defence sector is small and people in the same sector have close contact. [1] To sum up, even if not intentionally and unduly, the executive and the military have the possibility, through different channels, to influence the decisions of the members of the parliament to vote in the final stage of the legislative procedure in their favour.

Laws on defence and security are enacted in a normal legislative process:
1. Government proposal or a legislative motion is submitted by a Representative.
2. Reporting of the relevant Parliamentary Committee preparing the matter.
3. Consideration, in two readings, in a plenary session of the Parliament, of which; the first discusses the content of the proposal and the relevant Committee’s report, with opportunity to further modify the bill; the second either accepts or rejects the bill. [1]

In practice, the relevant Committee’s report often becomes enacted as law. When preparing its report, the Committee can modify the bill, but also encourage the relevant Minister to withdraw it, reject it or let it lapse.[2] If the Act requires changes in the Constitution, it has to be approved by two consecutive Parliaments (elections take place every fourth year), unless perceived as urgent by 5/6 of the parliamentarians. [1] After the Parliament’s approval, the President decides whether (s)he confirms the act. If yes, the act becomes effective; if not, the act returns to Parliament. If the Parliament readopts the act without modifications, it enters into force without confirmation. [1] The Parliament politically guides and supervises the Government and the use of executive power. The Ministers are accountable to the Parliament and must enjoy its confidence.

The Parliament also supervises State finances and compliance with the State budget (including defence and security budgets). State budget is accepted annually by the Parliament on the basis of the Government’s proposal in a process similar to law enactment. Government can suggest amendments to the budget throughout the year, but those must also be accepted by the Parliament. For a continuous supervisory purpose, the Parliament has an Audit Committee that reports any significant supervisory findings to the Parliament. In addition, there is an independent National Audit Office in connection with the Parliament. Both of the auditing bodies have the right to receive information needed for the performance of their duties. [3] Likewise, the Parliament has the right to receive the information it needs for the consideration of matters, as do the Parliamentary Committees on relevant matters. The Constitutional Law Committee, the Chancellor of Justice of the Government, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman supervise whether decision-making follows the rule of law, particularly the Constitution. [1]

Defence policy is adopted in the Parliament on the basis of the Government’s Defence Report that is prepared through a cross-sectoral cooperation and in consultation with a parliamentary monitoring group. The process is similar to law enactment. [4] The Ministry of Defence directs defence acquisition and pivotal procurement projects. Procurement is prepared for and carried out by the Defence Forces. Acquisition conforms to both Finnish and EU regulation. The pivotal legislation in military and defence procurement is the Act on Public Defence and Security Acquisition (1531/2011) and for civilian procurement, the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts (1397/2016). [5] The Parliament discusses defence acquisition, e.g. as part of the State budget discussions or if/when a Represesentative poses a question in the plenary session, as well as when a major procurement decision requires parliamentary acceptance.

The formal procedures are followed consistently. To confirm that procedures are followed, anyone can read the Parliamentary documents available on the Parliament’s website or follow the discussion on television or over the internet. State budgets and other financial data are available, as are the reports of the National Audit Office, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice as well as the documents of the relevant Parliamentary Committees. [1] Excluding the Intelligence Oversight Committee, matters discussed in a Committee session are public unless the Committee otherwise decides. In the Intelligence Oversight Committee, matters are confidential unless the Committee otherwise decides. [2] Defence policy is adopted in the Parliament on the basis of the Government’s Defence Report that is prepared through a cross-sectoral cooperation and in consultation with a parliamentary monitoring group. The process is similar to law enactment. [3]

The Constitution of Finland, Chpt 3, Section 28: a person holding military office cannot be elected as a Representative (in Parliament);
Section 29: a Representative is obliged to follow justice and truth in his/her office. (S)he shall abide by the Constitution and no other orders are binding upon him/her;
Section 30: A Representative shall not be prevented from carrying out his or her duties as a Representative;
Section 32: a Representative is disqualified from consideration of and decision-making in any matter that concerns him/her personally;
Chapter 4, Section 60: the Ministers are responsible before the Parliament for their actions in office. [1]

Finnish Governments tend to be coalition governments, which balances decision-making within the Government. In addition, nine Parties are represented in the current Parliament – all of which have their own independent programmes. Two months after being formally accepted as a Representative, each Representative has to provide a declaration of his/her additional commitments, business interests, shares in corporations and other significant financial assets, and other assets that may have influence in his/her work as a Representative. [2]

Similar declaration has to be done with regard to financial support raised for the election campaign (the declaration is submitted to the National Audit Office which keeps the information available on a website dedicated to it) and also when a Representative receives a gift which value is over 400 € [approx. 440 US dollars] (such declarations are publicly available on the Parliament’s website). [3] The Parliament supervises both politically and legally its own work and the work of the Government against outside influence. On top of that, the mentioned supervisory and auditing bodies do that.

In France, the executive branch holds much of the power where Defence issues are concerned.
The Parliament is only mentioned in art. 35 of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic of 1958: [1] [2] it has the right to authorise declarations of war (a right that has never been used since 1958).
Since the 2008 constitutional reform, the Parliament has some more prerogatives, yet they are still rather limited. The government must inform the Parliament of its decision to engage troops in an operation abroad (OPEX). But it can do so up to 3 days after the beginning of the operation. The government must explain the objective of the operation, but in the form and to the extent it wishes to. A debate can be held at the Assembly, but this debate can never lead to a vote about the decision to engage troops. When the operation exceeds four months, the Parliament has to authorise its prolongation. If it does, then the authorisation is valid with no time limit, and no other vote is ever needed to extend the operation.
Since 2008, the Parliament also has to be provided with a list of the Defence agreements France has signed with foreign countries. The Constitution doesn’t require these agreements or treaties to be ratified or approved by the Parliament, but in practice, the National Assembly has been asked to approve or ratify several Defence treaties or agreements since 2012, namely with Algeria, Serbia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Croatia, New Zealand, Mali and Republic of Guinea. [2]
The Parliament can review budgets, major arms procurements and defence decisions every year on the occasion of the vote on the Finance law, [3] and every 6 years on the occasion of the Military Programming Law [4] vote. Defence committees of both chambers review defence policy and amend defence laws on a weekly basis. But the committees as well as the Parliament cannot veto laws on security, nor can it reject a Defence Policy, [5] or review major arms procurements and defence decisions.

Both chambers have – among other permanent commissions – a defence legislative commission [1] (Commission de la Défense Nationale et des Forces Armées (CDNFA) and Commission des Affaires Etrangères, de la Défence et des forces armées of the Senate (CAEDFA)), that reviews the laws and is in charge of controlling the action of the government.
Legislative commissions can run “information missions” or “investigative missions”.
Pursuant to Article 5ter of Ordinance 58-1100 of November 17, 1958, the Defence Commission may, like all permanent commissions, ask the National Assembly to confer on it the prerogatives attributed to the commissions of investigation for a specific mission and for a duration not exceeding six months. The Commission can then request to question any member of the government (or any person of their choice but the President). [2]
But the Parliament’s attempts to influence policy through these formal mechanisms have been limited: in fact, according to the co-administrator of the National Assembly Defence Commission, the Defence Commission has never used Article 5ter. [3] The logic behind this is that the electoral calendar in France allows for a Parliament majority generally in line with the President-elect, and with the government. [4] According to an expert of constitutional law, [5] the political makeup of the 69 members of the Defence Commission of the National Assembly is a mirror of the Parliament’s, and it tends to always support the government’s actions.
When La Republique en marche (LREM) member of parliament Sebastien Nadot, [6] a member of the National Assembly Defence Committee, filed a resolution for the creation of an investigative mission to address France’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in April 2018, challenging France’s defence policy within the framework of the war in Yemen, the request was never put on the “order of the day”, and therefore never put out to a vote by the LREM majority5. Instead, an information mission with no investigative role was created. MP Nadot was denied the chance to chair this mission, as he had requested. In an interview, Nadot [7] said he regrets that the person chosen to co-chair this information mission, also a member of the Defence Committee, Jacques Maire, is a former diplomat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Had a Commission been allowed to investigate Defence issues, it would have been barred from accessing information by the very broad spectrum of the “secret-défense” (“military secret”) label, [8] classifying 5 million documents linked to defence and security matters, and restricting access to historical archives.
Among the five members of the Commission that controls “Secrets-défense”, the Consultative Commission of the National Defence Secret (CCSDN), three are directly appointed by the President, enforcing once more the imbalance between the executive power and the legislative and judicial powers when it comes to defence and security matters. [9]

Both chambers of the legislative authority respect the sanctity of the defence policy (considered to be a field reserved for the executive branch). Even in the Senate, that is frequently dominated by the opposition, there have been no investigation commissions on defence matters.

The latest « military programming law » (voted in June 2018) for the years 2019-2025 has for the first time given military personnel the right to be elected at municipal elections [1] amending art. L4121-3 of the Defence Code. [2] But soldiers aren’t allowed to join a political party, by the law of July 13, 1972 about the general status of military personnel. [3] They can run for seats on city councils in cities under 9,000 inhabitants, but if they are elected they have to be “detached” from their service, until the end of their political mandate. [3] [4] There is currently one (female) MP with a background in military services. [5]
The presence of military servicemen in Parliament therefore isn’t an issue. Neither the executive branch nor the military coerce Parliament into voting in their favor. As a matter of fact, when the Senate has been controlled by a political opposition to the executive’s ruling party (from 1958 to 1969, 1981 to 1986, 1988 to 1993, 1997 to 2002, and 2011 to 2014), defence rulings were not impacted, tending to show a French consensus on defence policy across the political spectrum.
But the executive branch does influence Parliament: the parliamentary majority (except rare cases of cohabitation) generally stems from the Presidential party. The majority in Parliament therefore never votes against the political will of the executive branch. [6]
When it does, the executive takes measures: MP Sebastien Nadot challenged the executive defence policy with his resolution for an investigative mission on French arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in April 2018. Not only was the resolution never implemented, and he was denied the chairing of an information mission on the topic, but he was eventually excluded from LREM party in December 2018. [7] In Nadot’s opinion, [8] this exclusion happened because he had voted against the Finance law (which encompasses the army yearly budget, among other sectors budgets), but also because of the resolution request of April 2018 on the war in Yemen and France’s involvement.

As a consequence of the Second World War, the German Constitution or ‘Basic Law’ (the ‘Grundgesetz’), demands strong parliamentary control over the armed forces. Article 87a states: ‘The Federation shall establish Armed Forces for defence purposes. Their numerical strength and general organisational structure must be shown in the budget’ [1].

Parliamentary control of the Government and the Ministry of Defence’s (BMVg) work is outlined by Article 45a, Paragraph 1 of the Grundgesetz, which stipulates the establishment of the Defence Committee in the German Bundestag. This Committee has two main tasks: to prepare decisions taken by Parliament and to provide major support to Parliament in scrutinising the governmental bodies responsible for defence. For the latter task, the Committee can convene as a ‘committee of inquiry’ (the only committee to do so in the German Bundestag). The composition of the Defence Committee must be in proportion to the strength of the individual parliamentary groups (see Paragraph 12, sentence 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag) [2]. MPs can take up an unlimited number of secondary occupations. While MPs are required to disclose past and secondary activities, there are no clear consequences when possible conflicts of interest occur [3].

Parliament has formal powers (in law) to approve and veto laws on security, and to reject or amend defence policy. The Constitution demands strong parliamentary control over the armed forces, giving parliamentarians and members of the Budget Committee a certain degree of influence over decisions in the defence sector. In particular, the Defence Committee (‘Verteidigungsausschuss’) controls the executive and can influence its decisions [4]. It should also be noted that, due to Germany’s federal structure, anti-corruption policies and bodies are decentralised and therefore, to some extent, fragmented and heterogeneous. Resources and capacities of institutions may differ, depending on the institutional architecture overall and the specific caseload. Additionally, parliamentary groups and MPs have the right to ask questions pursuant to Article 20, Paragraph 2 and Article 38, Paragraph 1 of the Grundgesetz. Furthermore, the defence budget is checked by the Federal Audit Office [5].

In Germany, law-making is a task performed by the country’s parliamentary groups. Thus, the German Bundestag is the most important organ of the legislature. It decides on all laws that fall within the sphere of competence of the German Federation in a legislative process that also requires the participation of the Bundesrat. The members and parliamentary groups of the Bundestag are entitled to introduce new or revised pieces of legislation in the Bundestag as bills – a right also enjoyed by the Bundesrat and the Federal Government. These bills are debated, deliberated and voted on in Parliament in accordance with a precisely regulated procedure. Since, under Germany’s federal system, the Länder (the states of Germany) hold a considerable share of the powers of the state, the Bundesrat also participates in the adoption of legislation. All acts are submitted to the Bundesrat for it to vote on and, depending on the nature of the proposed legislation, it can even cause some proposals to be rejected [6].

The German Bundestag regularly approves or vetoes laws on security, exercises budgetary power and reviews or approves major arms procurements and decisions. Parliamentarians can also reject or amend defence policy [1]. Furthermore, the German Bundestag has a decisive say when it comes to the federal budget, not only addressing the budgetary plans of the various departments, but also the fundamental political course being pursued by the government. The German Bundestag website states: ‘The Bundestag’s significance in this field is confirmed by a look at the Basic Law. Article 110 states that the German Bundestag has the right to adopt the budget and scrutinise its implementation by the government. Parliament determines the budget in an Act which must disclose all expenditure to be incurred by the Federation. The government only has money to spend and is therefore only capable of acting if it can unite the majority in Parliament behind it’ [2].

Neither the executive nor the military coerce or unduly influence Parliament to vote in their favour. As a directly elected Parliament, the Bundestag, in addition to its function as a legislative organ, has the responsibility to scrutinise the Federal Government in an independent way. The German Bundestag website states that ‘to perform this oversight function, the Members of the German Bundestag must be in a position to inform themselves about the work and intentions of the government. To this end, they have a series of rights and instruments available – such as minor and major interpellations, written questions and question times, debates on matters of topical interest, questions addressed to the Federal Government […] Furthermore, each electoral term the Bundestag also establishes a range of bodies with remits that encompass the scrutiny of the government. The permanent committees, whose main task is to participate in the legislative process, are the prime example of such bodies. They also include special bodies, such as committees of inquiry, which are almost always set up to scrutinise the work of the government’ [1,2].

As in almost every democratic system, tensions can arise between local-level political considerations and broader national interests. Considering the importance of MPs and parliamentary institutions in decision-making and oversight in defence matters, it is important to acknowledge this potential conflict, especially if MPs take on roles in defence or budget oversight committees. Since parliamentarians execute critical oversight and control of the defence sector, protections against conflicts of interest among MPs as well as transparency in legislative and policy decision-making are crucial for safeguarding the integrity of the democratic process. Currently, the protections in the system are inadequate: there are no rules on the composition of parliamentary committees and MPs can take up an unlimited number of secondary occupations. The Code of Conduct only obliges MPs to provide information about their past and secondary occupations, and requires those who are employed against payment with an issue which is to be discussed in a committee of the Bundestag to disclose a connection of interests prior to the discussion. [3] There are no clear consequences when a possible conflict of interest is disclosed.

Parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy is performed under the Constitution of Ghana and provides Parliament with executive oversight power. According to Art. 103 (3) the committees of the parliament hold powers of investigation and inquiry into the activities and administration of ministries and departments as well as propositions for legislation (1). However, Article 108 of the Constitution only allows Parliament to reduce (but not increase) budget allocations to Ministers, Departments and Agencies (1).

Most of the scrutiny over defence policy is assigned to the Parliamentary Selected Committee on Defence and Interior (PSCDI, 18 members) and the Parliament Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PSCPA, 25 members). The former’s responsibility is to “examine all questions relating to defence and internal affairs”, while the latter’s function is “the examination of the audited accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure of the Government and of such other accounts laid before Parliament” (2), (3).

It is not clear if the parliament has formal powers (under the law) to approve or veto laws on security and to reject or amend defence policy.

Parliament rarely debates issues on defence and security because of their lack of expertise in the subject matter, and self-censorship by the majority leadership of Parliament, who do not generally tolerate defence scrutiny on the floor of parliament (1), (2), (3), (4). Overall parliamentary oversight of the executive is considered to be weak (5). As there is no publicly available information on the work of the committees, it is difficult to assess their effectiveness. Furthermore, Ghana does not have a clearly defined defence policy, and national security concerns are often advanced, due to the absence of information (5).

Due to the hybrid system that underpins the type of governance system that governs Ghana, the executive easily manipulates and controls the legislature through the leadership of the ruling (and invariably the majority) party in Parliament (1), (2), (3), (4). There is no hard evidence that the executive or the military coerce or unduly influence Parliament to vote in their favour on security and defence topics. However, the issue of excessive political party alignment and loyalty has been raised to question the effectiveness of MPs’ oversight in general (5).

Parliament has the power to scrutinise defence policy and legislation. It cannot veto defence policy under any circumstances. However, it can review the defence budget and major arms procurements [1, 2].

Parliament debates and reviews defence policy but only occasionally. There are two parliamentary committees: the Permanent National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee (PNDFAC) and the Committee on Armament Programmes and Contracts (CAPC). The CAPC consists of 15 MPs and can review major arms procurements [1]. Formulating defence policy remains the prerogative of the Executive, particularly the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Defence and the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA). Therefore Parliament can only play a minor role in the decision-making process [2]. Legislative scrutiny of defence is undermined by the Executive’s frequent use of urgent procedure orders for defence-related matters. The recent procurement of 18 Rafale fighters is but the most recent example of this [3].

Neither the Executive nor the Military coerce or unduly influence Parliament over any matter. Since 1974, Greece has been a functioning liberal democracy where there is political control over its military [1]. However, the division of power is not always distinct and jurisdictions can overlap. The majority of ministers are MPs who can participate in every type of parliamentary activity [2].

As stipulated by the Fundamental Law of Hungary [1] (Article 45/2), the National Assembly has the formal right to control the Hungarian Defence Forces together with the president, the National Defence Council and the government. According to Article 45/5, the detailed rules relating to the organisation, tasks, command and control, and operation of the Hungarian Defence Forces shall be laid down in a Cardinal Act, that is adopted by the National Assembly. The National Assembly has the right to discuss, modify and approve the budget, including the defence budget. However, the National Assembly has no formal right to review major arms procurements.

The National Assembly performed all functions described in 1A [1]. However, at present in Hungary the governing coalition has a constitutional majority in the parliament, meaning complete control over the activities of the National Assembly. Thus, at present, the National Assembly de facto does not exercise real debating or reviewing functions in terms of defence policy. The few debates initiated by opposition politicians do not result in policy changes.

As the Hungarian government has a two-thirds majority, legislative measures and defence policy planning are not discussed in the National Assembly [1]. MPs do not influence defence policies or discuss major procurements [2]. Military executives are not MPs, and they cannot scrutinize defence policy. The executive branch can push through parliament any legislature without debate, this suggests that the parliament has no effective and independent power to scrutinise decisions.

Parliament has the right to employ formal mechanisms to conduct scrutiny over defence policy. India has a Committee System; and two Committees scrutinise defence policy.

The Standing Committee on Defence (SCoD) is constituted under Rule 331C of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. It scrutinises MoD Demands for Grants, bills, policies and annual reports. The observations and recommendations of the Committee are contained in their reports which after factual verification by the Ministry of Defence, are presented to the Lok Sabha and laid on the Table of Rajya Sabha by the Chairperson and the authorised members. The MoD is required to take action on the recommendations contained in the reports and furnish action taken replies thereon, within three months of the presentation of the report. Action Taken Notes (ATN) received from the MoD are examined by SCoD and Action Taken Reports are presented to the Lok Sabha and laid on the Table of the Rajya Sabha [1].

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is constituted every year under Rule 308 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. It scrutinises defence expenditure, the Appropriation Accounts and reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). PAC selects the most important subjects/paragraphs on which oral examination is to be conducted. The Government is required to intimate to PAC the action taken or proposed to be taken by it on the recommendations contained in the report normally within six months of the presentation. The ATN replies of the Government are considered by the Committee and after due classification of the replies, an Action Taken Report is presented to the Parliament. The government is further required to intimate to PAC the action taken or proposed to be taken by it and also to furnish final replies in respect of the earlier recommendations contained in the original report in respect of which either no replies had previously been received or only interim replies had been received. The action taken thus reported by the Government is laid on the Table of the House in the form of a Statement without any further comments by the Committee [2]. SCoD and PAC do not have veto powers.

Parliament debates or reviews defence policy and attempts to influence policy through formal mechanisms. The Standing Committee on Defence puts forth recommendations, however there is no binding force on the government to act and the Committee does not have the power to veto defence policy, “the Recommendations of the Committee have persuasive value and are treated as considered advice given by the Committee” [1][2][3].

Ministers are not permitted to be part of any Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs) [1]. As the recommendations from the Standing Committee on Defence are not binding, it is ultimately up to the Houses to take executive decisions in policymaking. There is no recent evidence of the military or executive unduly influencing Parliament. There is evidence that recommendations are at times implemented, as was the case in 2018 when on the behest of the Standing Committee on Defence, the government enhanced financial powers of the Armed Forces’ Vice Chiefs [2][3].

There has been criticism from members of the opposition that a record number of bills have been passed [4]. Critics believe that the government introduces bills as Money Bills in the Lok Sabha or Lower House (where it has a majority) and rarely passes balls across to the Standing Committees [5]. The Rajya Sabha or Upper House can recommend amendments to a Money Bill but cannot make amendments themselves. The government refutes the criticism and seems to view the passing of bills as efficiency. After its recent re-election, the government passed a record number of bills in the Budget session [6].

Law No. 17/2014 grants the Indonesian parliament formal powers in three main areas, namely legislation, budget and oversight, in addition to other equally important powers such as the power to grant or refuse approval of the President’s declarations of war and peace [1]. In terms of implementation, the law grants the House of Representatives (DPR) the right of interpellation (interpelasi), the right of investigation (angket) and the right to declare an opinion (hak mengemukakan pendapat). With regard to legislative scrutiny of defence and security issues, the DPR is entitled, through its Commission 1, to formulate draft laws (or scrutinise the government’s proposed draft laws), scrutinise budget proposals (this includes the power to change the budget) and follow-up audit reports, request government representatives to provide explanations regarding their work programme (including arms procurement and military operations) and scrutinise defence policy in general. For the latter point, please see Article 98 of Law No. 17/2014, which details the general tasks of the commission [1]. Strategic decision, such as the approval of laws, is conducted through general meetings (rapat paripurna), at which two thirds of MPs must be in attendance. Information about the scope of work and background of Commission I members is provided on the DPR website [2]. Examples of the DPR’s legislative scrutiny are mounting, such as its rejecting the government’s plan to send a military operation to the Philippines [3] and questioning the air force’s controversial decision to procure helicopters [4]. The right to veto, defined as the right to oppose a draft law proposed by the executive body, is mentioned implicitly in Article 20, Section (2) of the Constitution, which stipulates that ‘every draft law is discussed between the DPR and the President to acquire joint approval’ [5]. In practice, the President could issue a regulation to replace a law, dubbed a Government Regulation in Place of Law (Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-undang, PERPPU), without approval from the DPR. In the case of the law on terrorism, the President initially issued a regulation to replace a law (PERPPU) in 2002 without approval from the DPR on the basis of urgency. Soon afterwards, the President submitted a draft law for the DPR’s approval to be issued as Law No. 15/2003. When the law was amended in 2018, the DPR forced the government to engage in meaningful debates before granting its approval [6].

The DPR may have powers of legislative scrutiny as bestowed by the law, but this scrutiny is unlikely to be effective. Among persistent problems are a lack of MPs with sufficient defence and security knowledge and institutional constraints. Commission I, like other commissions, has limited resources at its disposal. It is only supported by a secretariat, expert staff (since 2019, the number of staff has increased from one to five for every MP) and an expert body established in 2015, which consists of a researcher and a legal drafter [1]. The ineffectiveness of the current parliament (2014-2019) in legislation is highlighted by the number of draft laws and laws issued compared to the previous parliament [2]. The poor performance was said to correlate with a high rate of MPs’ absence from meetings, a lack of expert staff and technical issues (such as overlapping schedules caused by overlapping membership of MPs in various units within parliament, as well as work visits) [3]. From time to time and on a selective case-by-case basis, parliament still manages to demonstrate the effectiveness of its power. DPR oversight is not very effective in the case of the AW101 helicopter procurement. MPs are divided on this case, despite the fact that the procurement clearly violated Law No. 16/2012 on mandatory offset in procurement from abroad and was indicted for broker entanglement [4,5].

It is rather difficult to find any evidence of executive influence over the House of Representatives (DPR) that is not anecdotal. Executive power over the DPR may be analysed with at least three factors taken into consideration: in the DPR, the proportion of MPs from the coalition government party is not too far removed from the proportion of MPs from the opposition party (around 55% compared to 45%); the leadership of the People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR) is controlled by the opposition party; and, finally, the largest pro-government party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), is unable to embrace political opponents to join the coalition government [1]. These factors are considered to be major obstacles for the government. In addition, the attitude of government agencies in the security and defence sector seems divided and not solid, reflecting the weak coordination of the government. For example, in 2017, the Chief of the TNI Gatot Nurmantyo spoke to the public about a state agency that illegally purchased 5,000 weapons of military standard, to which the government responded with various explanations [2,3], further confusing the public. The DPR criticised the government for its lack of coordination and urged the President to call on all parties to come together to bring information to the public and to push for the initiation of a memorandum of understanding between the TNI and non-military agencies on the use of combat weapons [4]. So far, there is mixed evidence, suggesting that executive bodies or the military could be coercing or unduly influencing parliament to vote in their favour or whether MPs with military backgrounds are also undermining the institution. The number of MPs with a military background is small: only four out of 51. But they are among the most outspoken and critical, as proven in the case of the government’s plan to send an military operation to Marawi [5]. On the other hand, civilian MPs, who make up the majority of Commission I and practically monopolise leadership positions in the commission, are heard from relatively less often.

There is no explicit formal provision for effective independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy. Article 76 of the Constitution states that the “The Islamic Consultative Assembly has the right to investigate and examine all the affairs of the country” [1]; therefore, the legislation does not specify the formal mechanisms which the Parliament can employ to conduct scrutiny over defence policy, it is extremely vague.

Article 176 of the Constitution states that the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) shall determine the defence and national security policies within the framework of general policies determined by the leader [1]. There is no further provision specifying the Islamic Consultative Assembly may scrutinise the SNSC’s policies; therefore, parliamentary scrutiny is eclipsed by other institutions of the state. Furthermore, Article 68 of the Constitution states that “In time of war and the military occupation of the country, elections due to be held in occupied areas or countrywide may be delayed for a specified period if proposed by the President of the Republic, and approved by three-fourths of the total members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, with the endorsement of the Guardian Council.” [1], so the Constitution limits the Parliaments rights to conduct scrutiny.

The Parliament does not openly debate or review defence policy. Evidence suggests it irregularly holds closed-door sessions [1]. The Parliament has exercised budgetary power, in terms of approving and increasing the defence budget. There is no evidence of it vetoing any defence laws [2].

The current government administration wants to strengthen the army (responsible for protecting Iran’s borders) at the expense of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), (its official purpose is to protect the country’s Islamic Republic system, but which has naval, ground and airforce personnel) is at odds with the more hardline forces of the Parliament, many of whom are ex-military officials. Consequently, the latter unduly carry influence over bills proposed by the government. When President Rouhani in 2016 tried to slash the budget of the IRGC in the General Budget Bill, the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, which is the parliamentary defence and security committee – many of whose members are retired IRGC generals – sought to modify the bill [1].

As enumerated in Article 48 of Iraq’s 2005 Constitution (1) federal legislative powers are reserved for the Council of Representatives and the Federation Council, yet the latter as referenced online (2) doesn’t exist. The parliament has a legal right to develop a mechanism and propose and propose mechanisms of scrutiny over the defence policies. Although the constitution does not mention defence per se, it does not give it an exception, which indicates that MoD is also included in the term “ministries”. The constitution also requires the parliament to ratify appointments of high ranks officers, which is another evidence that the parliament has legal powers. The council enact laws, review budgets and “monitors performance of [the] executive authority” (1). Iraq’s presidential council is endowed with veto powers over legislation and constitutional amendments (3) but these have been abused to disrupt government formation (4). Intense horse-trading between the ruling by largely Shia Islamist parties is reflected across several arenas, including parliament (5). Disagreements over the interpretation and application of the constitution, obstruct political consensus, which results in lobbying efforts by different parties, towards policy changes that serve not the public but rather political party interests.

In recent years vetoes have achieved little more than postponing the approval of budgets and cabinets (6). One source notes (7), Iraq’s constitution “charges the president with ratifying laws, but does not explicitly grant him veto power or specify what happens if he withholds approval”. More recent legal commentary (7) contradicts the above. Commenting on calls to impose a reciprocal travel ban on US citizens, an FT article (7) states that the president “can either veto the request or send it” across to the PM to make it a law. Laws, concerning defence, are enacted by the CoR, as the constitution states, and are responsible for electing members of the presidential council; the president, prime minister, and the speaker of the parliament (8).

The veto is infrequently exercised to contest or revise defence policies. The passing of the Popular Mobilization Law that grants members of the umbrella paramilitary organization legal status were passed, allowing militias to be formally inducted into security services (1). The law passed in a session boycotted by Sunni deputies and lawmakers, who accused the governing elite of having failed to consult them regarding the process. No draft law was submitted either, “in a move which bypassed scrutiny of their transformation into a permanent institution”, an interviewee said (2). Chatham House research fellow Renad Mansour writes that the PMF shall not integrate “in the traditional way, it will become an institutionalized autonomous force” (3). The PMF falls under the command of the Prime Minister’s Office, as opposed to the Ministry of Defence. Additionally, the law’s ambiguous provisions were never discussed. Another policy paper clarifies that the Parliament must pass new laws to resolve the ambiguity regarding the PMF’s command structure (4). Despite that, defence policy, in spite of these limitations, is discussed, marred however by individual preferences which align with policies tied not to the state but the doctrinal and operational outlook of armed-state-backed-forces. An important case in point was a vote in parliament “to discontinue questioning of the acting trade minister over corruption allegations and the governor of Basra fleeing to Iran amid a corruption investigation” (5). The debilitating effect on parliament is clear.

Iraq’s leaders, old and new, are likely to face stiff opposition should they attempt to pass additional laws/amendments to clarify the group’s leadership and loyalties. “It is likely to be a very difficult and long drawn out process if Abadi were to push for further legislation” the policy paper concludes. The politicization of the armed forces and the lack of oversight from the MoD continues, as the above case displays, to render parliament’s formal rights ineffective. Sunni lawmaker, Ahmed al Masary (6) stated: “the legislation aborts nation building”. Unable to dissolve the PMF, Abadi buckled under political pressure and “granted the PMF an autonomous structure and jurisdiction” (7). By constitutional law, the prime minister “is the direct executive authority responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces” (8). The force, MP, Raad al Dakhili stated “would constitute something that looks like Iran’s Revolutionary Guard” (1). While parliamentary sessions offer a space for debating matters of controversy, the lawyer’s interview made clear that lawmakers are wary of voicing scrutiny against powerful paramilitaries, supported by the government and allied Iran (2).

As established above, the Parliament’s formal rights and authority have been undermined by quasi-state actors emboldened to operate outside the bounds of constitutional and statutory law. The PMF is a prime example with backing from Iraq’s highest reigning cleric authority — Al Marjiyya (1), (2) and legislative scrutiny of PMF crimes, misdemeanours and unconstitutional behaviour has resisted by the Badr-led Fatah alliance headed by former militia commander of Badr Corps Hadi al Ameri (3). Moves to legalize the loose associate of paramilitaries contravenes Article 9B of the Constitution, which prohibits the formation of armed militias outside the state’s legal framework (4), (5). The criticism voiced against PMF bill (6) by the head of Iraq’s Itihad al-Quwa al-Wataniyah bloc, Usama al Nujaifi, “urging its immediate reversal” and rejecting “the attempt to equalize the two forces” (paramilitaries and the army) did not translate into legislative scrutiny (6).

Ayatollah Ali al Sistani’s office has displayed a growing influence on defence matters. His defence of paramilitaries has granted PMF actors a shield of immunity, as argued by the lawyer interviewed (9) provided that they are tied directly to the PM’s Office. Iran’s involvement in providing arms, logistical support and intel, to PMF brigades further undermines parliament’s legislative scrutiny and raises doubts over the group’s autonomy and loyalty to Iraq (5). Iraq’s Supreme Court is the body charged with the interpretation of provisions in the constitution but has not contested/raised concerns over the legalization of paramilitaries.

Oversight over executive decisions and actions does exist but the effectiveness of NATO’s role in driving the post-conflict scenario hinges on the compliance of parallel sub-state actors, militias — in other words (7). As one analyst reports (7), “the Iraqi state developed a legal framework to formally integrate the militias into the armed forces with civilian, government oversight. But the government did ostensibly little to control the de-facto autonomy enjoyed by these forces” — an observation to extends to the parliamentary groups aligned to these militias.

Formally, the government operates under the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and is supervised by the members of the Parliament. The Knesset consists of several committees; sub-committees on budgets, procurement, intelligence; control and overseeing, foreign policy of the government (military institution and security). All laws are legislated in the Parliament and there is definitely no formal policy that constrains the parliament from any level of scrutiny towards the military. The Knesset has the power to draft legislation, review and supervise the policies of the government ministries in all areas including security and defense (1). The Knesset has the formal right to review and approve the budget for all ministries, including the Ministry of Defense, major arms procurements and defence decisions; However, due to confidentiality, some matters are not revealed to the Knesset and its committees, and others only to the relevant committee. The State budget, for example, including the defence budget total, is authorized and legislated by the Knesset general assembly annually, following discussion within the Knesset committees. In accordance with article 18 of The Budgetary Principles Law 5745-1985 , the details of the defense budget and the security agencies’ budgets are not brought before the Knesset general assembly, but rather before a joint committee of two of the standing committees: the Finance Committee and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (henceforth: FADC), which combines the financial and defense expertise and allows for discussion on classified matters (2). The discussion and voting on the defence budget’s details in the joint committee replaces the legislative process in the Knesset general assembly, as said – due to their classification (other than the defence budget total, the State budget authorized by the Knesset also reveals specific items in fields which are less sensitive in terms of security). In accordance with article 19 of The Budgetary Principles Law 5745-1985, the joint committee is also exclusively authorized to approve changes of outcome between different sections within the defense budget, and between allocations of current budgets to accumulation, and vice versa, during the foscal year, and to carry out oversight discussions on matters relating to these funds (2).

However, in practice, in relation to security issues the influence of the Knesset is weaker. For example, procurement contacts are not regularly overseen by the legislature. However, security matters are generally subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court. For instance, paragraph 40 (3) (regarding declaration of war): The government has the full power in major security actions and decisions; however, the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) has the right to employ formal mechanisms to conduct scrutiny over defence policy, yet they are quite weak and only formally written – Security Cabinet of Israel (inner circle); the Parliament doesn’t have a lot of power to conduct scrunity over defence policy compared to the executive; there is the current trend that the Knesset will lose even more power (4) (5). The Knesset can discuss issues, but cannot make final decision. The Knesset has only limited veto power over defence policies, for instance the Parliament does not have veto power when it comes to budget decisions. Informally, the government controls the Knesset and not the other way around due to a lot of informal rules and practices. (6) (7) (8).

The Knesset debates or reviews defence policy, however, the attempts to influence policy through formal mechanisms are very limited. For instance, sometimes the budget for the defence and security sector have changed during the year, but there are no official documents or statements that explain these changes and irregularities. In fact, Committee approval is only requioired when budget variations exceed 20,000,000,000 shekalim or when the Minister of Defence considers variations to be “substantial” granting significant leeway for adjustments to be made without committee approval and merely by notifying it (1). The passing of the yearly budget, for example, requires the approval of the Knesset (2). In general, all questions of the Knesset that are related to the budget, defence decisions, policies, and procurement as well as budgets are answered, but not answered adequately or comprehensively. Decisions are often made behind closed doors (3). In general, Israel is a very closed state in the field of security and therefore has very little accessible or public information (4). Regarding the budget there is the Knesset Research Center (4) which provides two documents: one refers to the setting and control of the defence budget (5) and the other refers to the process of approving the defence budget (6). In addition, although the defence budget is confidential in Israel, a general monitoring of the budget can be done on the budget key website (7). Yet, most of the topics that relate to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee are confidential. When it comes to the connection between the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee to the Knesset – the members of the committee are obviously members of the Knesset. The following source is an official document detailing the actions and legislative measurements taken by the committee in 2015, it discusses among other issues budget decisions and authority given by the committee on different issues to the IDF for example (8). The proclaimed role of committee – according to their website (9)- is the overseeing of Israel’s foreign policy, it’s armed forces, and it’s safety.

Although the Parliament is a formally a quite strong institution in Israel, its scrutiny is often underminded by representatives of the military or the executive. Checks and balances exist formally on the paper, but in practice the Knesset is quite weak compared to the executive and the National Security Council (1). Additionally, there are many ex-generals of the IDF in the Parliament who try to influence decisions in favor of the executive (2). Furthermore, the military is so important and popular for the Israeli society so that it is very hard for politicians to argue with their requests simply because the public will resent it (3). As such, military voices hold greats way in parliament and can exert outsised influence over parliamentary oversight of defence issues.

According to the Code of the military system (Codice dell’ordinamento militare) and to the attributions of the Parliamentary Defence Committees, the Parliament scrutinises the annual report prepared by the Minister of Defence and presented by the President of the Ministers [1]. Moreover the Parliament has the right to review the budget – the annual defence budget is part of the annual budget of the state – as well as to review and control main acquisition programmes [2]. Parliament can also approve or reject the law delineating international military missions [3]. On other aspects related to defence policy, parliamentary committees can amend the decrees or legislative decrees through which decisions are made.

Parliament approves the defence budget each year [3]. Decision regarding security and defence issues are mainly taken by legislative decrees, hence the parliamentary involvement is through the approval of related funding allocation; it has limited power when it comes to effective influence of the legislative process. However, on the extension of ongoing military missions abroad and on new missions, the new legislation introduced in 2016, law 145/2016 [1], provides for the necessary prior approval of the Parliament [2].

With particular reference to modernisation and acquisition programmes (art. 536 of the Code of the military system) the Parliament has the capacity to express its opinion, mainly regarding the financial aspects contained in the decree [1]. Particularly, should there be an absolute negative majority (negative vote by the absolute majority) to the approval of the decree, already modified with the indication of the first scrutiny, the decree shall not be adopted [2]. The necessary absolute negative majority in order not to approve the decree might be understood as a limitation to effectively take into consideration the parliament opinions. There is no evidence of undue pressure on the Parliament.

The Diet is “the sole law-making organ of State,” and therefore has the right to enact laws. Both houses of the Diet must act on the laws in the same session for them to be adopted. [1] Cabinet orders and ministerial ordinances and regulations may also be issued, but they must be based on law adopted by the Diet. [2] The second right vested in the Diet is deciding on the budget. The cabinet submits the budget to the Diet for review and approval. [3] The dominant interpretation of the Constitution is that the Diet has the right to amend the budget by increasing or decreasing allocations to the different items, but not to add completely new items. [4] The Diet also reviews the Board of Audit’s audit of the defence budget after the end of the fiscal year. [5] A cabinet decision to mobilise the Self-defence Forces must be approved by the Diet, which therefore can influence defence policy. [6] [7] The Diet can also influence policy by threatening to support a vote of no confidence in the cabinet. [8] However, when one party controls a majority in the Diet, major decisions are usually taken within the ruling party. The Liberal Democratic Party has often commanded such a majority. [9] [10] The ability of the Diet to act as a check on the cabinet is reduced when the Diet is not in session. “One major point of leverage is that any matter not decided in a session cannot be carried over in the following session.” [11] Each house of the Diet may, in order to make laws and to control the executive, conduct various investigations of national politics as a whole. Investigations are primarily conducted by the committees, by hearing explanations from government representatives and persons with a relation to the issues, requesting documents, conducting interpellations, requesting witnesses and experts to appear before them, or sending members on investigative trips. [12] The time allotted to interpellations in committees and plenary meetings, [13] and to questions by leaders of parties to the prime minister during Question Time in the Lower House, [14] are regulated by the size of the kaiha (parliamentary caucuses) of the MPs. In each of the houses of the Diet, MPs are divided into such kaiha, which are largely coterminous with membership in political parties. Parties will, however, sometimes unite with independent MPs to form a larger kaiha with more rights. [15] Question Time has seldom been held the last few years. Prime Minister Abe argued in 2018 that it does not serve any useful purpose [14] and many observers have lost interest in it because, with the opposition comprising several kaiha in recent years, questions have been asked about very diverse issues. However, in the spring of 2020, many questions were asked in the Budget Committee, often by party leaders, and the prime minister often delegated the answering of these questions to other cabinet members. The Budget Committee has been convened often in 2020. [16] A house of the Diet or a Diet Committee may also request reports and records from the Cabinet or a public agent. [17] However, a committee decision to make such a request is made by voting, and the proposal may be voted down by the dominant kaiha. [18] Nevertheless, a Diet member may request an explanation from a Minister by posing a question to the presiding officer of the House as a concise statement in written form. [19] Such questions must deal with a broad aspect of government policy that it is not natural to raise during deliberation in a plenary or committee meeting. They are not regulated by the kaiha system. If approved by the presiding officer, the government must provide a written answer to the question within seven days. [20] A former MP noted these powers of Diet members to request information as major sources of Parliamentary power vis-à-vis the Government. [21]

Ultimately, the cabinet must have the confidence of the House of Representatives in conducting all affairs of state. [1] As Kishimoto writes, “the House of Representatives must be dissolved or the cabinet must resign en masse upon the passage of a nonconfidence resolution or the defeat of a confidence resolution … Individual cabinet members may also be forced to resign by a nonconfidence vote in the lower house.” [2] Both MPs and the Cabinet may introduce bills. Parliament has the right to approve or veto bills on security. (3) Regarding bills in general, Kishimoto writes that “The vast majority of bills – and, in general, the most important and controversial ones – are submitted by the cabinet.” Because they tend to involve important areas of government, such bills have a high passage rate. [4] A former MP pointed out at interview that the government will ensure that it has support in the Diet for the budget, therefore, amendments are very rare. Hypothetically, the budget could be amended after it has been introduced in the Diet if the Cabinet dissolves the Diet and calls for a new election. In addition, the budget is sometimes amended in minor ways to respond to concerns of the voters. However, such amendments will usually not affect the Defence Budget. [5] Arms procurement is an administrative task that the Diet seldom debates in practice. However, examination of the debates in the Diet committees that handle defence affairs, the Security Committee of the House of Representatives [6] and the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the House of Councillors, [7] shows that committee members sometimes ask questions about major arms procurements. They also ask questions about defence policy. Questions regarding defence policy and major arms purchases are also asked in the Budget Committees in each of the two houses of the Diet. [8] defence expenditures are reviewed through Diet review of the Board of Audit’s audit annual audit report, although the Diet seldom scrutinises the chapter on the Ministry of Defence very closely. [5]

The Cabinet depends on a majority of the Diet voting in favour of its proposals for them to be adopted. It will attempt to influence the Diet, but this does not in general amount to coercion or undue influence to make parliament vote in its favour. Although recent reforms have given the SDF greater authority to report to the Minister of Defence, they neither coerce nor unduly influence parliament. Japanese executive-legislative relations include both majoritarian arrangements that ensure that the Cabinet is supported by at least a narrow majority in parliament, and consensus arrangements that maximise the size of the majority required by govenment. [1] One measure of executive dominance is the length of rule of the Cabinet, which may be measured by how long the same parties have been in government or how long a Prime Minister has ruled. [2] When Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced his resignation in 2020, he had led a coalition government of the LDP and the Komeito since 2012, which is long. [3] The LDP is a coalition of factions, and coalitions are an element of a consensus arrangement that can broaden the majority behind government. [4] However, bills and budget proposals that have been drafted by the civil service are pre-screened by the LDP’s Policy Affairs Research Council (PARC) and thereafter approved through consultations between the LDP and Komeito before being submitted to the Diet. [5] This arrangement reduces the significance of Diet deliberation. Nevertheless, as the House of Representatives has the power to pass a non-confidence motion against the Cabinet, a Cabinet that does not have the Diet’s support will have difficulties operating. [6] On the other hand, the Prime Minister can use the right to dissolve the House of Representatives and call a snap election to put pressure on that house. [7] One scholar has found that Diet management over several decades has evolved to strengthen arrangements whereby the Cabinet makes decisions on the basis of (sometimes) narrow majorities in parliament. [8] However, the Diet Law was revised in the 1990s to give MPs greater power to request information from the government [9] and this has strengthened the independent role of the Diet. [10] Furthermore, the Japanese parliament has a powerful upper house compared to many other bicameral legislatures. [11] For example, bills passed by the House of Representatives but rejected by the House of Councillors must receive the support of two-thirds of the members present in the House of Representatives to become law. [12] A high threshold must also be cleared to achieve constitutional amendment, which requires both a majority of two-thirds in both Houses of parliament and a referendum. [13] The government sometimes chooses to compromise if the opposition threatens to use delaying tactics or if forcing a vote would lead to a loss of popular support. [14] As for the SDF, the principle of civilian control followed by Japan constrains these forces and prevents them from exercising power in the form of explicitly threatening parliament or inducing it to take specific action. In 2015, the Government adopted a statement of a collective view on civilian control. According to this view, civilian control is the principle that politics takes priority over the military in a democratic state. In Japan, this control is exercised by the Diet, the Cabinet and the Ministry of Defence. In the Ministry, supervision, management and control of the SDF is done by the Minister. [15] As of June 2015, [16] civilian and military officials can report equally to the Minister, whereas previously military reports were mediated by civilian officials. At the same time, the Ministry’s Operations and Planning Bureau was abolished, and management of operations was handed to the Joint Staff, which is under the command of the Minister. [17]

As a parliamentary monarchy, Jordan’s parliament, commonly referred to as the National Assembly, is bicameral, consisting of two chambers: an elected House of Deputies comprising of 130 members (Majlis al-Nuwab) and the Assembly of Senators (Majlis al-Ayyan), appointed by the King and consisting of 65 members. According to Chapter V of the Jordanian Constitution [1], the national assembly has legislative and oversight functions [2]. These functions do not extend to the armed forces, as Article 32 of the Constitution stipulates that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Army, Navy and Air Forces. The King, according to Article 33 of the Constitution, also has the right to declare war, conclude peace and confirm treaties and agreements. Furthermore, Jordan does not have an effective Ministry of Defence. Even though, in 2014, the King urged the Government to activate the Ministry of Defence to relieve the Jordanian Armed Forces of some logistical and administrative burdens, the duties of the Minister of Defence have often fallen to Prime Ministers. The current Prime Minister, Omar al-Razzaz, is also the Minister of Defence [3]. Therefore, the presence of a nominal Minister of Defence is contradicted by Article 32 and 33 of the Constitution, as the Minister of Defence has no actual power over decisions relating to security [6]. State budgets, which include the defence budget, are prepared by the General Budget Department. This department presents its allocations to the Cabinet, which endorses or rejects the proposed annual budgets [4]. There are some occasions documented during which annual government spending was approved by the National Assembly, the latest of which was in early 2018. On January 2, 2018 the budget presented to Parliament was endorsed without changes by the House of Deputies, who in turn put the budget forward to the House of Senate. The Senate also approved the budget with no amendments [5, 7]. However, the Parliament does not have formal powers to vote on all matters related to security, only on defence budgets as a part of the general government budgets. The scoring has also taken into consideration that according to Article 34 of the Constitution, the King also reserves the right to dissolve the National Assembly [1].

Whilst there is evidence of Parliament debating some defence policies, the effectiveness of such debates remains questionable. The defence budget of 2018, for example, was approved without changes [1]. In 2017, the Jordanian Parliament voted to review the Peace Treaty with Israel [2]. However, there is no evidence that such Parliamentary votes are followed through, and Peace Treaties remain in the hands of the King, in whom executive power is vested according to Article 26 of the Constitution [3]. According to multiple sources, the effectiveness of the Parliament’s oversight on defence and security activities, including the budget, is minimal [4,5].

There is no evidence of the executive or the military coercing or unduly influencing the Parliament to vote in their favour, yet there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration in relation to the independence of the legislature scrutiny: (1) Defence remains largely controlled by the King according to the Constitution [1], (2) Parliamentary votes on defence are not followed through by the executives, as evidenced in the case of reviewing Israeli peace treaties [2], (3) the King has the power to dissolve Parliament [1], and (4) the Senates are appointed by the King and must be, according to Article 64 of the Constitution, “Present and former Prime Ministers and Ministers, persons who had previously held the office of Ambassador, Minister Plenipotentiary, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, President and judges of the Court of Cassation and of the Civil and Sharia Courts of Appeal, retired military officers of the rank of Lt. General and above, former Deputies who were elected at least twice as deputies, and other similar personalities who enjoy the confidence of the people in view of the services rendered by them to the Nation and the Country”. Even though there is no evidence of executives and the military directly undermining Parliament’s scrutiny, the independence of the Parliament and its voting system is questionable, due to the presence of military and executive personnel in the Senates, and because the King has the power to dissolve Parliament [3, 4].

The Kenya Constitution stipulates in Article 238 (2a) that national security, which includes Defence organs, are subject to authority of the Constitution and Parliament. [1] In addition, core functions of the Defence Council, which among other roles, is to develop and review national security policies such as defence policies, which are all also subject Parliamentary approval. [2]

Parliament also has the authority to exercise has several formal mechanisms to hold the Defence sector to account. These include the right to audit and review several aspects of defence budgets, procurement expediture, as well as operational actions. These functions are at times fragmented and exercised by several parliamentary committees. Nevertheless, the two main organs in Parliament that are responsible for these functions are the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee in the National Assembly, the Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations in the Senate.

Other Committees that exercise some elements of the above functions include Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) and Budget and Appropriations Committee in the National Assembly. Parliament can take action through some mechanisms to scrutinse or influence defence policy. For instance, the National Assembly can through its Standing Orders 61 (IV) move a motion on to execute Article 132 of the constitution and declare war. Similarly, the National Assembly can through Standing Orders 61 (XV) authorise deployment troops within Kenyan territory in accordance to Article 241 of the Kenyan Constitution. [3]

Moreover, while the Defence Council may have the authority the deploy national forces internally and externally, the decision has to be approved by parliament. [4] Despite Parliament having formal powers to scrutinise the Defence Sector, the executive has, at times, bypassed the Assembly. A case in point is the statutory requirement for the executive to seek parliamentary for both internal and external deployment of national forces. The executive has, on one occassion, bypassed this process. In October 2011, for instance, the executive hurriedly deployed KDF troops in Somalia in operation termed as Operation Linda Inchi without first seeking Parliamentary approval. [5]

A public interest petition on was instituted by a member of Parliament in 2012 against the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) at the Kenya High Court, following a deployment of its forces domestically without parliamentary approval. Although the petition was dismissed on technical grounds rather than the merits of the case, the executive later appeared to have changed tactics by regularising parliamentary approval procedures before deploying troops. [6]

Parliament reguarly reviews defence-related policies, especially budgets. The PAC, for instance, reviews Auditor-General’s annual audit reports, which include Ministry of Defence (MOD) audits. PAC reports of Auditor-General reports, for instance, for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 financial years indicate that the committee relies solely on explanations from MOD’s accounting officers on major irregularities raised by the Auditor-General. [1]

There is limited or no evidence from the reports where the Committee has sought independent opinion or conducted its own investigations to verify MOD’s explantions. This is may also happen with other Ministries and government agencies that PAC assesses as part of its oversight work. In fact, it is a major loop hole that limits the effectiveness of the committee to expose corruption (see example of corruption). Nevertheless, in cases where PAC has noted major irregularities, the Committee recommends that other goverment organs such as the Department for Criminal (DCI) or Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) conduct further investigations. [2]

However, these are just recommendations and do not veto or disapprove of the processes. Moreover, there is limited evidence of follow-up to these recommendations. Operationally, Parliament has exercised its influence on MOD decisions. For instance, in August 2019 Members of Parliament attempted to move motions, as provided for in Article 241(3) of the Constitution on deployment of Defence Forces, for protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State. The intention of some MPs was to authorise deployment of troops to defend the disputed marinetime border between Kenya and Somalia. [1] However, the deployment was not approved by the whole house.

The Executive, has, in the past, overlooked provisions of the constitution that require parliamentary approval before deploying troops internally or externally for missions. For instance, in October 16, 2011, the executive did not obtain the approval of parliament prior to launching Operation Linda Nchi – a military operation against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. Instead, the executive invoked UN Charter Article 51 to justify its rights to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity on 16 October 2011. [1] There is also no evidence that anything has changed since then that could strengthen parliament’s powers to approve or reject military deployments.

Although the government went to Parliament later, on 7th December 2011, after launching the mission, proceeding with the mission without parliamentary approval was considered unconstitutional, if not in direct contempt of Parliament, undermining its authority. Scholars and experts have opined that the decision to launch the operation came, in part, from individuals within KDF with bureaucratic interests as well as influential individuals attached and close to the armed forces who had both personal economic and political interests. [2]

However, it is important to note that the government did also later seek parliament’s approval to allow Kenyan forces to be integrated as part of the African Union-led regional peace keeping mission, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). [3]

The legislation package for the transition of the Kosovo Security Force into armed forces was adopted in late December 2018 by the Kosovo Assembly. The following laws were adopted in December 2018: Law No. 06/L-122 on the Ministry of Defence [1], Law No. 06/L-123 on the Kosovo Security Force [2] and Law No. 06/L-124 on Service in the Kosovo Security Force [3, 4]. All of them are published in the websites of the Kosovo Assembly [5], the Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo [6] and the Ministry of Defence of Kosovo [7].
The Law on the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) stipulates that the KSF shall be subject to civilian democratic control, rule of law and international obligations [3, 4].
The Assembly can exercise parliamentary democratic control over the KSF in order to oversee and investigate all matters relating to its, financing; personnel; and equipment and deployment of the KSF in operations overseas. The Assembly authorises the KSF annual budget and helps shape its long-term ten-year plan; it approves specific financial programs to support the KSF, as proposed by the Kosovo Government [8]. Furthermore, the Law on KSF states that the Kosovo Assembly’s Committee on defence and security-related matters acts as an independent overseeing body and is able to request a report from the Minister of Defence and Commander of the Chief Security Force, if necessary. The Committee may ask to be present in meetings with the Minister of Defence and COMKSF, and request either of them to answer questions. The Committee reviews the KSF’s draft budget prior to its submission to the Asssembly for adoption, and it may request a report of all donations that the KSF receives from bilateral partners [8].

The Committee on Internal Affairs, Security and Oversight of the Kosovo Security Force (CIASOKSF), responsible for scrutinising defence policy within defence-related institutions (specifically within the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Force (KSF)) [1] has not been active in the last years [2] for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the scope of this Committee is too broad and it therefore lacks in competence. Beyond the Ministry of Defence and the KSF, the Committee also scrutinises other security-related institutions, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Kosovo Parliament and the Police Inspectorate [3]. Secondly, it is reported that there have been close ties between members of this Committee and the leadership of the KSF, which questions the independence of the Committee’s actions and validity of its scrutiny [4]. The situation remained thus throughout 2017 and the first half of 2018, at which point the European Commission highlighted that the oversight of the KSF continued to be insufficient [5]. This statement was repeated in 2019 [6].
Despite these challenges and due to high priority laws changing the legal mandate and mission of the Security Force transitioning into armed forces, the CIASOKSF reviewed the aforementioned draft laws prior to their final adoption in the Kosovoa Assembly’s plenary session [7]. However, the role of the Committee remains rather limited when it comes to overseeing the defence policy, particularly since this sector is still new in Kosovo [2].

The close ties between the members of the Committee on Internal Affairs, Security and Oversight of the Kosovo Security Force (CIASOKSF) and the leadership of the Kosovo Security Forces reported in 2016 by the European Commission [1] hampered the independent scrutiny of Kosovo Assembly’s committee over the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Force [2]. Furthermore, in 2017 and first half of 2018, the European Commission criticised the Kosovo Assembly’s oversight of the Security Forces and claimed this continued to be insufficient [3, 4]. Even though the parliamentary scrutiny is weak, there is no evidence that the Kosovo Government, the Ministry of Defence or the Kosovo Security Force have tried to undermine or unduly influence Members of the Assembly to vote in favour of particular policies in the field of defence which affect the Ministry of Defence or the Security Force [5]. The laws stipulating the transition of the Kosovo Security Force into armed forces were supported and voted in by all Members of the Asembly [6] with the exception of the Kosovo Assembly’s Serb Members who boycotted the Assembly’s session of 14 December 2018, objecting to the Security Force’s transition into armed forces [6].

The Kuwaiti Parliament has the right to scrutinise all Government policies, including those of the defence and security ministers, according to the constitution’s article 112, 101 and 102 (1) and the internal laws of Parliament article 76, 144 and 147 (2). The Parliament can legally demand all kinds of information from the executive branch, summon ministers for questioning and conduct investigations, and the Government must comply. It can also hold a no-confidence vote on these ministers if they object to their policies and even though it does not have the right to veto laws or decisions, it could attempt to exercise control by refusing to authorise funding for it.

But all these moves can be stopped in their tracks by article 107 of the constitution (1), which allows the Emir, the head of the executive branch under which the security agencies fall, to dissolve the Parliament at any point and for any reason.

Also, the Emir can declare a defensive war without going through Parliament first or having to dissolve it even it opposed his decision, according to the constitution.

Moreover, there a loophole in article 147 of the constitution (1), which gives Parliament the right to investigate Government decisions but only if they are “under the jurisdiction of the Parliament,” an area that is not explicitly defined in the constitution or in the PIL.

In short, the Kuwaiti Parliament has extensive review powers and formal influence over funding, which should afford it some control over defence and security policy, but the law favours the executive branch. It can easily overrule them and ignore their demands, so long as it is willing to withstand potential public and media criticism of its decision.

The Parliament’s powers are hard to utilise for internal reasons:
Kuwait does not have political parties (even though the constitution does not explicitly ban their formation) and so all 50 elected lawmakers run independently, as individuals, and they don’t necessarily have much loyalty to each other or interest in cooperating with one another, a Kuwaiti royal (3) and an analyst said (4). They are not united from the beginning by a belief in a certain set of ideas, so it is not easy for lawmakers to united together and demand a no-confidence vote, for example.
The reason above has created a populist streak that runs through Kuwaiti politics. Politicians must focus more on the needs of their constituents and less on the collective good of the nation, including the people who did not vote for them. This means that they spend most of their time in Parliament trying to save jobs, opposing austerity measures or serving the short-term interests of one or two groups in society, activists said in interviews.
Kuwait also enacted a law in 2016 that banned individuals who have insulted the Emir (an offence that most of the opposition figures in Kuwait were found guilty of) from contesting elections. This means that only people who are not very critical of the Government can be elected, and these are precisely the kind of lawmakers who won’t risk dissolution (and the loss of their well-paying job that allows them to rub shoulders with senior officials who are likely to bribe them or offer them special benefits) to oppose any policy proposed by the Government, officials and a report from Reuters said. This is, of course, an old practice that has always plagued the Kuwaiti Parliament and other legislative bodies around the world, but many now believe is being actively promoted by the 2016 law.
Article 6 of Kuwait’s nationality law (5) limits the right to vote to less than half of the local population, by only allowing Kuwaitis whose ancestors lived in Kuwait in before 1920 to vote – the main beneficiaries of the welfare system through which the royal family has been distributing Kuwait’s oil revenues since the country started exporting it in 1946 (6). These are the people who are least likely to elect lawmakers who are willing to oppose the Emir.

Parliament regularly reviews and debates the budget and spending of the country’s defence and security sector. It discusses it least twice a year, and it holds (usually private) sessions to review arms procurement deals that cost $330,000 USD or more once every six months at least, according to officials, as it does other agencies (1, 2 and 3). The lawmakers have often referred suspicious financial transaction inside the security agencies to the public prosecutor’s office.

The Parliament, however, rarely attempts to change defence policies, which are considered the “Emir’s speciality,” lawmakers, activists and a member of the royal family said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7).

Lawmakers do not usually try to change the plans the defence and security sector puts forward. They have attempted to make no significant changes to policies since their formal refusal to ratify the security pact Kuwait signed with GGC countries in 2012, which did not stop the defence and interior ministries from implementing the moves decreed by the agreement. Even though they could have continued to press the security agencies and the executive branch on these policies, lawmakers decided not to (8).

Parliament only discusses the Defence Ministry’s big picture and policies when a law has been presented to them by the Government or when there is public interest in a specific incident — but even then lawmakers tend to comply with the security officials.

Both the Interior Minister and the Defence Minister are members of Parliament and they have the right to vote on laws, along with the other ministers who are given parliamentary seats by the virtue of their post, according to the constitution (1) and the PIL (2). The government has a total of 15 seats, meaning the executive branch controls at least about a quarter of the Parliament and that is without attempting to influence elected MPs (3). These members, along with their aides and officials close to the Emir, pressure lawmakers, informally and individually, into toeing the line, according to officials and a member of the royal family (4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). Lawmakers who are keen on criticising defence institutions or who want to advocate a new defence policy that goes against the wishes of the Emir are sternly and quickly reminded that the Emir can easily dissolve the Parliament altogether, and that persistence could result in them being accused insulting the Emir, or having the citizenship revoked, like many members of the opposition, the aforementioned sources said.

Only six Parliaments lasted their full terms in Kuwait since 1962, the news outlet, Gulf News, said (9). Nine Parliaments have been dissolved, the last one being in October 2016 due to disagreements between the Emir and the elected lawmakers at the time.

Kuwait’s executive branch disbanded these nine Parliaments because they tried to be independent despite the laws constraining them, but the current Parliament lacks this will, partly because it was formed after the authorities enacted a law in June 2016 that banned politicians convicted of insulting the Emir from running from office, effectively preventing a large number of opposition figures from standing in national elections, according to a Reuters report (10).

The Parliament (Saeima) has full formal rights to approve, revise and veto laws and strategic documents related to defence policy, as well as the budget for defence and security. The Parliament is not tasked with approving arms procurements, though it can request information and discuss the issues. [1]
The Committees in charge of the issues related to defence are the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee, the National Security Committee, the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee [2].

The Parliament is largely effective in determining the defence policy by approving and revising laws, strategic documents and the budget. It regularly adopts and revises the defence policy and legislation, and has been actively involved in major decisions regarding defence policy, except arms procurements. Among many examples of legislation and planning documents passed, the Parliament has adopted the National Security Concept (2015) [1] and State Defence Concept (2016), [2] as well as the state budget, including what regards defence, for 2018 and 2019. [3, 10] It also adopted the new National Security Concept (2019) which introduced the comprehensive defence system and additional threat dimensions [8]. In addition, it introduced new priorities for mitigating the diverse threats – state defence subjects in schools; improvement of laws and regulations; regulations governing the media environment; risk assessment of infrastructure equipment and services received, improving the supervision of the financial sector [9]. At the same time, as the next indicator shows, no fundamental issues were subject to revision in the Parliament.

According to the government reviewer, currently the Latvian MoD is working on the new State Defence Concept (SDC). As part of the process the Latvian MoD in 2019 conducted 5 public debates that aimed to gain public insight before developing the new SDC. In the first debate representatives from all major parties elected in Parliament were invited to hear so that they can express their views on significant issues that should or should not be included in the SDC. According to the National Security Law, each convocation of the Saeima has to approve a new state defence concept by 1 October of the second year of its term of office.

The Committee has always been at the core of discussions, oversight and scrutiny of defence policy. The Committee follows the implementation of security and defence policy strategies, and puts forward its own initiatives, for instance, the launching of a sub-committee on Comprehensive National Defence in order to oversee the implementation process. Since one of the main threats to the national security of the country are different information campaigns, a sub-committee on Strategic communication was launched. [7]
Normally, the Commission meets twice a week. [4, 11, 12] It has 11 members and 6 supporting staff. [5]
At the same time, the Committee’s field of responsibility is vast – not only defence policy, but also internal affairs and corruption prevention, a sphere considered relatively problematic in Latvia given the recent scandals. Though there is a special Corruption prevention subcommittee of this committee consisting of 7 members, [6, 13] a full-time standing committee for corruption prevention alone would be able to fill the agenda effectively. Thus, a narrower field of responsibilities would allow the committee to work more in depth with other issues, e.g. arms procurements. Recent corruption related scandals include the cases of the Latvian Bank (2018), the so-called “Conversations of oligarchs/Rīdzene” (2017), and long-standing internal rifts in the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

Neither the executive branch, nor the military coerce or unduly influence Parliament to vote in its favour, but the Parliament does not tend to significantly revise or reverse proposals proposed by the executive branch. For example, the current previous National Security Concept [1] and State Defence Concept [2] were prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers and no fundamental issues were subject to revision in the Parliament. The parliament has not significantly questioned the position of the Cabinet of Ministers (including those of the Ministry of Defence and National Armed Forces) in recent issues with public resonance, e.g. the proposal to reintroduce conscription (which is did not support), [3] introduction of state defence subject in schools (which it did support). [4]

According to the government reviewer, the new National Security Concept was created by the Cabinet of Ministers, it was then examined/scrutinised in the National Security Council and after approved by the Parliament. According to the National Security Law, each convocation of the Parliament has to approve a new NSC by 1 October of the first year of its term of office [5]. Furthermore, the National Security Concept was scrutinised in the parliament; there were questions raised regarding certain aspects of the NSC, for example, the practicality of proposed goals [6]. The NSC was approved with majority in the Parliament. The NSC is available to the public [7].

According to the Parliament’s rule of procedure, the Parliament has formal powers to scrutinize government policies. Furthermore, the Parliament is responsible for approving the state budget, bills, law proposals, international conventions and agreements including bilateral agreements with a country and government institutions (1). However, the National Defense Law leaves the defence and security policy setting and oversight in the hands of the Council of Ministers (Art. 6) (2). Defence and security procurements are subject to special procedures. Defence procurements, are facilitated by the General Directorate of Administration (3).

In theory, the Government of Lebanon is responsible for setting the defence and security policy (1). The presidentially-led Supreme Defence Council, on the other hand, sets the policy’s framework of implementation and necessary measures (Article 8 NDL) (1). The Parliament is only involved in revising and approving the state’s budget which includes the defence budget (2). It does not debate nor approve the defence policy (3). It has recently approved the state’s budget for 2019, including the defence budget (3).

Parliamentary politics is subordinate to the interests of principal confessional elites. Thus, Lebanese politics are organized in a manner that undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy, and less so the executive branch or the military per se (1), (2). According to Interview no. 2, the military command deals with the executive branch directly (3). Source 5 indicated that LAF representatives are present during the Defence, Interior, and Municipalities parliamentary committee’s revision for military cooperation treaties or any similar document that has a monetary aspect to it (4). Source 4, indicated that the parliamentary committee does not do enough on defence-related issues. Treaties that are revised by it are done superficially (5). On the other hand, the CDP document was not shared with them. It was only presented in a form of presentation, source 4 and 2 indicated.
However, the Council of Ministers operates as a mini-parliament. As a result, parliamentary politics – which are subordinate to the interests of principal confessional elites – are often a moot point. In short, it is how politics are organized that undermine parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy, and less so the executive branch or the military per se.

Parliament passes laws, considers the Government’s programme regarding certain defence issues [1], approves the State Budget and supervises its execution, and adopts decisions to use the armed forces as stated by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania [2]. Moreover, Parliament has the power to scrutinise the defence policy and budget [3]. Parliament’s activities include considering laws and other legislation; regulating national security and defence matters; drafting proposals for their improvement; and monitoring their implementation. The Speaker of the Seimas (unicameral parliament of Lithuania) is one of the members of the State Defence Council which is responsible for addressing and coordinating the most significant issues regarding state defence. However, while Parliament passes resolutions accepting the country’s security policy, it does not directly approve major procurement decisions (although it does have indirect influence through its approval of budgets). The Parliament has the right to review major acquisitions ex ante.

Additional important powers of the Parliament over defence laws and policy are [4,5]:
(1) the approval of Armed Forces’ structure and personnel number limitations;
(2) the approval of the mandate for participation in international operations;
(3) the approval of the National Defence System Development Programme, which establishes long-term development priorities, goals and objectives of the National Defence System development, including major capability procurement projects. The Programme also stipulates that the Government prepares and, after receiving approval of the Committee, adopts a detailed 10-year procurement plan and personnel development plan.

Any defence procurement, valued over 20 million EUR, has to be submitted to the Committee for approval [6].

The Defence Committee, which is a part of the Parliament, meets three to five times a month. Its agenda, reports, legal acts and other documents are available online [1]. According to the Statute of Seimas (unicameral parliament of Lithuania), the Committee may demand any member from the Government or other institution to appear in their session and provide necessary information, as has happened previously [2]. However, requested representatives do not always follow the request to participate in these meetings and are subsequently subject to fines for not participating [3]. Fines for not showing up at the Committee meeting are only applicable in cases when the said meeting is dedicated to the official parliamentary investigation, performed by the Committee [6]. MPs making up the Committee have access to classified information.

In 2017, Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on the Organization of the National Defence System and the Military Service, instigating preconditions for a centralised acquisition process within the national defence system [4].

However, while Parliament passes resolutions accepting the country’s security policy, it does not directly approve major procurement decisions (although it does have indirect influence through its approval of budgets). The Parliament also has the right to review major acquisitions ex ante. For instance, before purchasing 88 Boxer armoured vehicles, the Committee on National Security and Defence reviewed the proposals received and expressed their opinion by suggesting two different options, one of which is Boxers, manufactured by the Artec GmbH company, a joint venture between KMW, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland [5].

The Defence Committee consists of 11 members of Parliament from different parties. No evidence of undue (not even perceived) influence is demonstrated through open sources, nor is there any indication of resource shortages. Moreover, the Lithuanian Constitution (1992, article 141) [1], prohibits certain categories of individuals from being members of the Seimas (unicameral parliament of Lithuania) or municipal council, namely: members currently completing military service or alternative service, as well as officers in the national defence system, the police, and the interior, non-commissioned officers, re-enlistees, and other paid officials of paramilitary and security services who are not retired. They also may not hold any elected or appointed office in the civil State Service, or participate in the activities of political parties or organisations.

Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy, with His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the ceremonial head of state. The legislative authority of the Parliament to enact laws applicable to the Federation is vested in Article 66(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. [1] Article 74 of the Constitution states that the Parliament may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the Federal List or the Concurrent List, which are the first and third lists set out in the Ninth Schedule. The main subject areas of the Federal List are external affairs, defence, internal security, civil and criminal law, citizenship, finance, commerce and shipping industry, communications, health and labour. [2] Bills must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and be approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. A bill may originate in either house, with the exception of a money bill, which may not be introduced by the Senate. The Senate does not have the power to veto, reject or insist on the amendment of a bill passed by the House of Representatives. The Ministry of Defence’s annual estimate for its budget is up for discussion for a maximum of 20 days in the House after being tabled by the Minister of Finance and must be passed by the Parliament. The recent establishment of a Special Select Committee on defence and Domestic Affairs is seen as a proactive step towards achieving the highest level of governance in the country’s spending and procurement. [3] The Malaysian Defence White Paper which was submitted to the parliament on December 2, 2019 is the first defence policy document of its kind to be made public. [4] In addition, the new select committee was also invited to contribute to the drafting of the DWP. [5]

Although the Parliament has formal rights to scrutinise defence policy, these rights are not exercised in practice, as the formulation of the current National Defence Policy (NDP) [1] was done internally within the Ministry of Defence and presented to the parliament merely to be rubber stamped. However, the new government has stepped up efforts to curb corruption, including a parliamentary reform to give the parliament more authority. As part of the reform, the Special Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs was established. [2] [3] The Malaysian Defence White Paper which was tabled in parliament on December 2, 2019 is the first defence policy document of its kind to be made public. [4] [5] In addition, the new select committee was also invited to contribute to the drafting of the DWP. [6]

Although the Parliament has formal rights to scrutinise defence policy, these rights are not exercised in practice. The formulation of the current National Defence Policy (NDP) [1] was done internally within the Ministry of Defence and presented to the parliament merely to be rubber stamped. The 2010 NDP was written internally within the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) with other agencies such as the National Security Council (NSC), which functions to formulate policies and strategic measures on national security including defence [1], and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributing to its drafting and constructing concepts [2].

The NSC, however, is placed under the directive of the Prime Minister’s Office (the executive) and therefore lacks credibility for independent scrutiny and oversight. The final draft of the NDP was tabled with the NSC committee for cabinet approval, though there was not much resistance or amendment, given that the then Prime Minister DS Najib had previously been the Defence Minister.

According to the constitution, the parliament (National Assembly), determines the fundamental principles and general organisation of the defence and security sector². It also approves the overall state budget, is consulted on its content, and exercises day-to-day oversight through the Defence and Security Committee (CDSPC; for concerns regarding its functioning, see Q2).
Article 70 stipulates that the National Assembly has the right to vote on laws concerning the general status of the personnel of the Armed forces and the general organisation of the defence and national security². Meanwhile, the two subsequent articles give parliament even more important powers.
Article 71 states that “A declaration of war shall be authorised by the National Assembly in a special meeting for that purpose. The President of the Republic shall then inform the nation by an announcement”.
Furthermore, Article 72 outlines that “states of emergency and states of siege shall be declared in the Council of Ministers. Their extension beyond ten days may only be authorised by the National Assembly”².
In parliament, the military budget is first examined by the Defence and Security Committee. The CDSPC invites the directors of all the main divisions of the armed forces, the army chiefs of staff, the army joint chiefs of staff and the Minister of Defence for discussions on the mission, the annual objectives and the budgetary requirements of the armed and security forces³. Legislators must debate and approve the defence budget as part of the government’s general annual finance bill, but various other powers are lacking³.

For example, the constitution makes no mention of any formal parliamentary rights to scrutinise or veto appointments of senior defence officials². A member of the Defence and Security Committee confirmed to the assessor that the CDSPC has no oversight of such appointments⁴. Similarly, although parliament, via the CDSPC, can review military purchases for the previous year, there is no legislative oversight of individual defence purchases before they are made⁴.
Indeed, Article 8 in the Procurement Code enables the government to make defence purchases without having to comply with the standard procurement requirements⁵. This means that parliament can be easily circumvented when it comes to making off-budget purchases. This was the case with the acquisition of the presidential jet (see evidence in 10a) and military vehicles (see Q63).

In parliament, the military budget is first examined by the Defence and Security Committee. The CDSPC invites the directors of all the main divisions of the armed forces, the army chiefs of staff, the army joint chiefs of staff and the Minister of Defence for discussions on the mission, the annual objectives and the budgetary requirements of the armed and security forces¹⁰. The committee has the power to propose amendments to the budget or a reformulation of the military’s objectives. The draft budget is then presented to the National Assembly for debate and voting. These formal rights are respected in practice according to several interviewees⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷.
The National Assembly debated and voted on the LOPM, the government’s primary piece of defence legislation, which provides for USD2.3 billion of investment for the armed forces between 2015 and 2019⁵ ⁶ ⁷ ⁹. A member of the National Assembly’s Defence and Security Committee told the assessor that not only did the CDSPC scrutinise the LOPM, but that every year the government has to present a list of its purchases to enable the committee to check that they conform with the needs outlined in the LOPM⁷. But individual military acquisitions are not reviewed or approved by the National Assembly or the CDSPC prior to the actual purchase.
Indeed, the way in which parliament was entirely sidelined in the acquisition of the presidential jet (see evidence in 10a) and military vehicles (see Q63) highlights how the assembly’s formal oversight function can easily be bypassed. Similarly, the National Assembly did not get to vote on the landmark 2015 peace and reconciliation deal with armed groups in the north, which was designed to bring an end to insecurity in the region.
The main body within parliament for scrutinising defence police is the Defence and Security Committee. The committee can propose amendments to defence legislation (including budgets) before it is passed to parliament⁶ ⁷. A member of the committee told the assessor that its proposals are sometimes integrated into the final legislation⁷. In particular, the CDSPC earned praise from domestic media outlets for its work in formulating the new General Statute for the FAMa⁸. The new statute offers clear criteria for promotions within the armed forces.
MaliActu, a news website that is often critical of IBK’s government and has published several damning pieces on the CDSPC’s chair, Karim Keita (the president’s son), commended the CDSPC for making “pertinent recommendations” to the defence ministry. These included the construction of a modern military hospital, a review of the statutes concerning specific units within the armed forces and the creation of a unit of auxiliary gendarmes⁸.
However, a senior security governance professional told the assessor that the CDSPC is neither well-staffed, nor well-resourced, undermining its ability to provide any effective oversight of defence policy⁴.
Most importantly, the fact that the committee is chaired by the president’s son, who had neither military nor political experience prior to his election as a member of parliament in 2013, severely undermines the CDSPC’s credibility when it comes to holding the executive to account.
So, although both parliament and the dedicated committee use their formal powers to amend policy or make recommendations, their effectiveness is limited. The National Assembly is dominated by the president’s party and 12 of the 14 members of the CDSPC belong to parties within the current government⁷. Thus, there have been no instances during this parliament of the National Assembly voting against the executive’s defence legislation.

There is no evidence that the military undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. However, the fact that the CDSPC is chaired by the president’s son casts major doubt over the ability of the committee to properly scrutinise the government’s security plans.
The president’s son, who has no prior military or political experience, heads up the committee. Thus, there is limited scope for the CDSPC to challenge the executive. However, the committee can propose amendments to defence legislation (including budgets) before it is passed to parliament⁵. A member of the committee told the assessor that its proposals are sometimes integrated into the final legislation⁵.
The committee is influential and high-profile because of president’s son being the chair⁴. The source said the CDSPC can influence but is not able to challenge the government.
So, although the CDSPC is very unlikely to properly scrutinise government policy while the president’s son is chair of the committee, it is only this relationship, rather than pressure from both the executive and the military, that compromises parliament’s oversight capabilities.

The Mexican Congress has powers to issue laws on security matters; [1] organise the Civil Guard and other public security institutions in federal matters; [2] analyse and approve the annual National Guard activity report that the Executive presents; [3] and analyse and approve the National Strategy for Public Security. [4] Likewise, it has the power to approve the expense budget of the Federation, including that of defence and national security. [5]

Through the bicameral National Security Commission, the legislature controls and evaluates policies and actions related to National Security. [1] For its part, the Auditor General of the Federation, the supervisory body of the Chamber of Deputies, has the power to examine the expenditure of public resources of the agencies, which is thus applicable to the purchase of weapons. [2]

However, upon reviewing the content of the bills and proposals of the LXIV Legislative National Defence Commission since 2018, issues such as the budget or major arms acquisitions are not present. Specialists point out that Parliament does not take advantage of its formal powers to deal with more delicate issues. [3] [4]

The Executive branch has important powers over defence and security issues in Mexico, such as: preserving national security, organising the permanent Armed Forces (the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force) for internal security and external defence of the Federation; [1] and determining the guidelines to articulate the actions of the dependencies that make up the National Security Council. [2]

Journalistic notes and analysis documents highlight the interference of the Executive power in defence and security matters. An example of this is the militarization of the country and the countless human rights violations by the Mexican armed forces as part of the defence policy of the then Head of State, and therefore the apparent passivity of the legislative power despite its formal powers in these matters. [3] [4] [5] [6]

According to the law, the Parliamentary Committee for Security and Defence has formal powers to review laws and policies. [1] The Parliament adopts relevant laws, budgets, as well as the National Defence Strategy and National Security Strategy, which are proposed by the Government. [2]

The Parliamentary Committee has the obligation to review reports related to budget expenditures of defence and security institutions at least once per year, and also to review relevant audit reports as well as proposed budgets for those institutions. [3]

The law doesn’t clearly state the right of the Committee to review major arms procurements and defence decisions, but instead provides a general statement that the Committee has the power to discuss information and initiatives related to activities and documents relating to security and defence. [4]

The Parliament reviews defence policy, as prescribed by law, but attempts to influence these policies through formal mechanisms remain very limited (1). The Parliamentary Committee for Security and Defence fails to take advantage of strong oversight powers provided by the law (2).

The Parliament’s majority rarely uses oversight mechanisms to control the executive, including in defence related issues, due to the political affiliations of the ministers. [1] Following the opposition’s boycott of Parliament initiated after the 2016 elections, parliamentary committees provide mostly unanimous support to all draft legislation proposed by the executive. [2] Proposals of the government and military are always approved by the majority, no cases of coercion were publicly reported but many MPs and their family members were engaged by the executive for various lucrative assingments and/or provided favorable loans while they were performing functions in the executive (3).

Article 54 of the 2011 Constitution established the Moroccan High Security Council (Conseil Supérieur de Sécurité du Maroc) (1), however, little is known about the laws and regulations that would govern its authority and when it would start operating.
Article 54 of the Moroccan Constitution gives the Council a consultative power regarding security strategies, the management of security crisis and the responsibility to ensure the institution of good governance controls. In July 2014, Act 85-13 was adopted according to the provisions of Article 67 of the Constitution. It clarifies the role and processes of the accountability mechanism, the Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry.
A Commission of Inquiry may be appointed by the king or by one of the two houses of Parliament and can, in theory, investigate wrongdoings by officials and institutions including law enforcement agencies and security services.

Although parliament has no formal powers over defence policy, under Art.70 of the Moroccan Constitution, it has the authority to assess public policies to identify and measure the effectiveness of policies adopted by the State in a given sector, including security and defence sectors (1).

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable, becuse of the absence of parliamentary power over defence policy. None of the following statements apply:
The executive branch does not coerce or unduly influence parliament to vote in its favour, but the presence of military officials within parliament undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence.
Both the military and the executive regularly undermine parliament scrutiny of defence policy.

The 2008 Constitution drafted by the military junta does not confer powers on Parliament with regard to defence laws or policy. Section 20(b) of the Constitution clearly states that the Tatmadaw (the formal name of the Myanmar military) ‘has the right to independently administer and adjudicate all affairs of the armed forces’ [1,2]. The Tatmadaw has complete control of all military affairs, including defence policy, security operations and procurement procedures. By contrast, Parliament (and even the President) do not have formal powers over defence matters. Experts indicate that Myanmar has two governments. Indeed, there is a civilian government, which is elected in a general election, and there is the Tatmadaw, which is in charge of three security-related ministries, namely Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs. Moreover, the Tatmadaw occupies 25% of seats in the Union Parliament (166 seats out of 664) as well as a quarter of seats in all state and regional parliaments [3]. Due to such provisions in the Constitution, Parliament does not have formal powers over defence laws or policy.

The Constitution grants the Tatmadaw absolute authority over defence and security matters [1]; therefore, Parliament cannot reject or amend defence policy. The Tatmadaw will not allow lawmakers to do so anyway. Parliament does not debate or review laws on security, nor does it attempt to influence defence policy through formal mechanisms. However, Parliament does exercise budgetary power every year when the legislative branch decides the national budget for the next fiscal year. The military has to submit a budget proposal to Parliament and then lawmakers review the military budget and decide whether to approve it or not [2]. During this process, MPs criticise the Tatmadaw for requesting large military budgets.

According to the Constitution, the military has the right to independently administer and adjudicate all affairs of the armed forces (see Chapter 1, Article 20(b)) [1,2] and 25% of seats in Parliament are held by unelected military MPs (see Chapter 4, Articles 109(b) and 141(b)) [1,2]. Thus, independent legislative scrutiny is impossible. As for defence and security, there is only the highest committee, which is called the National Defence and Security Council. There are 11 members, 6 of whom are from the military (see Chapter 5, Article 201) [1,2]. Therefore, the elected government cannot decide on defence and security matters without the consent of the military.

According to the Dutch Constitution, the Government has ‘supreme authority’ over the armed forces (Article 92.2), Parliament has the power to approve or reject all bills, including those on defence and security, before they can become law (Article 87) and the House of Representatives is empowered to amend them (Article 84) [1]. In addition, Parliament actively reviews the defence budget and is known to study the most intricate details of the budget and initiate hundreds of amendments to it on an annual basis [2]. Every year on ‘Budget Day’, a government-wide draft budget for the following year is submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate, after which the House of Representatives can make proposals for changes (the Senate cannot). Before the new year, the House of Representatives and the Senate can vote on budget proposals and amendments [3]. Only once the final budget is approved can the government implement its plans, including those pertaining to defence. The draft budget is presented alongside a list of materiel projects, which details information on each weapon system, such as the investments made in the system, the timeline and references to corresponding parliamentary papers [4]. The House of Representatives can debate the contents of this list, ask written or oral questions and table motions.

In regard to procurement, though the government does not explicitly require parliamentary approval for all procurement matters, the Minister of Defence does, in practice, seek the support of the House of Representatives, particularly because the House does have decision-making authority over the defence budget as a whole [5]. Parliamentary oversight of defence procurement is mandated by the Defence Materiel Process (DMP), which regulates the decision-making process for defence materials, IT systems and infrastructure costing more than 25 million euros. The DMP is a five-stage process that consists of an analysis of requirements, research, follow-up study (if the materiel cannot be bought off the shelf), preparations for procurement and evaluation (for large, complex projects and those subject to regulations under the Large Project Scheme) [6,7]. The Minister of Defence writes a letter to Parliament detailing the outcomes of each stage and, while the House of Representatives does discuss this letter, the DMP constitutes an auditory process rather than an approval process. The progression of projects to the next stage of the DMP, and eventually to implementation, is subject to the approval of the Minster of Defence. Decisions to declare war require parliamentary approval (Article 96.1) [1]. The Netherlands also has a special institution of control through the Inspector General of the Armed Forces (IGK). The IGK is an independent body that concerns itself with all defence matters and acts in both an advisory manner, by advising the Minister of Defence in defence issues, and as a military ombudsperson by mediating disputes that arise for (former) defence personnel [8].

Parliament engages in legislation regarding security and defence. Existing laws pertaining to defence are amended in accordance with broader national laws [1] and major arms procurements and decisions are reviewed through the Defence Materiel Process (DMP) and the Large Project Scheme [2]. Even prior to the commencement of a project, ministries other than the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will weigh in and challenge the opinions of the MoD. For example, last year, the Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs opposed the MoD’s request to work with Dutch company Damen to build fleets of new submarines at the expense of other foreign competitors. The Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs called for more open competition to keep costs lower [3]. Three shipbuilders are currently shortlisted for procurement: Saab Damen, Naval Group and TKMS [4].

Budgetary power is executed on an annual basis through the national budget process, whereby the House and the Senate can make amendments to the national budget, including the allocation of funds to the Ministry of Defence [5]. This process is relatively active, to the degree that members of Parliament who criticise the shortfalls of the armed forces are subsequently blamed themselves for their role in instituting budget cuts. For example, in 2018, when the House of Representatives criticised the MoD for failing to sufficiently equip military personnel for an exercise in Norway that had been planned for years, the Minister of Defence held the House responsible for ‘almost 25 years of cuts in defence by everyone’ [6].

Controversial mistakes made by the Ministry of Defence in recent years, including equipment shortages, the continued use of carcinogenic paints, unhygienic food preparation and unsafe living conditions, have prompted calls from Parliament to institute stricter supervision over defence decisions [6]. However, with oversight conducted by the Ministry of Finance, the Court of Audit, the Military Healthcare Inspectorate and the newly established Defence Security Inspectorate, the Ministry of Defence is, in theory, sufficiently supervised. For example, a 2021 report by the Court of Audit criticises the MoD’s lack of implementation when it comes to austerity measures and targets and highlights a lack of transparency with regard to funding cutbacks [7]. The report eludes to the idea that, in practice, Parliament may suffer from a culture of complacency regarding defence decisions and a lack of active political will to demand information and adopt a critical attitude [8]. Parliament therefore has occasional lapses in actively scrutinising defence policy.

There are rules in force relating to the coercion and undue influence of members of Parliament, but they remain vague, and sanctions are enforced by the House of Representatives itself. Rules on coercion and undue influence are outlined in the Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives, which was introduced in November 2019 following international pressure [1]. However, these rules lacked enforcement and were based on goodwill rather than mandate [2]. For example, the gift registry, which requires gifts given to MPs in excess of 50 euros to be logged, reviewed and publicly reported, is not supervised for failure to disclose information and cannot enforce sanctions for violations [3]. As a consequence, there are sizeable variations between MPs when it comes to reporting; over a period of two years, some MPs logged over eighty gifts, while the corresponding number for many others was zero [3,4]. In earlier scandals, Dutch politicians rejected the notion of disclosing their gifts because they had received them as a private person rather than a politician.

In September 2020, following years of pressure from GRECO, the European anti-corruption office, the House of Representatives voted to introduce ‘the College of Investigation and Integrity’ [5]. Once this body is created and introduced, any individuals inside or outside Parliament can report MPs whom they suspect and the College can investigate possible violations of the Code of Conduct by MPs and propose sanctions if needed [1]. However, the College can only issue recommendations on penalties – corrective measures, reprimands and suspensions can only be decided upon by the House of Representatives itself. In addition, the College may have limited authority to access the evidence needed to prove an accusation as they are unable to seize evidentiary material against the will of the MP in question [1]. Details on the College still need to be discussed by the House and there has been resistance to the oversight, but it is expected that, following the introduction of the College of Investigation and Integrity, members of Parliament will have to adhere to tighter rules on coercion and undue influence.

While the current rules do allow room for undue influence and coercion by the military or the executive, the prevailing culture is that it is considered ‘not done’ to coerce or unduly influence a MP. Although there is insufficient evidence of cases where this has occurred, the flexibility of the current rules and the pattern of non-disclosure by numerous MPs suggest that coercion and undue influence may occasionally occur.

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. Under the Constitution Act 1986, power of government is distributed across three branches: the Legislature (The House of Representatives and Parliament), the Executive, and the Judiciary. The unicameral Parliament passes the laws of New Zealand on the advice of the Executive, while the Executive administers these laws subject to oversight by the Parliament. The Constitution Act 1986 provides Parliament with the power to make laws [1]. Bills become law when assented and signed by the Sovereign or Governor-General in token of such assent. Public Funds used for Defence and Security purposes must be scrutinised under specific Acts of Parliament, specifically the Public Finance Act 1989, which provides a framework for parliamentary scrutiny of government expenditure and management [2]. Failure to do so would be in breach of Constitution Act 1986, Part 3, Paragraph 22 [3].

Parliament debates all bills at the first reading, except for Appropriations and Imprest Supply bills. Appropriation Bills are considered by Select Committees even if not debated in House. Imprest Bills passed in one sitting indirectly come under the consideration of Appropriation Bills [4]. The urgent passing of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill to the Arms Act 1983 shows that laws can be passed with minimal scrutiny by select committees, which sets a precedent for future bills including defence and security related proposals [5]. For practical purposes, Legislative Instruments may come into force by Orders in Council of the Governor-General in agreement with the Executive Council [6, 7]. However these are debated by Parliament at a later date.

Lastly, although Members of Parliament can propose legislation or amendments to legislation on Government expenditure or taxation, the Crown can veto this if such an amendment has “more than a minor impact of the Crown’s fiscal aggregates” under Section 26J of the Public Finance Act 1989 [8, 9]. The Government must lodge a Financial Veto Certificate that states “with some particularity the nature of the impact on the fiscal aggregate or aggregates concerned and the reason why the Government does not concur in the bill, amendment, or motion” [10]. The Financial Veto is not often used given that the ruling party would usually have a house majority, or coalition majority, and could therefore defeat an amendment during one of the bill readings [11]. Hypothetically, if a Financial Veto was used by the Government and the ruling party did not have a house majority, and if the issue was serious enough, the Governor-General could intervene to ensure a motion of no confidence could be debated in Parliament, if that is what the majority of House members so wanted, which the Prime Minister would then lose, forcing a dissolving of Parliament and a subsequent general election. In such a scenario the Prime Minister would normally acquiesce to the demands of Parliament rather than risk losing a general election. Realistically, the Government would mediate with other parties to accommodate differences before the issue escalated to such a degree [12].

Parliament regularly scrutinises defence and security matters in the House. In practice, Parliament would seldom veto a defence decision by majority vote, since the Government normally has the confidence of the House. However, if the issue is contentious enough, then a vote by the Members would be made and the necessary amendments adopted. Some examples of recent scrutiny include: budget debates [1, 2]; amendment bills [3]; arms and capability procurement [4, 5]; and defence operational decisions [6, 7, 8].
Parliament’s ability to veto a defence decision is only relevant in terms of the legislative process. Policy that isn’t directly related to legislative change can only be scrutinised. [9].

There is no evidence that the Executive or the Military coerce or unduly influence Parliament to vote in their favour. In light of the numerous statutory annual reports and reviews that are required by the defence institutions, such a scenario would be easily identifiable.

Under the Constitution (1), the Nigerien National Assembly (NA) has formal rights to oversee government actions, including defence and security policy. The NA has several formal powers to review the State Budget. Under Articles 113 and 114 of the Constitution, the NA exercises a budget approval function. As per Article 98, the NA can request information on the activities or budgetary management of the Executive. Under Art. 115, the NA can ask the Court of Auditors to investigate issues of budgetary execution.
The Constitution allows for a National Defence Council (Art. 63 and 64 of the Constitution) and a National Security Council (Art. 63, 65 of the Constitution). These bodies are advisory units to the president, the supreme head of the armed forces. The Superior Council advises on the nomination of high-level military nominations and grade promotions of officers alongside all other questions within the military domain (Article 64). The National Defence Council advises on all questions relevant to national security and strategy as well as on foreign affairs (Article 65). As advisory units, their effectiveness is at the discretion of the president. No provisions for veto were found, but as per Article 67 of the Constitution, the NA is entitled to assess the duration of emergency powers and end a state of emergency, if judged abusive. As per Art. 105, the NA is the only body that can extend a state of emergency beyond the 15 days stipulated in the Constitution. Further, the NA is entitled to carry out a no-confidence vote with an absolute majority. Even though there is no explicit mention of NA oversight of major arms procurements and defence decisions, there is a Security and Defence Committee, set up at the beginning of each legislative cycle (2) which is specifically entitled to oversee defence and security policy (see question 2). The National Assembly has the right to employ formal mechanisms to conduct scrutiny over defence policy but lacks some of the powers listed in score 4.

The National Assembly (NA) debates issues of defence and national security and has made attempts to influence government policy through formal mechanisms. It authorises declarations of war and the dispatch of troops abroad (Art.104 of the Constitution) (1). The NA exercised this right on February 9, 2015, when it authorised the deployment of troops to Nigeria (2).
In cases of martial law, which is decided by the council of ministers, the NA must provide an opinion and the period of martial law cannot last longer than 15 days without parliamentary authorisation (Art. 67 of the Constitution). This function was used on February 10, 2015, when a state of emergency was proclaimed in the Diffa region. This state of emergency remains in place and is extended every three months. In March 2017, the state of emergency was also declared in some departments of the Tillabery (Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilaré, Abala, Banibaand) and Tahoua (Tassara and Tillia) regions (3).
However, the role of the NA seems to have changed with the most recent three-month extension, in June 2018. At that time, the state of emergency in the regions of Diffa and certain departments of Tillabery and Tahoua was ordered by the Council of Ministers rather than the NA. This decision, based on Art. 106 of the Constitution and Law No. 2018-41 (2018), allows the government to issue an Order (Ordonnance) after consulting with the Constitutional Court and receiving an authorisation from the NA to take measures that are normally related to the field of law (4). Based on this, the Council of Ministers issued the Order authorising the three-month extension of the state of emergency in the mentioned regions (5).

Following the most recent election in February 2016, the National Assembly elected 117 deputies to serve a five-year term. The PNDS-Tarayya presidential political party is represented by 75 seats (1), which makes it a parliamentary majority. As a result of the October 2017 reshuffle, and latest reconfigurations of April 2018, the government counts 43 members, with key strategic positions led by the PNDS militants or their allies. This includes Prime Minister Brigi Rafni, Defence Minister Kalla Moutari, Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum, Finance Minister Massaoudou Hassoumi, and Foreign Relations Minister Kalla Hankouraou (2, 3).
The current government does not contain a strong military component (4). However, throughout the history of Niger, the role of the military has been significant (4). Given the complexity of the political configuration, increasing instability in the Sahel region in correlation with the growing military expenditure (from 1.3% of GDP in 2011 to 2.7% in 2017) (5), it is clear that the executive branch exercises an influence on parliamentary votes. Furthermore, question 2 shows that lack of the technical expertise of the Defence and Security Committee undermines its capacity to control security and defence policy.

The National Assembly (NASS) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has oversight powers which are not clearly defined in law and are seldom exercised in practice. Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, gives each house of the National Assembly the power to investigate anything to which it has the powers to make laws, the conduct of affairs of any person or MDA (Ministries, Departments, and Agencies) charged with the responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly (1). This function is executed primarily through its committees – special, standing or ad-hoc committees established by Section 62 of the 1999 Constitution. Through these committees, there is a mechanism to provide parliamentary scrutiny of national defence policy and implementation of the policy (2). The committees can make recommendations concerning national defence policy, review budgets and increase budget allocations to the defence sector. However, the committees appear to have only a general oversight functions to review or reject requests for general arms procurement. Examples of specific technical inputs into arms procurement such as expressing a preference about one weapons system or another is not within the scope of the National Assembly (3).

The committees are governed by standing orders from both houses of the National Assembly. The houses are empowered by Section 60 and 101 of the Constitution (2).

The NASS can review a policy when it is consulted and pass or veto legislation (1). However, the consultation process is intermittent and it depends on the status of the relationship between the National Assembly and the executive. Even though the president and the majority of the NASS are from the same political party, tensions and conflicts often arise. In response to a self-assessment and capacity needs assessment exercise participants from the NASS scored the NASS very poorly, concerning oversight functions (2). Participants noted that the NASS seemed to have considerable problems evaluating the implementation of laws; it is often not consistent or systematic, and it has insufficient resources such as research capacity and competent staff to ensure effective performance. The constitution does not clearly define the NASS’s oversight function over defence policy. The NASS is in conflict with the executive over its power to scrutinise budget proposals.

Additionally, the unusual structure of legislative committees in Nigeria is worth mentioning. There are separate committees for the air force, navy, and army, as well as the House and Senate committees on defence (3). This creates unnecessary overlap and confuses the separation of responsibilities. Additionally, the reservation of many aspects of defence policy within the executive for national security reasons prevents effective oversight on the most important questions and issues. The invocation of ‘national security’ to prevent National Assembly oversight of and discussion about military acquisitions and operational questions is a common occurrence. This renders effective oversight impossible.

The defence policy is shrouded by secrecy and is not consistently submitted for legislative scrutiny (1). By continuously failing to submit defence policy for public scrutiny the executive undermines parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. The NASS’s oversight role has been compromised, and its resources are insufficient for it to act on time to hold the government to account. The executive undermines parliamentary scrutiny by not engaging in policy debate with the legislature (2).

The National Assembly of North Macedonia has complete legislative power in the country [1]. Its exact role in the defence realm is defined as follows: the Constitution defines the supreme legislative power of the Assembly, including its right “on the decisions on war and peace” (article 68) [1]. Following this, the National Assembly Law [2] reaffirms the representative character and supreme power of Parliament but leaves its prerogatives, including within the defence sector, to be defined by the Constitution, Rules and Procedures of the Assembly, and the Law [3]. The Law on Defence defines the role of the Parliament in the defence sector [4]. It has formal powers to:
– supervise the defence of North Macedonia,
– declare a state of emergency,
– decide on the extent of the funds necessary for the defence sector,
– approve the wartime budget of the Republic,
– approve the concept of national security and defence concept for the Republic,
− declare the Armed Forces Day and the Civil Protection day;
− pass resolutions regarding the defence system, plans for defence development, equipping and preparing the Armed Forces [5].
In sum, Macedonia’s legal provisions for legislative scrutiny of the defence sector are in place although their setting suffers from lack of straightforwardness. I.e drawing on the European continental law tradition’s distinction between substantive rules and procedural rules, the law on National assembly only stipulates the defence provisions of the Assembly while they are further and more clearly specified in the Law on Defence and Rules and Procedures of the Assembly. This, however does not jeopardise the formal setting in place nor the provisions for legislative scrutiny of defence policy.

The effectiveness of Parliаment in general, and in the realm of defence in particular, is limited. Formally, Parliament and the Committee on Defence and Security (CDS) have debated defence policies, the draft defence budget and its execution report as well as the country’s international involvement in NATO-led missions, such as the participation in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan [1]. Notably, the country has taken part in UN and EU led missions; but it’s unclear how, whether and to what extent the CDS played a part in these decisions. The effectiveness of Parliament therefore suffers from its lack of independence from other government executive bodies. Indeed, as the European Commission 2015 country report noted, Parliament debates the budget (both national and the defence budgets) but does not participate in preparing the budget, and members of Parliament do not have control over budget spending [2].

Many reports from the Central Security Office (CSO) have noted that the Parliament is formally independent, but in practice this autonomy is compromised [1]. The Government, in particular over the years between 2008 – 2016, persistently interfered in Assembly activities. As result of the country’s deep political crisis from 2012 to 2016, Parliament “failed to provide the necessary checks and balances on the executive’s power” [2]. Since the country’s change of Government in 2016, there have been attempts to re-establish the Assembly’s independence. The Government’s plan for reform, the so-called “3-6-9” agenda, pledged to restore a democratic approach and to “ensure that the oversight function of the Assembly and parliamentary bodies over Government work and its security and intelligence services, be regular, with the highest possible degree of transparency” [3]. However, within the defence sector, given such recent political changes, Parliament’s impact and that of its relevant committees remains limited. With regards to the Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Security, there have been renewed attempts for a complete, independent and effective re-establishment role of high official. That said, progress has still been hampered due to the recent political crisis [4].

Article 25 of the Norwegian Constitution establishes the King as Commander-in-Chief of “the land and naval forces of the Realm” but, as Norway is a constitutional monarchy, his role is mainly representative and ceremonial [1]. Military authority is exercised by the King in the Council of State, which means that the Norwegian Government has ultimate military responsibility in both wartime and peacetime. The Constitution specifies that political control over the military is shared between the Government and the Parliament (Storting). While the Government retains primary executive authority of the Armed Forces, Parliament has to be consulted on important matters. In practice, this means that Parliament has formal powers to approve and veto laws on security and to reject or amend defence policy [2]. The Constitution forbids an increase or reduction of the Armed Forces, or their transfer to the service of foreign powers without the consent of Parliament. It also stipulates that foreign forces cannot be brought into the country (with the exception of auxiliary forces assisting against a hostile attack) without Parliament’s approval. The constitutional ban on the entry of foreign forces without parliamentary approval essentially does not apply to forces from NATO countries. In addition, parliamentary approval for the dispatch of Norwegian forces (other than the Home Guard) to operations abroad is not required, although Parliament would have to approve the funding. It is also customary for the Government to seek support in Parliament before any major decisions or deployments take pleace. Article 75 of the Constitution requires Parliament to “appropriate the moneys necessary to meet government expenditure” [1]. Parliament’s right to review the state budget, including the defence budget, is specified in the Fiscal Budget Procedure [3]. Defence procurement contracts over 500 million NOK (approximately USD 44 million on 23 March 2020), known as Category 1 projects, require Parliament’s approval. Category 1 also includes projects of special importance for the structure of the Armed Forces. Material investment projects under 500 million NOK are subject to decisions by and the approval of the Ministry of Defence [4]. Although any member of Parliament has the right to initiate a law, it is mainly the Government that presents bills to Parliament. When this happens, Parliament will refer it to the relevant standing committee for detailed consideration. For bills dealing with defence and security issues, this would be the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. The Standing Committee will draft its recommendations and submit them to Parliament. These are then discussed in Parliament and voted on. The bill has two readings in Parliament before it becomes law, unless the two readings have different outcomes, in which case a third reading is required [2].

Parliament exercises budgetary power through allocating funds at the disposal of Government, both permitting money to be spent for specific purposes and ordering such expenditures. The budget process starts with the Government’s proposition (the “Yellow Book”) in the beginning of October and culminates with Parliament’s final budget resolution (the “Blue Book”) no later than 15 December [1]. The Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defence is responsible for reviewing and proposing amendments to the defence budget. In practice, the Norwegian Parliament usually accepts the Government’s proposals with only minor changes. The Government’s proposal and Parliament’s final budget resolution normally differ financially by less than one per cent. The signals given by the Parliament through its comments and priorities bear political significance, since they may influence subsequent budgets. The Norwegian Parliament also regularly reviews and approves major arms procurements. In addition to reviewing and scrutinising long-term arms procurements, for example the acquisition of 52 F-35 fighters, Parliament reviews regular investments in the defence sector on a yearly basis [2]. The Government is obliged to obtain Parliament’s approval of changes to defence policy and new security laws. Since 2015 Parliament has approved, among others, the new Security Act, the new Conscription Act and the new Act on Investigation of Accidents in the Defence Sector [3, 4, 5]. Every 4-5 years Parliament debates a new long-term plan for the Norwegian Armed Forces presented by the Ministry of Defence [6]. In spring 2020 Parliament used its power to direct defence policy by not passing the Government’s proposal for the long-term plan. Instead, Parliament directed the Government to come back with a more detailed list of decisions which Parliament can then agree to or amend [7].

There is no evidence that the Parliament is unduly influenced by the executive or the military [1].

Oman is a bicameral system overseen by the sultan who holds executive powers as the head of government and state, according to Article 41 of Oman’s Basic Law he is “inviolable” and must be respected and his orders obeyed (1). The parliament has no formal powers to approve or veto laws on security or defence policy. The council/parliament (made up of the Majlis al-Shura and the al-Dawla) of Oman acts as “an advisory body” meeting four times a year, it is responsible to the sultan and the Council of Ministers (2). The Majlis al-Shura is the consultative assembly of the lower house of the Council of Oman consisting of 84 elected members, who are elected every three years. The consultative assembly, the Majlis al-Dawla is the upper house of the Council of Oman, consisting of 83 members appointed by the sultan for four-year terms. Government drafted legislation can be referred within the two councils, which are tasked with the mission to contribute to national decision making and presented on the government’s website as independent (3), the al-Shura despite reforms lacks legislative powers (2). Its powers are curtailed to scrutinising ministers (4), reviewing government drafted legislation and selecting its leadership (5). The al-Shura Council does not have the power to draft laws or overturn decisions made by the government or the sultan. In Article 29 of Royal Decree 86/97, the responsibilities of the al-Shura Council are set out as participatory and suggestive to the sultan; the Council of Ministers and can be disregarded, they lack formal powers (6). Their mandate according to royal decree is limited to scrutiny on social, economic, and environmental policy. Since 2011, the al-Shura Council has been reviewing laws drafted by the Council of Ministers with the power to approve or amend them; they are then referred to the consultative assembly the Majlis al-Dawla. There is no oversight on defence or security issues by the al-Shura or al-Dawla. The mandate of the advisory legislative bodies does not include reviews of major arms procurements or defence decisions. The previous explanations have been confirmed by several sources in Oman. The Majlis has no oversight over defence or security in Oman (7), (8).

As established above the al-Shura Council, the elected house is limited to the scrutiny of ministers. In articles presenting debates held at the al-Shura the topics of finance, agriculture and education are mentioned for 22nd annual sitting (1) and tax, education, migration and health in the most recent, 24th, annual sitting (2). No reference is made to discussions regarding defence or security in the al-Shura Council neither on the website or across media outlets. On the al-Shura website, there is a reference to defence, presenting a news story of a visit from students of the National Defence School (part of the Ministry of Defence) to al-Shura Council in January 2018, where participants learnt about the role al-Shura plays in strengthening national security (3). No details are given about how al-Shura is involved in national security in the news item. Moreover, a report from Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2018 argues, “the large size of the state bureaucracy and its lack of technical skills limit the effectiveness of Oman’s administrative system” hinting at the limited capacities of the parliamentary bodies (4). Moreover, the report states the “Majlis al-Shura cannot address important issues such as national security, oil, foreign relations, or the structure of the political system” (4). According to our source, the al-Shura council as an advisory body has not debated reviewing any of the defence or security policies or budgets. The army and security files are beyond the authority of the council (5), (6).

Article 8 of Royal Decree 86/97 states, “ministries, Government departments, public authorities and institutions shall cooperate with the State Council and Majlis al-Shura to make their tasks easier and to furnish them with any necessary data or information related to the fields of their competences” (1). However, the fields of competences for al-Shura Council do not include defence and are limited to social, economic, and environmental policy. Therefore, although legislation recognises the link between transparency of authorities to parliament bodies, this does not extend to defence and military. It is not possible within this context to assess the independence of legislature scrutiny, as the legislature is not expected to scrutinise defence policy and no evidence reflects coercion or undermining legislature scrutiny, as this scrutiny is non-existent in the first place. According to our sources, the sultan as the executive and the head of the army undermines the independence and the work of the council to conduct oversight on defence and security policies and any other related issues (2), (3).

Palestinian law gives the Parliament the power to approve or reject laws, including security laws. The Parliament can also reject or amend the defence policy. It has the right to review and approve budgets, major security procurements and defence decisions (1), (2).

The Parliament is not active, and therefore legislative scrutiny does not occur. Parliament has been inactive since 2007 and was dissolved in 2018 (1). The executive has replaced the legislative power in the West Bank. There is one member in the Executive Committee of PLO who is responsible for military affairs, but he has no active power over the Palestinian forces. Since 2007, the Palestinian Parliament ceased holding its meetings due to Hamas’s de-facto take over of the Gaza Strip. This executive committee effectively has no power on security or defence policy (2).

The Palestinian Parliament was dissolved in 2018 and had been inactive since 2007 (1), as such no scrutiny takes place. As there is no active parliament in Palestine, the executive branch and the national security sector enjoy the absence of the legislative scrutiny over the national forces and security apparatuses (2).

There are national defence and security committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives which have oversight functions covered by the Philippine Constitution, including the right to review budgets, arms acquisitions and defence decisions [1]. Congress has formal powers to approve security laws and reject or amend defence policy; a bill may be vetoed by the President but Congress may overturn a presidential veto by garnering a two-thirds vote [2].

The Legislature is mandated to review defence policy, including through formal processes such as the Defence Secretary’s attendance of hearings on budget proposals [1]. However there is no regularity to this process and, in practice, oversight functions are circumscribed [2, 3]. Attempts to influence policy are often limited by the strong powers of the executive, whose position on defence is often supported by the majority of legislators. Concerns have been raised and proposals floated (note for example the revival of the idea of a Senate oversight committee to look into the disbursement of confidential intelligence funds), but these proposals have invariably been delayed [3, 4].

The Philippine Legislature continues to occasionally raise defence-related concerns, including concerns over funding sources, items in the defence budget, or specific actions such as President Duterte’s request to cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement [1]. At the same time, since 2016 Duterte has had significant control of the legislature which was strengthened by the 2019 midterm elections, thereby limiting the notion of independent legislative scrutiny [2, 3].

The Constitution of the Republic of Poland states in Article 26, paragraph 2, that “the Armed Forces shall observe neutrality regarding political matters and shall be subject to civilian and democratic control” [1].
Civil authority over the armed forces is exercised by the President of the Republic of Poland and Minister of the National Defence. The president, according to the Article 134 paragraph 1 of the Constitution “shall be the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland” and according to paragraph 2 “in times of peace, shall exercise command over the Armed Forces through the Minister of National Defence.” The president also appoints the Chief of the General Staff and commanders of branches of the Armed Forces. In times of war, the president “shall appoint the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on request of the Prime Minister.”
Parliament has formal power (in law) to approve or veto laws on security, as it is the exclusive organ of public authority with legislative power on the central level (Article 95 paragraph 1 of the Constitution).
Defence policy is part of the National Security Policy of the Republic of Poland which has been adopted by the president on request of the prime minister [2, 4]. The parliament has no formal power to adopt it or amend it. The Act on the Universal Obligation to Defend the Republic of Poland states that the National Security Strategy is prepared by the Cabinet and approved by the President.
Sejm has the exclusive power to adopt the state budget (Article 219, paragraph 1 of the Constitution), which includes the share designated for national defence (as for the others parts of the state administration). The lower and upper house of parliament’s defence committees review draft defence budgets and their implementation as part of the parliament control authorities [3]. Similarly, the committees are entitled to review the procurements and defence decisions. Article 95, paragraph 2 of the Constitution entitles the lower house of the parliament to “exercise control over the activities of the Council of Ministers within the scope specified by the provisions of the Constitution and statutes”. One of them is the Statue of the Sejm; Article 17 paragraph 2 states that the committees are “Sejm’s control authorities within the scope specified by the provisions of the Constitution and statutes”.

The Polish Sejm does not have an official prerogative to accept or reject the official security policy. The Act on the Universal Obligation to Defend the Republic of Poland [1] states that the National Security Strategy is prepared by the cabinet and approved by the president. In 2014, when the current National Security Policy was adopted, individual MPs were consulted unofficially, but the National Defence Committee only reviewed the strategy in early 2015, after it had been officially accepted and released [2]. Draft of the 2020 strategy was not consulted with the defence committee, too [3].
However, the legislature exercises powers through the scrutiny of and amendments to legislative projects submitted by the executive branch (for example, by receiving direct information from the MoND in the reports presented to the parliament. Furthermore, the National Defence Committee exercises its scrutiny through the intermediary of the Supreme Audit Office, initiating supervisory reports [4].
Parliament also has input on arms procurement. While the choice of specific items and suppliers lies with the MOD, the parliament shapes and approves the overall direction of the modernisation of the armed forces. An example is the Amendment of the Act on the Modernisation and Financing of the Polish Armed Forces and Public Procurement Law adopted by the parliament in September 2017 [5].

There is no evidence of undue influence by the executive outside of normal political procedures stemming from the parliamentary system of government. It should be added that since the first appointment of the Intelligence Oversight Committee in 1995, an unwritten rule was that an opposition MP was the chairman of the committee [1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. However, after the last parliamentary election in 2015, the ruling party decided to elect its deputy as chairman [7]. This can be interpreted as a limitation of the independence of parliamentary control over intelligence services.
Although, there is no evidence of military influence on the parliament, legislative influence through political party discipline measures limits of the independence of scrutiny. Formally “deputies shall be representatives of the Nation. They shall not be bound by any instructions of the electorate” (Article 104 paragraph 1 of the Constitution). However, statutes of political parties and parliamentary factions usually oblige MPs to vote with the decisions of the parties’ and factions’ boards. If they do not, the faction’s member may be punished, i.e. by a fine or excluded from the faction [7].

The Portuguese Parliament holds exclusive legislative powers on defence policy, as defined in Article 164, d) of the Constitution [1] and further specified in the Law on National Defence [2]. The Parliament is also entrusted with extensive scrutinizing capacity: the Constitution details oversight and monitoring capacities entrusted to the legislature [3]. These capacities are detailed in the Parliamentary Statute [4] and include the right to review the defence section of the annual state budget, but there is no stated authority to review arms procurement or wider defence-related decisions. The competent parliamentary body charged with government oversight is the National Defence Commission [5], and all budgetary items are evaluated by the Budget and Treasury Commission [5]. The High Council of National Defence (HCND), a consultative body on general defence matters, is also required to designate the National Defence Committee’s president as a member as well as two Members of Parliament [6].

There is evidence of parliamentary activity in the defence policy domain, both as a function of legislative output [1] and oversight of government [2, 3]. The National Defence Committee (NDC), which convenes regularly [4], provides annual statements on the defence budget component of the state budget [5], and there is evidence of experts and other individuals being regularly called upon to testify before the NDC [6]. However, there is also evidence that the Parliament relies on government disclosure to a large extent: the two legally binding military procurement [7] and infrastructure planning [8] acts both state that the Ministry of Defence is mandated to send a yearly implementation report on both topics to Parliament; both acts also emphasize government action over parliamentary scrutiny.

There is no evidence that the Parliament is pressured by the executive or the military on any count. The minister of defence is held accountable by the NDC [1]. Furthermore, the organisation of parliamentary activity, based on proportional representation in plenary, which is then reflected on the National Defence Committee, this suggests their independence [2].

In Qatar, the Advisory Council (Shura Council), established in 1972, is considered by the Qatari to be the legislative authority in the country. The Council consists of 45 members; 30 elected and 15 appointed by the Emir. The formal rights of the council, according to the Government’s Communications Office, include (1) discussing proposed laws and decrees referred by the council of ministers [but not to draft or to propose], (2) economic, administrative and political state policies, (3) all state affairs related to social and cultural issues, (4) debating general budgets for public projects, (5) the Council’s own budget and financial accounts, (6) following up on issues raised in the cabinet, (7) addressing questions to ministers, (8) requesting additional detail on matters concerning government and ministerial policy, and (9) proposing and putting forward recommendations on Council issues (1). This means that the Council’s responsibilities do not explicitly include scrutiny over defence policy, therefore it has no formal rights in defence policy. According to the constitution, the Government (or the executives), in theory, cannot pass any laws without the Council. However, the Emir has the final say on all political and policy matters (2). The Emir also has absolute power to dissolve the council, and is the chief commander of the armed forces, according to Article 65 of the constitution (4), which ensures that he has comprehensive power over defensive policy.  Furthermore, a role exists within the Government for a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, which has been held by Mohamed Al-Attiyah since January 2016.  However, Al-Attiya’s role in relation to defence appears to be nominal, as the Ministry of State for Defence Affairs does not even have an official website. The Advisory Council, which is the equivalent of the legislative council in Qatar, has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. According to our sources, the Shura Council has a superficial role and no scrutiny over any policy (5,6).

There is no evidence of the Council, which represents the legislative authority, debating or reviewing defence policy. The Advisory Council, however, has explicit power to debate matters related to other government issues, as explained in the previous sub-indicator. [1,2,3] These powers do not, however, extend to the military or defence. [4] According to our sources, the Council have never discussed any issues related to defence since its establishment in 2013. [5,6]

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable because the Advisory Council has no legislative power over the military and the defence sector and thus cannot act independently in matters related to defence.

The Emir has absolute power over the Executive Council, which by law can undermine any decision of the council and all other bodies. Article 62 of the Constitution states that ‘the Executive Authority shall be vested in the Emir and he shall be assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified in this Constitution’. [1] This sub-indicator has been marked as zero because the Advisory Council does not have any power to either influence defence laws and policy, or debate defence policy. Furthermore, the Head of State undermines the effectiveness of the Council, as he has the ability to overrule any decisions made. [2,3]

The federal law ‘On Defence’ grants both houses of the Russian parliament some power to overview, amend or veto the defence budgets, laws, and decisions [1]. The upper house – the Federation Council – makes decisions regarding the use of Russian military forces outside of Russian territories. It also approves presidential decisions on the state of martial law and the use of the military forces for purposes other than intended. Both houses overview, and can therefore approve or veto, the defence budgets and defence laws proposed by the executive branch.

Procurement issues, in accordance with Article 6 of the same law [1], are decided upon by the government.

According to the 2018 progress report, the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Committee on Defence and Security drafted, reviewed, and voted on 72 federal laws. However, there is no information about any votes against or amendments to the bills [1]. The bills regarding defence issues in the Federation Council were voted through unanimously with an absolute majority [2]. According to the State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee on Defence progress report for the 2018 spring session, it drafted or reviewed 54 bills, with 9 of them being vetoed or remitted for further amendments [3]. In 2018, Duma voted all 13 bills through with 0 votes against [4]. In contrast, in 2017, Duma voted on 38 bills with 5 being voted down. The activity of the State Duma in 2018 (13 bills) is comparable to its activity over 3 months (Oct-Dec) in 2016 (also 13 bills) [4].

Thoughout 2016-2019, the State Duma voted on 73 bills related to defence issues. Only 6 bills were voted down. The rest were passed with the highest number of abstentions or votes against being just 1 bill [5]. Thus, this reasearch concludes that the Russian parliament makes very limited attempts to amend the bills regarding defence. Draft laws can only be amended at the drafting stage by the defence committees of the two houses. As soon as they appear in the voting agenda, firstly of the State Duma and later of the Federation Council, they will most probably be voted through.

In 2015, the Federation Council approved the president’s order to send troops outside of Russia [1]. In 2019, the State Duma and the Federation Council unanimously – and ‘on a priority basis’ – supported the president’s bill to stop complying with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty [2,3]. According to Interviewee 1, parliament practically gave up its power to control or review the executive branch, especially the Ministry of Defence [4]. There is therefore only one monitoring body to oversee the defence setor – the president. All control systems have been replaced by a half-yearly, multi-day meeting between the president and the heads of defence structures [5].

As there is no legislative body or a parliament in the KSA, there is no authorized council that has formal rights or power over defence policies, including the budget (1). The most comparable equivalent, the Majlis al-Shura (or Consultative Council), is a 150-member formal advisory body which is appointed by the King. The body’s powers are limited, and include discussing plans for the country’s economic and social development, studying laws, regulations and international treaties; making policy suggestions; and proposing draft laws (2).

The Majlis al-Shura has no legislative or executive power and is limited to a consulting role (3). Control over defence policy is concentrated in the hands of the country’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, who became Minister of Defence in January 2015 and Crown Prince in June 2017 (4), (5). He effectively has the power to craft security policies and make all budgetary and arms procurement decisions (6), (7).

Our sources confirm that the Shura Council does not review any defence policies, budgets, operations, reports or legislation (1). Reviewing defence policy is not within the stated mandate of the Majlis al-Shura nor its Committee on Security Affairs (2). The body has a primarily consultative role and does not exercise either formal or informal influence over policy.

The executive (King and Crown Prince) have executive and legislative powers, and authorities concentrated in their hands (1). Therefore, they undermine the semi-legislative/consultative council and its development (1), (2). The Majlis does not have authority to scrutinize or debate defence policy, which is solely the domain of the central government and more specifically the Crown Prince and minister of defence along with the relevant bodies that he heads (e.g. the Council on Political and Security Affairs).

Parliamentary scrutiny over defence policy is envisaged through a set of legal documents, starting with the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia that places democratic civilian control over the Serbian Armed Forces and the power of the National Assembly to oversee the work of security services. According to the Law on Defence [1], the National Assembly passes the laws and bylaws in the field of defence and exercises democratic civilian control over the Serbian Armed Forces. Government is required to report to the legislature at least once a year about the state of affairs in the defence sector. Moreover, the National Assembly has the power to adopt key strategic documents, namely, the National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy. Most of the oversight powers, envisaged by the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly, belong to the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee (DIAC) and Security Services Control Committee (SSCC) [2].
At the end of 2017, a set of core laws in the field of defence and security entered the amending procedure and was adopted in May 2018 [3]. A trend of downscaling the level of democratic civilian control and strengthening the discretionary powers of the executive is noticeable in all the draft laws. For instance, a recently amended law that regulates participation in multinational operations [4], decreases the oversight role of the National Assembly by transferring the power to create the annual plan to the executive. This solution is justified with an argument for greater flexibility, but it nevertheless limits the role of the parliament in planning the involvement of defence forces in peacekeeping operations.

The National Assembly (NA) does exercise formal powers in the domain of defence and security sector oversight. Laws dealing with security and defence, as well as the budget laws, are discussed and approved. The competent committees assemble to deliberate and adopt draft laws, MoD’s three-monthly reports and other policies in the field. However, the effectiveness and influence of the legislative branch in shaping the defence policy is negligible when observed in the general context of state capture in Serbia, and the ruling party and executive supremacy in the decision-making processes [1]. For instance, the most recent legislative changes in six defence laws have passed the DIAC session, without adopting almost any of the amendments (around 1400 amendments were made by MPs) [2]. Moreover, obstructions of the NA’s work have been increasingly frequent during the current convocation. The ruling party uses a mechanism that does not breach National Assembly Rules of Procedure but misuses it. Namely, MPs propose a huge number of nearly identical amendments to draft laws, with the sole aim of absorbing the time provided for deliberation [3].

Although there is no clear evidence of direct influence over MPs, obstruction of the NA’s work by the ruling majority indicates the high impact of the executive and the party itself on the legislative processes. Laws are being passed through expedited procedures (44% in 2017), while constructive discussions remain trapped via obvious misuses of parliamentary procedures [1]. For instance, two DIAC sessions devoted to the deliberation and adoption of a series of draft laws crucial for the defence system lasted less than an hour, and almost all the amendments have been rejected. [2] In a similar manner the SSCC has rejected all the amendments concerning the draft changes of the Law on the Supreme Audit Institution. [3] Relevant committees and the entire parliament tick the boxes and simulate defence and security sector oversight. There is no influence from the military’s side on Parliament or on individual MPs.

Like other aspects of Singapore’s public policy, the defence policy is open for debate in Parliament. MPs can file questions on defence policy and move motions for debate and propose budget cuts [1]. It has the right to veto policies. Parliament also has a duty to scrutinise the State’s finances, including the individual Budgets for each Ministry, which are debated rigorously each year, before Members of Parliament give their approval. Parliament has the power not to approve the Defence Budget for a financial year. Each Ministry is required to set out its Estimates of Expenditure in detail, to show how it proposes to use the public monies allocated to it in the Financial Year, which will include major arms procurements on MINDEF’s part [2].

Parliamentary debates take place annually, with the Committee of Supply (COS) sessions especially relevant for defence procurement, policies, and related incidents [1]. It provides an open and transparent platform (televised and recorded, with Hansard easily accessible by the public) that enables diverse views to be heard [2]. However, there are very limited avenues for opposing viewpoints to influence policy given the minority of opposition seats in Parliament [3].

Parliament can approve laws and reserves the right to amend or reject the defence budget. However, this is highly improbable in Singapore’s context, given that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) dominates Parliament, with 101 available seats distributed as such: PAP (82) Workers Party (9) Neutral Nominated Members (9), Vacant (1) [1]. Operational matters have typically been excluded from debate on the basis on security, but recent high-profile incidents such as military training deaths have forced the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) to provide unprecedented detail of field procedures and even equipment technical features [2, 3]. No standing military officials or public officers are MPs, and there is no evidence to indicate that there is any coercion or undue influence from the military’s side.

While Parliament’s two defence committees are required to approve and vote on the Department of Defence’s annual budget, in practice scrutiny of items within it are limited and there is no substantial oversight of acquisitions. These also do not require advance parliamentary authorisation [1]. The National Assembly can vote on defence legislation. The passing of the Defence Review into legislation is a prime example of this. The Parliament/National Assembly is, legally-speaking, separate from the executive and independent from the defence portfolio committees [2].

The Parliament has a constitutional mandate to inform and debate defence policy, particularly with regards to the deployment of the military [3].

Parliament’s two defence committees do on occasion review and attempt to influence defence policy, but those instances are rare and limited in scope [1]. Parliament, while it is empowered to vote on and overrule executive decisions on defence policy, this is not the case in reality. As the ruling party holds a commanding majority in the National Assembly, there has been no instance or example where defence policy has been rejected outright by MPs. Opposition MPs are free to critique and suggest revisions on policy.

There is no overt pressure from the executive or military to vote in specific ways. However, as Parliament and its constituent committees are dominated by members of the ruling party, in practice such pressure is exerted through internal party mechanisms in ways that prevent effective oversight [1].

The National Assembly has the power to review and pass bills proposed by the executive. However, it does not have the power to veto or the authority to review government policy directly, including defence policy and major arms procurements. The Constitution of the Republic of Korea grants the National Assembly the right to legislate and allows the executive branch and other agencies to have law-making powers. All the bills formulated by the executive should be promptly submitted to the National Assembly, and parliamentary examination and approval are required to enact an Act. [1] [2] The National Defence Committee at the National Assembly examines and reviews bills on defence and security issues. [2] [3] The Constitution gives the National Assembly the power to amend the government budget. The National Defence Committee and the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts at the National Assembly review the Ministry of Defence’s budgetary requests and amend the budget. [1] [3]
In addition, pursuant to Defense Acquisition Program Act (Articles 5 and 13) and National Assembly Act (Article 127-128) the National Assembly has the authority to demand and review MND’s mid-term defence plans that contain plans for Force Improvement Programs (FIPs) and Force Operations as well as its assessment on FIPs, however does not approve it. [4][5]

The National Assembly does not approve defence policy and review major arms procurement on a regular basis. However, the National Defence Committee and the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts review and amend the defence budget on an annual basis. [1] [2] Although the legislature does not have the formal right to review the process of defence policy, it affects the policy-making process indirectly. The National Assembly influences developing defence policy through the committee’s activities, including holding committee and sub-committee meetings or hearings for defence and security issues. One of the recent examples of the National Assembly actively affecting the defence policy-making process was regarding military service policy, which includes alternative forms of national services and the military exemption for those in the art and sports industry. [3] As military service is compulsory for all South Korean men, significant public attention has focused on whether this policy constitutes an unfair privilege. The sub-committee within the National Defence Committee was established in October 2018 to improve the current policy allowing the military service exemption for a certain group of individuals. For 5 months, the sub-committee held hearings with officials and experts in the defence sector and investigated unfair treatment for those who benefited from alternative military service. [3] [4] As a result, the Ministry of National Defence launched a task force team on whether to abolish the military service exemption and agreed to submit its outcome to the National Defence Committee at the National Assembly. [3] [5]

South Korea has a democratic form of government based on the Constitution, which includes the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. As the independence of the National Assembly is prescribed by the Constitution, the executive or military cannot control or unduly influence parliament. [1] However, in practice, ruling party members are likely to be influenced by the executive. Defence policy reflects the ideas of the President, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and legislators from the ruling party often cooperate to pass bills sent by the executive. [2]

In broad terms, the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, Article 57 (Powers & Function of the National Legislative Assembly) and Article 72 [1] grant the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and specialised legislative committees, respectively, powers to approve and reject policies. [1] In theory, legislators can summon and question any minister, including those ministers tasked with handling defence and security portfolios, as for example, in 2016, when the ministers of defence, interior and national security were summoned to answer questions on a deteriorating security situation in the country. [2] Missing in the articles cited above, is robust language that explicitly spell out the powers of the NLA to approve or veto defence policy. The prevailing evidence suggests that arms procurement is the exclusive preserve of the executive branch of government, namely the President, the Minister of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Director General of the Internal Security Bureau, the Minister of Petroleum and to a “lesser” extent the ministers of finance and national security. [3]

With regard to reviewing budgets, Article 24 (Parts 5 & 6) of the Public Financial and Accountability Act 2011 states that specific legislative committees on economy, development and finance and the Committee on Defence and Security can review “classified” expenditure. [4] Further, in part 6, the article states that the Auditor General can share audits of classified expenditures (under which most defence spending is likely to feature) with the speaker of the NLA and the head of the Specialised Committee on Economy, Development and Finance. In addition, Article 7 of the Audit Chamber Act of 2011 stipulates that all government accounts are subject to an audit. [4] The Constitution further stipulates that the Auditor General has to present to the NLA a yearly audit report of government accounts. These articles suggest that the NLA has powers to review budgets and to inspect how the government has spent public money.

Parliamentary debate on defence matters or review of defence policy is limited and mostly reactionary in response to evolving crisis scenarios such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) attack on the disputed oil-rich Heglig area in the spring of 2012, claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. [1] Processes that are initiated by parliament to engage the government on a strategic outlook are scant. [2] There is little evidence to show that the NLA has ever engaged in determining defence policy. It is noteworthy to mention that South Sudan currently has no Defence Act. The closest official document to a Defence Act is the SPLA White Paper on Defence 2008, which predates independence in 2011. Chapter Three, Section 14 [3] of the SPLA Act 2009, authorises the Commander-in-chief (who happens to be the President) to consult the NLA in circumstances of national emergency, but there is little evidence to suggest that this stipulation is followed. [1] The SPLA Act 2009 is inadequate for addressing complex big-ticket items like defence procurement and it lacks oversight mechanisms for critical issues such as the purchase of military equipment. Additionally, as a manual to guide the conduct of troops, the Act is not equipped to design defence policy. When Ugandan troops entered South Sudan in 2014, media reports seem to indicate that the decision to allow their entry was solely the executive’s and not the NLA’s. [2]

The legislature’s ability to function as an entirely independent body is compromised in a number of ways. First, more than half of the legislature is “appointed” by the President. These legislators owe their positions to the benevolence of the President and are unlikely to exhibit an entirely independent attitude in their functions. In 2013, the government recruited a militia force, known as the Mathiang Anyoor (Black Caterpillar) from the President’s stronghold in Northern Bahr El Ghazel. The recruitment of this force (later implicated in massacres during the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013) contravened stipulations in the Constitution that forbid the recruitment of militia forces without legislative approval. Also problematic was the fact that the recruitment was conducted outside budgetary regulations, which compelled the legislature to recuse itself from approving funding for the force. [1] Nevertheless, the government proceeded to organise the force. Additionally, it covertly recruited other ethnic militia forces, such as the Padang Dinka/Ruweng Dinka militia and the Maban Defence Force to help in counter-insurgency efforts at the height of the civil war in 2012-2015. [2] These examples show the undermining of parliament’s role of scrutiny on defence issues.

Parliament has the power to veto or approve laws on defence. Parliament approves, in theory, the laws related to defence, the corresponding credits, and it exercises control over the government’s action in defence matters. It grants prior authorisation for international military treaties or conventions and debates general lines of defence policy, as well as recruitment and modernisation plans, and authorises, in advance, the participation of the armed forces outside national territory.

The Organic Law of National Defence LODN 2005 [1] attributes to Parliament, in Article 4, the ability to pass defence-related laws and defence budgets; to debate general lines of defence policy (notably recruitment and modernisation); control the action of the government in defence. It determines, among other missions, that the prime minister assumes the direction of defence policy and the determination of its objectives and is specifically responsible for the formulation of the National Defence Directive.

The Spanish Constitution [2] also gives power to the Parliament regarding treaties or agreements of a military nature (Art. 94.1.b) and authorisation to declare war and make peace (Art. 63.3).

Parliament does not have a relevant role on the approval of defence laws and policies because, despite having the possibility to debate them, there is no parliamentary option to amend them, the same is true for the defence budget and major arms procurements. Despite the existence of a diverse parliamentary range that may have exceeded the policy of blocs of the previous bipartisanship, the field of defence has led to votes between the two large parties that continue to impede the demands of minority groups. As a result, excessive partisanship has lead to ineffective use of the formal powers of parliament. One interviewee [1], adds the example of a military association that has asked about the events that occurred in the Valencia NBC Unit1 in which a soldier had committed suicide, and where there have been 25 psychological casualties. The result was that the ministry would prepare a report of those casualties but refused to investigate the causes of those deaths [2].

There is influence by the military establishment in the formation of the national defence policy, since in the National Defence Council, high-level military commanders participate (the chief of defence staff and the Chiefs of Staff of the Spanish Army, of the Navy and Air Force) and assist the prime minister in the formulation of the National Defence Directive [1, 2].

Defence policies have brief parliamentary development since they are considered state policies. The government and opposition agree on them before entering the parliamentary debate, making it a sterile debate. Defence policies, such as the National Defence Directive [3], come to Parliament already made, they are not debated, and they are sent to Parliament for informational purposes. Although explanations can be requested from the minister, there may be questions of interpellation [4].

Parliament can influence defence policies through non-binding proposals. When a draft law is carried out, if the government is not interested, it delays the process of implementing it until it falls at the end of the legislature. For example, in 1991, a policy was approved to review the law on the military ranks, it was finally implemented in 2017. In the previous legislature (2016-2018) the military defence observatory was approved by a majority in the Senate, but it has not been implemented yet [4].

On military justice, the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) and the People’s Party (PP) block debates or make them sterile, refusing to debate it, such as the demilitarisation of the Civil Guard [4].

This indicator is marked Not Applicable, given the fact that Sudan does not currently have a legislative body. Former President Omar Bashir dissolved Parliament, which formerly had oversight of defence policy by law (pursuant to Article 91 of the Interim National Constitution, 2005 [1]) but not in practice, when he declared a state of national emergency in February 2019 [2]. Since then, no transitional legislature has yet been appointed in Sudan. The 2019 transitional Constitution requires a legislature to be appointed upon the conclusion of peace agreements with armed elements in Darfur, the state of Southern Kordofan and the state of Blue Nile [3]. However, the Juba Agreement of October 2020 led to a resetting of the transitional timeline set forth in the 2019 transitional Constitution [4], with an unclear impact on the timeline for establishing a legislative body. Therefore, no legislative entity participates in the development or scrutiny of defence laws and policy.

This indicator is marked Not Applicable, given that no functioning legislature exists in Sudan at the time of this research. Currently, no transitional legislature has been appointed in Sudan and no parliament/legislature exists to debate or review defence policy. Sudan’s transitional constitutional framework [1] does not envision the election of a legitimately elected representative legislature until at least late 2022. As was the case before Sudan’s transition started in 2019, military members of the transitional period Sovereignty Council have continued to act largely independently of legislative oversight – without even the consultation or involvement of civilian members of the Sovereignty Council or ministries – to make and execute defence policy decisions. For example, the Foreign Minister and representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) complained that the military led processes and mostly excluded civilian leadership from them, leading to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel in late 2020 [2].

Before former President Bashir dissolved Parliament in February 2019, the ‘Security and National Defense Committee’ [3] nominally oversaw defence and security sector policy; however, since the Ministry of Defence and intelligence services did not share much information with the committee, and some committee members had personal financial interests in the sector, the committee was neither effective nor independent. A 2017 Transparency International report reads: ‘the 2010 National Security Act gave the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) sweeping authority to seize property, conduct surveillance, search premises, and detain suspects for up to four and a half months without judicial review. The police and security forces, however, routinely exceed these broad powers, carrying out arbitrary arrests and holding people at secret locations without access to lawyers or family members’ [4].

This indicator is marked Not Applicable, given that no functioning legislature exists in Sudan at the time of this research. Currently, no transitional legislature has been appointed and no parliament/legislature exists to debate or review defence policy. Sudan’s transitional constitutional framework [1] does not envision the election of a legitimately elected representative legislature until at least late 2022. As was the case before Sudan’s transition started in 2019, military members of the transitional period Sovereignty Council have continued to act largely independently of legislative oversight – without even the consultation or involvement of civilian members of the Sovereignty Council or ministries – to make and execute defence policy decisions. For example, the Foreign Minister and representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) complained that the military led processes and mostly excluded civilian leadership from them, leading to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel in late 2020 [2]. Before former President Bashir dissolved Parliament in February 2019, the ‘Security and National Defense Committee’ [3] nominally oversaw defence and security sector policy; however, since the Ministry of Defence and intelligence services did not share much information with the committee, and some committee members had personal financial interests in the sector, the committee was neither effective nor independent.

The parliament has the financial, legislative and monitoring powers to approve or veto laws on security, and to reject or amend defence policy. It also has the right to review budgets, major arms procurements and defence decisions. The Constitutional Committee and the parliament’s other committees in which members from all political parties are represented – such as the Defence Committee and Foreign Policy Committee – provide legal scrutiny of defence budgets and agencies like the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF), the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Agency (FMV), as well as the defence and security policy in general. The legal framework for the work of these committees is set out in the Constitution [1] and the Parliament Act [2].

The future planning of the Swedish defence sector, including the role and budget of defence agencies like the SAF, is set out in a rigorous document referred to as the ‘Defence Resolution’ [1]. These resolutions are based on the recommendations of defence agencies and the reports of the Defence Commission and are discussed at length by parliament before being adopted. Resolutions are presented and reviewed every fifth year and should be based on a long-term 10-15 year planning horizon.

Neither the executive nor the military coerce or unduly influence parliament to vote in their favour. The National Audit Office (NAO) – which reports to parliament – reviews the activities of all government agencies in the defence and security sector, including annual organisational and budget reports, procedures for payroll and disbursements, and protection against undue influence [1]. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen for Justice are also tasked with ensuring that public authorities comply with the laws [2].

The Swiss Parliament has wide-ranging formal powers with regards to defence policy. The parliamentarians have different instruments (motions, postulates, interpellations, and questions) at their disposal to question the government an shape its policies (Article 118 ParlA) [1], can legislate on strategic or organizational questions (Article 164 and 166, Federal Constitution). It approves the military budget annually (Article 167 Federal Constitution), and it appoints and confirms the minister in charge (however, the assignment of the portfolio is made within the Federal Council) (Article 168 Federal Constitution). Thorugh this power of appropriation, the Swiss Parliament has a de facto veto power on arms procurements. Last, but not least it has oversight functions with regards to the spending (Articles 169 and 170, Federal Constitution) and the security policy, which are to a large extend executed through respective committees [2, 3, 4, 5].

The Federal Assembly is not very involved in planning; however, it has full budgetary competence and plays an active role in shaping decisions, in the realm of defence. It uses that power regularly. A search in the Federal Assembly’s database for votes on government proposals related to defence produces 108 hits. This does not include parliamentarian questions, motions, interpellations etc. [1] Citizens can also request a referendum with 50,000 signatures of any law passed by the Federal Assembly (“optional referendum,” Article 141 of the Swiss Constitution) or use popular initiatives (Article 139 of the Swiss Constitution) [2] to block procurements with 1000,000 signatures. The purchase of fighter jets has spurred such referenda in the past, for example, in 1992 an initiative of the group “Swiss Without Army” launched an initiative to stop the purchase of a set of F/A 18 fighter jets [3], in 2012 an optional referendum on the purchase of Gripen jets [4] and in 2020 the purchase of new jets was narrowly approved via a referendum [5, 6]. An initiative is a de facto amendment of the constitution, so it carries considerable weight.

The Swiss system of consociationalism (“Konkordanzdemokratie”) makes it less likely for the government to coerce Parliament, for now [1]. Due to the particularities of the system, there is also a system of formal and informal checks in place: The government itself is composed of four major parties due to an informal arrangement [2], and so is the parliamentarian oversight commission in charge of defence [3]. There is also the constant threat of referenda and popular initiatives [4]. The government can withhold information or provide inaccurate information to unduly influence Parliament. A search for military misbehaviour that came to light during the time period covered for this index did not yield any such instances. However, a 2007 report to the Audit Committee of the Federal Assembly on procurement found that the material given to Parliament to base its decisions on it is “often lacking transparency and is difficult to understand for outsiders” [5]. However, there is no indication that information was withheld to deceive or that the Swiss Government misled parliamentarians on purpose.

Taiwan has a unique constitutional architecture which divides congressional/ parliamentary powers of legislative scrutiny for defence policy into two different branches, Legislative Yuan (LY) and Control Yuan (CY) [1]. The LY is mainly responsible for budget approvals and lawmaking. The CY is mainly responsible for budget auditing, investigation, inquiry, and probe. Article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan) stipulates that theLY has formal powers to approve or veto laws on security and defense.

However, the LY does not have a process of parliamentary hearing (聽證調查權) equivalent to the UK parliamentary hearing or the US congressional hearing, and the effective power of probes and investigations (調閱權). Thus, there is a view that the LY does not have a “meaningful” impact on the Ministry of National Defence (MND) [2, 3, 4].

The CY’s powers of investigation, corrective measure, impeachment, and censure toward the Government are also applied to the Ministry of National Defence and Taiwan’s Armed Forces [1]. Nevertheless, some experts still consider the CY’s parliamentary powers to be superficial and relatively ineffective toward political appointees of Taiwan’s Executive Branch [5, 6].

LY is the main institution responsible for exercising parliamentary powers of national security and national defence related to the MND and the National Security Bureau (NSB): LY has the power to approve or veto laws, review or approve budgets, and amend or reject policy [1]. Complaints have been made from within the LY that the institution does not have a “meaningful” influence on the MND [2, 3, 4].

However, there are examples of effective scrutinize by budget reviewing. LY held a classified meeting on the Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) project and asked the MND to present a project report about the procurement of IDS. After discussion, the LY decided to freeze1 billion NT dollars until the MND acquired equipment export licenses from foreign countries. Though the procurement process of IDS is classified, the LY still has rights to scrutinize it and ask the MND to improve its implementation《the Gazette, volume 109,No 75(4824), 3》[1, 5, 6].

CY is the main institution responsible for exercising parliamentary powers of investigating and controlling national security affairs of defence and intelligence: CY has the power to investigate or scrutinise specific cases or persons and to propose corrective measures, censure, or impeach civilian officials in the government and military officers in the armed forces [8].
For example, the Control Yuan investigated Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co for loan fraud offences related to the procurement of Navy minesweepers. The MND, Financial Supervisory Commission, Kaohsiung City Government and Ministry of Finance were asked to improve the related policies or procedures.[7].

Following the principle of civilian control, the Ministry of National Defence shows a high level of respect for LY’s powers of budgeting and lawmaking. Wrangling amongst the ruling party and opposing parties provides a balance-and-check mechanism for all stakeholders to uphold the independence of the National Defence Act [1, 2].

The legislative body’s power to pass or reject legislation is clear. [1] The Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Security has been recommending preparation and debate of a new Defence Policy since 2016, but it has no power to initiate such a debate. [2] Only highly aggregated budget and expenditure reports are discussed by parliament. [2] Procurement can be addressed through parliamentary review of the annual Controller and Auditor General’s annual aggregrated report on central government, but this contains little actionable detail. It is the committees that have the power to ensure this oversight, the plenary stage of parliament does not. [3]

The policy has not been debated for the past five years at least. Every year since 2016, the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Security has recommended that a new Defence Policy be prepared, to replace the National Defence Policy of 2004. It has been ignored. [1]

Parliament – like everyone else – is systematically unable to provide scrutiny given the little information provided it. The National Defence Policy is outdated, while budget and expenditure data presented to parliament and the public is aggregrated to such a degree as to prevent scrutiny. [1] [2]

After the adoption of Thailand’s Constitution of 2017 and the election in 2019, the country has reinstalled a new House of Representatives consisting of 750 seats in parliament, along with 250 junta-appointed members of the Senate. This means, at a minimum, the right to employ formal mechanisms to conduct scrutiny of defence policy has been given back to parliament [1].

Formal powers are clearly laid out in law: according to Section 128 and 129 of the Constitution, ‘the House of Representatives and the Senate have the power to enact rules of procedure governing the election and performance of duties of the President, Vice-Presidents, matters or activities which are within the duties and powers of each standing committee, performance and quorum of committees, sittings, submission and consideration of organic law bills and bills, submission of motions, consultation, debate, passing of a resolution, recording and disclosure of the passing of a resolution, interpellation, general debate, observation of the rules and orders and other relevant matters, as well as the power to enact rules of procedure regarding the code of ethics of members and committee members and other matters for the implementation of the Constitution’ and ‘The House of Representatives and the Senate have the power to select and appoint members of each House to constitute a standing committee and have the power to select and appoint persons, being or not being its members, to constitute an ad hoc committee or a joint committee under Section 137 in order to perform any act, inquire into facts or study any matter and report its findings to the House in the period of time as prescribed by the House’ [2,3]. For example, with respect to Thailand’s defence budgeting system, it is the duty of the government to propose the defence budget bill to parliament, which then sets up a subcommittee consisting of selected MPs, as well as experts and academics, to help oversee and audit the budgeting process within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) [4]. In other words, parliament has formal powers to either approve or reject defence budgets and other military welfare schemes through voting, as proved in recent budget debates and the no-confidence debate in February 2020 [5,6].

Between 2014 and early 2019, Thailand was ruled by a military government led by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha. There was therefore no parliamentary review on defence policy, even though, according to Thailand’s 2017 constitution, the Thai parliament has the power and duty to conduct state affairs and promulgate laws. With respect to Thailand’s defence budgeting system, it is the duty of the government to propose the defence budget bill to parliament, which then sets up a subcommittee consisting of selected MPs, as well as experts and academics, to help oversee and audit the budgeting process within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) [1]. However, at the beginning of its regime, the pro-military coalition had 254 MPs – a slight majority, but a majority nevertheless [2].

It should be noted that military business, including defence policy, has long been an area where civilian-led governments (either the coalition of the 1990s or the one-party dominance under Thaksin) cannot intervene or fully scrutinise. Military business has always been opaque throughout Thailand’s political history and development. Civilian scrutiny of the military budget has encountered challenges. This is exemplified by the political fate of the Future Forward Party, which had tried to push for a military reform, including cutting down the military budget by 20% [3]. Unfortunately, its party was eventually dissolved in 2020. The dissolution of Thailand’s opposition Future Forward Party in February 2020, only a few days before the no-confidence debate, led to an increase of MPs in the pro-military coalition, which made it very unlikely that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and his ministers would be unseated [4]. On Friday 27 February 2020, Prayut received a vote of no-confidence from only 49 MPs, while 272 MPs said they had trust in his leadership, despite the evidence, provided by the opposition, of the government’s 1MDB financial scandal and information operation against civilians [4,5]. During the most recent no-confidence debate in February 2020, opponents of the government were angry that at least 11 opposition MPs voted in favor of Prayut’s Cabinet, reigniting suspicions of defectors on the opposition bench [5]. As supporting evidence, former Future Forward MP Benja Saengchan leaked a telephone conversation about financial offers, of as much as 23 million baht, for the defection of each of the MPs from her now dissolved party [6].

Due to the influence of the junta government, parliament’s scrutiny of defence policy has been undermined. After the 20th Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand was officially enacted on April 6, 2017 by the military government, the election law was redesigned. Under a provisional clause, all 250 senators are chosen by a selection committee, itself appointed by the junta, and six seats in the upper house are reserved for four top military commanders, the police chief and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence [1,2]. Moreover, it should be noted that the combined votes of both the lower and upper houses determine the future prime minister. With majority support of the lower house, a prime minister candidate who is not a member of any political party can be proposed to parliament and of course, the senators, who are hand-picked by the military, are likely to back the military’s candidate [1,3]. As a result, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who appointed himself prime minister after the coup in 2014, remains in office, and members of his pro-military party, Palang Pracharat, hold the most influential ministerial positions [4].

The Parliament has formal powers to approve or veto laws on security. The Constitution provides that the structure of the army is organised in accordance with the law (1). Laws relating to organisation of the national army are deemed organic laws (2). Like other ministries, the budget of the Ministry of Defence is approved by the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) (3). The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of People’s Representatives established two parliamentary committees responsible for the scrutiny of the defence and security sector. A legislative committee was established in order to scrutinise bills related to the armed forces (4) and a special committee has to follow all issues related to defence and security. This special committee handles all files and issues related to security and defence, monitor the government’s implementation of security and defence strategies and hold dialogue and accountability sessions with those involved in these fields (5).

The Parliament debates and reviews defence policy and attempts to influence policy through formal mechanisms. First, the Parliament includes two dedicated defence and security committees: 1. A permanent committee for the organisation of the administration and armed forces affairs; 2. A special committee for security and defence. According to the ARP website, this committee held six hearings, six meetings and two field visits during 2018 (1). The review of the minutes of the meetings of the special committee for security and defence shows that the Security and Defence Committee held a session on Monday, February 12, 2018, to discuss the security situation in the country, the Ministry’s strategy and the readiness of the military establishment to achieve public security and the subject of national service (2). Then, in a session held on Monday, February 5, 2018, the Committee discussed the necessity of asking the ministries for reports about their general policies and the status of budget execution (procurement of equipments and arms, training programs, recuitment) (3).

While the existence of two dedicated defence committees in parliament is a significant asset, providing, in theory, independent scrutiny, there still appears to be a tendency for the over-classification of information on security grounds, meaning that the committees do not have access to it and the effectiveness of these oversight mechanisms is therefore limited. In fact, it seems that the submission of armed forces to civilian control is not unanimous. Members of committees lack experience regarding defence and security issues. There are some limits to the oversight powers of the ARP as it can not “sanction” the minister who does not show up at the meeting or if he does not give a convincing answer (4).
The analysis of the available reports of the security and defence committee shows that this committee does not yet review the procurement of equipments and arms (1).

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

According to our sources, there is a kind of passive influence of the executive of the Parliament on several issues including military. Although there is no clear evidence, our sources confirm that there is a possibility that both executive and military could influence the Parliament scrutiny on defence and security issues (1,2).

It should be noted that, since the summer of 2018, the political regime in Turkey has changed from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency, but the institutional transition of this change is still ongoing. It is worth mentioning that the ruling conservative-nationalist ‘de facto’ coalition between the Justice and Development Party (JDP), led by President Tayyip Erdogan, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), led by Devlet Bahceli, has not yet been able to gain the 2/3 majority it needs from parliament to amend the constitution so as to adapt it to the new system. However, Erdogan has been modifying the institutional setting of the state apparatus, and therefore the whole structure of defence/security, through presidential decrees since the summer of 2016. The political regime in Turkey therefore appears to be stuck in institutional limbo, in which Turkey is being governed by the old constitution, which prioritises parliament for the management of defence/security issues, the new institutional setting is being shaped by presidential decrees and Erdogan’s presidential palace has full control over all areas of the defence/security sector. So, while parliament has formal rights/privileges for the oversight/monitoring of defence/security-related issues, both constitutionally and in terms of legal frameworks, the practical reality is that Erdogan has been restructuring the defence/security system in order to fully consolidate his presidential palace as Turkey’s top decision-making and oversight authority on defence/security issues.

Article 104 of the Constitution of Turkey notes that ‘the President of Turkey shall determine national security policies and take necessary measures. He/she shall represent the Office of Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish Armed Forces on behalf of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’ [1]. Article 117 of the Constitution of Turkey also states that ‘the President of the Republic shall be responsible to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for national security and for the preparation of the armed forces for the defence of the country’ [1].

According to the Constitution of Turkey, the executive body fulfils all defence-related policies on behalf of parliament. [2] However, in practice, this has not been the reality on the ground for almost two years. Overall, therefore, it could be suggested that Turkey’s defence/security sector has been lost in transition. This postition, which erodes the established institutional setting as well as norms and values of the sector and creates fuzzy/non-transparent zones that are exploited by the pro-Erdogan business circles and the JDP, leading to the emergence of clientelism and crony-capitalist structures, is not good for the integrity, transparency or accountability of the whole sector. [4]

Currently, the Planning and Budget Commission is the only rock-solid legislative oversight mechanism for defence/security policies and the constitutional framework still prioritises parliament for defence/security issues.

On any defence/security-related issue, the General Assembly can initiate a ‘parliamentary inquiry’, ‘general debate’, ‘parliamentary investigation’ or ‘written interrogation/parliamentary petition’. All four are governed by Articles 98 and 106 in the Constitution [1].
– A ‘parliamentary inquiry’ is an examination conducted by parliament to obtain information on a specific subject.
– A ‘general debate’ is the discussion of a specific subject relating to the community and the activities of the state in a plenary session of parliament.
– A ‘parliamentary investigation’ is authorised and requested by parliament against vice presidents and ministers pursuant to the fifth, sixth and seventh paragraphs of Article 106 [1].
– A ‘written-interrogation/parliamentary petition’ is an act of questioning in written form, circulated and directed by parliamentary members to vice presidents and ministers, which must be responded to in writing within 15 days at the latest [1].

Article 104 of the Constitution of Turkey states that ‘the President of Turkey shall determine national security policies and take necessary measures. He/she shall represent the Office of Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish Armed Forces on behalf of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’ [1]. Article 117 of the Constitution of Turkey states that ‘the President of the Republic shall be responsible to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for national security and for the preparation of the armed forces for the defence of the country’ [1].

The Planning and Budget Commission is the most significant legislative oversight mechanism over defence/security policies. Article 5 of the Constitution states that budget approval is among the duties and responsibilities of parliament [1]. Article 15 assigns the preparation of the budget to the presidential cabinet. In accordance with this, the president submits a budget proposal to parliament at least 75 days in advance of the beginning of the fiscal year and the budget bill is examined by parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission [2]. The bill is adopted by the commission within 55 days; it is then debated and voted on in a plenary session of parliament before the beginning of the fiscal year. It should be noted that parliament cannot conduct performance audits/oversight of the executive branch’s spending of the defence/security budget [2]. The power to pass or decline the defence/security budget and the opportunity to discuss the defence/security budget is the most significant oversight/auditing mechanism in the hands of parliament.

An MP suggested in an interview that if the opposition had the majority in parliament, the current constitutional and legal setting would be enough for parliament to have oversight/monitoring mechanisms [2]. ‘In particular,’ he emphasised, ‘a parliament with an opposition majority can easily audit and even veto the executive branch’s budget for defence/security policies and military expenditure. It is also a constitutional right for parliament to oversee the presidency’s handling of security forces because the President is the Commander-in-Chief on behalf of parliament’ [2].

In parallel with President Erdogan’s consolidation of his political power within the state apparatus, which started with the presidential election on June 24, 2018, marking the beginning of his super presidency, the independence of parliamentary as a legislative body has been dramatically eroded [1].

Under the presidential system, the President’s power to issue decrees has been elevated almost to the level of a general regulative principle, which enables the President to bypass legislative control because these presidential decrees are totally out of legislative oversight. The inalienability and non-transferability of executive power is no longer as absolute now that the President has the power to issue decrees without any oversight or authorisation by the legislature [2]. Presidential decrees, particularly in the field of defence/security, such as the presidential decree that facilitated the sale/rent of the state-owned Arifiye/Kocaeli tank factory to BMC, a firm owned by a businessman very close to Erdogan, Ethem Sancak, on December 2018 [3], do not require authorisation from parliament to be passed. Moreover, these decrees do not even need to be presented to parliament after being issued. The areas that can be governed by presidential decrees are very extensive [4].

Interviewee 1 suggested that currently, the MPs of the ruling AKP and MHP parties block most of the legislative processes in parliament that could hold the presidency accountable [5].

Parliament and its committees have powers to make laws, approve budgets, invite or summon government officials to appear, give evidence and respond to questions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Parliament, therefore, has powers to make defence laws, amend security policy and scrutinise defence budgets. However, Parliament cannot veto security issues; they can debate them. Parliament’s failure to veto can be interpreted by the public as a form of corruption. For example, during scrutiny, Parliament raises many questions regarding classified expenditures, approval of supplementary budgets for classified expenditures. They have failed to amend the Rules of Procedure regarding discretionary powers of the Speaker of Parliament or amend the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act to get veto powers and also to task the executive to disclose classified budgets and expenditures. Parliament appropriates public funds to the defence sector amidst appeals from MPs, especially those in the opposition wing, on the need to reject or scrutinise further certain budget requests particularly classified budgets [5, 6]. The defence sector is among the top five sectors that get the largest share of the annual national budget. It is also among the sectors that usually request supplementary funds, which economists, parliamentary committees on budget and Public Accounts and some MPs, including Amos Lugoloobi and Muwanga Kivumbi ascribe to poor planning, financial indiscipline and corruption [7].

Parliament has tried to use its powers in certain cases, but they are very limited because its resolutions are non-binding on the executive based on the doctrine of Separation of Powers [1]. Also, despite its continuous debates on defence issues such as operations, expenditures and budgets, there are no sanctions for undermining parliamentary directives. For instance, there were allegations from fishermen and fishing communities that some army officers were asking for bribes from them those who offered were saved, while those who refused were allegedly tortured. Some MPs raised these complaints in the House. However, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Christopher Kibazanaga, questioned the power of Parliament to override a presidential directive on this matter [2, 3]. MPs, however, continued to raise the issue on the floor of the Parliament, resolving that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces should suspend their operations against illegal fishing on lakes due to several allegations of human rights abuses [4]. However, the executive said that they could not implement the parliamentary resolutions since they are not binding on the executive [5]. However, due to pressures from Parliament, the executive disclosed that it would investigate the allegations [6].

There have been many confrontational engagements between the Parliament and the executive. However, the executive has always had their way. Therefore, there is a fear factor among the MPs because they know the extent to which the military is capable of doing. This was demonstrated when unidentified security personnel stormed Parliament and forcefully evicted suspended MPs from the chambers. They arrested and allegedly tortured those MPs who had opposed the constitutional amendment and were suspended by the speaker in 2017 [1]. There were also allegations that the army tortured some citizens and politicians during the 2018 Arua by-elections. MPs demanded an explanation from the executive [2]. To remind the executive of its role to protect citizens and observe democratic values, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga suspended parliamentary business until she gets a reply to her letter dated August 27, 2018, to President Yoweri Museveni on security officers who allegedly tortured unarmed civilians in Arua. President Museveni responded to her letter on August 31, 2018, asking her to wait for the outcome of investigations [3]. The speaker had earlier set up a select committee to investigate claims that the army tortured the Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi and other MPs during the elections. Instead of reporting to the speaker, the Chairperson of the Select Committee, Doreen Amule, was accused by committee members of reporting directly to the army and she also reportedly disagreed with the other four committee members on the report’s findings. The report noted that the army allegedly tried to block the committee members from accessing the jailed MP. The Deputy Speaker only managed to access the jailed MP after one week. The Arua fracas demonstrated how the executive undermines Parliament’s oversight role [4, 5]. Then, the Human Rights Committee of Parliament was also denied access to ” safe houses” by the military because they were private homes and not military installations. The MPs were thereby told to first write and get clearance from the army. But MPs argued that this would no longer serve the purpose of impromptu visits [4].

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Parliament of Ukraine) is the sole legislative power in Ukraine [1], and it has a monopoly over approving and vetoing laws including those on security and defence. Furthermore, the VRU approves principles of the domestic policy [2] (including domestic policy in the field of national defence and security), appoints the minister of defence [3] and the head of the Security Service of Ukraine [4] etc. The VRU is empowered to approve and review the State Budget of Ukraine [5], and defence decisions like declaring war and making peace upon the recommendation of the President of Ukraine, approving the president’s decision to engage the AFU and other military formations [6], approving decisions on military assistance to other states, on dispatching the AFU units to another states [7].
At the same time, the VRU is not empowered to review major arms procurements (the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine does [8]). Additionally, the new Law on Occupied Territories empowers the president to engage defence and security forces in the occupied territories in Eastern Ukraine [9]. Although the VRU already granted the president its consent for engaging defence and security forces in those regions in the same law [10], the VRU did it in advance and consent will not be needed immediately before the president’s corresponding decision.

The VRU regularly approves laws on security and defence. One of the latest examples is the Law of Ukraine № 2268-19 “On the peculiarities of State policy on ensuring Ukraine’s State sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions” (2018). Currently, the VRU is debating the draft Law On National Security № 8086 of April 2018. The VRU also amends laws (the Law of Ukraine “On the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine” – 2 amendments since 2017 [1], the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy” – 2 amendments since 2017 [2], the Law of Ukraine “On the Armed Forces of Ukraine” – 2 amendments since 2016 [3]). The VRU does not review or approve major arms procurements since it is the power of the Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine [4].
The VRU`s involvement in the reviewing and approving of defence decisions is partial. On the one side, the VRU exercised its constitutional power to appoint the minister of defence and the chief of the Security Service of Ukraine following the president`s submission. On the other hand, after the start of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the AFU started combat actions under the legal framework of an Antiterrorist operation. Thus, the combat actions legally started based on the president’s decree [5] without the involvement of the VRU. In the new Law on Occupied Territories, the VRU empowers the president to engage defence and security forces in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine [6], thus the VRU participated in major defence decisions. In parallel, the VRU granted the president its consent for engaging defence and security forces in those regions in advance [7] and no such consent will be needed immediately before the president`s corresponding decision.
The VRU attempts to influence defence policy as MPs suggested more than 673 alterations to the Law on Occupied Territories [8]. However, the main policy-maker in the defence policy seems to be the president since his legislative initiatives remain, without substantial alterations.

The president ensures the national security [1] of Ukraine, and has the most effective legislative initiative since 73% of all draft laws introduced by him were adopted by the VRU in 2015-2017; at the same time, the VRU adopted only 7% of all draft laws introduced by MPs [2]. This fact alone does not evidence the president’s undue influence on the VRU, but several journalistic investigations concluded that the presidential administration has potential “to collect votes” in the VRU to ensure positive voting for particular draft laws, and already did it [3, 4]. At the same time, there is no evidence that the president’s administration routinely influences the VRU or the Committee on National Security and Defence since this influence seems to take place mainly when it comes to crucial issues; thus, for example, the VRU initiated 326 draft laws (passed later by the VRU) in the same period [2].
There is no evidence of military coercing or undue influencing of the VRU.

The UAE advisory council, known as The Federal National Council (FNC) has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. According to the UAE constitution, the FNC is a consultative council, representing the semi-parliamentary body of the UAE. Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi is the current Chairperson and the Speaker of the Federal National Council, and the FNC currently consists of 40 members, following the FNC election in 2015 (1). The candidate has to be approved by the electoral organization. According to the country’s constitution, FNC members represent the entire population of the UAE, and the FNC is considered the fourth of the five federal authorities. The FNC’s role is as an advisory council to the government; however, the government is not required to accept any of the FNC’s proposals. The FNC’s responsibilities include: amending or rejecting federal draft laws including financial bills, examining the Annual General Budget draft law and the draft law of the final accounts, discussing international treaties and agreements, and discussing general issues pertaining to the affairs of the Federation and offering recommendations. The FNC’s addresses to the government are considered ‘observations and wishes’, but these do not have any legal effect. The FNC can discuss government bills drafted by the Council of Ministers; it can agree with, amend, or reject such bills, but it cannot veto them (2). The FNC has a Committee for Internal Affairs and Defence that is in charge of discussing draft laws and general topics related to security and defence, but there is no evidence available on the official website of the government, nor on other media outlets showing that this committee has power over the defence and security. Therefore, the FNC has no formal powers over defence laws or policy. The Supreme Council of National Security is responsible for the national security of the country and ensuring its safety from all threats that compromise national security and pose economic, social, cultural or environmental hazards (3), (4), (5).

The FNC does not have direct power over defence and security, because this power lies with the Supreme Council of National Security. However, at the end of 2018, the FNC reviewed activity reports of the Constitutional, Legislative and Appeals Committee and the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee, and presented them to the UAE Cabinet (1). These reports are submitted by the FNC committees. However, there is no oversight or debate over any of the defence policies (2), (3).

This indicator is marked Not Applicable. As no policies or sections in the constitution gives the FNC the power to oversee defence or security policies, both the military and the executive do not need to undermine any scrutiny conducted by the FNC on defence policy, as it does not exist in the first place (1), (2).

The business of the UK Parliament takes place in two Houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Their work is similar: making laws (legislation), checking the work of the government (scrutiny), and debating current issues (with the House of Commons being the main branch for legislating). The House of Commons is also responsible for granting money to the government through approving Bills that raise taxes. Generally, the decisions made in one House have to be approved by the other. In this way the two-chamber system acts as a check and balance for both Houses [1].

The deployment of the Armed Forces is currently a prerogative power, which means that Parliament has no legally established role in this regard and the Government is under no legal obligation with respect to its conduct [1]. Nevertheless, the Parliament does have formal rights to conduct scrutiny over defence policy by means of the activity of The Defence Committee, which is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies [2]

In addition to the above, there are a number of other ways in which defence policy can be formally scrutinised. First and foremost is the legislative process itself [3] in which a bill will be read three times in both the Commons and the Lords – undergoing Committee scrutiny in both Houses in the process. Bills that fail to gain a majority approval on a One Member One Vote basis in both Houses are in effect vetoed by Parliament and do not become law. Second, there are many other oversight committees, such as the Public Administration Committee [4], Public Accounts Committee [5], Lords International Relations and Defence Committee [6]. These committees are empowered to request documents and call witnesses and have autonomy to set the scope of their inquiries and report to Parliament (granted in Standing Order No.15[2]. Additionally, the National Audit Office has autonomy to conduct investigations and report to Parliament via powers enshrined in the National Audit Act 1983 [7]. Further to this, there is the Intelligence and Security Committee which has powers by virtue of Intelligence Services Act 1994 [8] and Justice and Security Act 2013 [9]. See also National Security Strategy (Joint Committee) [10]. Additional non-committee scrutiny is also provided in parliamentary debate, parliamentary questions and ministerial correspondence.

However, not all defence policy requires legislation. White papers, green papers and major procurement decisions do not typically undergo the same scrutiny of Parliament and cannot be subject to vetoes – although committees may conduct relevant inquiries and report their findings. While remaining a prerogative power, the government has, on occasions, consulted parliament prior to military action (Syria 2013 – vote defeated and no action taken) [11]. Equally, in 2018, military action was taken in Syria without seeking parliamentary approval on the grounds of humanitarian intervention [12]. There is inconsistency in this approach, with no formal legal basis.

The Parliament is effective in regularly scrutinising issues pertaining to defence policy. For instance, only in May 2019, the Parliament scrutinised policies related to defence procurement [1], arms export controls [2] and other issues. More recently, Parliament passed a significant piece of legislation, the Overseas Operations Bill (now and Act) which was subject to significant scrutiny in both houses, where a number of amendments were introduced and debated [3].

The Parliament also exercises budgetary power [4]. The Public Administration Committee [5], Public Accounts Committee [6], Lords International Relations and Defence Committee [7] are active in regularly exercising oversight over defence policy. However, the Parliament cannot always reject defence policies and important decisions such as the deployment of forces, due to the fact that this represents a prerogative power, as indicated in the previous sub-indicator [8].

The Parliament’s independent scrutiny is ensured by the Parliamentary sovereignty principle, which makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK [1]. There is no evidence to suggest that the military coerces or unduly influences the Parliament to vote in their favour. Nevertheless, the existence of the ‘whip’ system favours voting in accordance with the preferences of the Executive, leading some to argue that the ‘Commons is executive dominated [2]. It is also alleged that as a result of this system, the ‘committee scrutiny of legislation via partisan whipped bill committees is always ritualistic, ineffective and normally of very little value’ [2].

When the government holds a majority, as it currently does, the hyper-partisan political atmosphere grants it ample scope to influence debates and votes and ensure that parliament votes in accordance with government priorities [3]. The executive’s power over parliament came to the fore in 2019 when the Prime Minister prorogued parliament for five weeks, resulting in MPs not being able to conduct legislative duties, in a move that was later deemed to be unlawful and which ‘prevented the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable jusitifcation’ [4].

The Institute for Government, on the other hand, describes the procedure for party representation in select committees: ‘[the] broad principle is that the balance of committee chairs should reflect the party balance in the House of Commons, although there is some flexibility to accommodate political realities. Once the number of seats won by each party in a general election is known, the Speaker’s office applies a formula – the details of which are not public – to work out how many committee chairs should be allocated to each party’ [5]. Following the 2019 general election, the Conservatives were entitled to 16 chairs, Labour were given nine, and the SNP were given two.

According to Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution, Congress has the power to raise and support the military, to declare war and make laws concerning defence [1]. The command of the military, however, is the right of the executive [2]. As such, Congress passes a variety of laws on topics ranging from North Korea sanctions to border security, and has, for example, barred the Obama administration from using funds to transfer detainees out of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay [2]. As Commander-in-Chief, the President has the power to initiate military action with the aim of repelling attacks against the country [3]. Therefore, the distinction between the limits of the President’s authorities and that of Congress is blurred and is the source of controversy [4]. This was tested, for example, by President Trump’s strike on Qasem Soleimani in 2020 and President Obama’s actions in Libya in 2011.

With regard to budget, Congress conducts oversight through the annual National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA). The NDAA provides the authorisation of funds for the Department of Defense (DoD), the nuclear weapons programme of the Department of Energy, DoD elements of the Intelligence Community and other defence-related activities at federal agencies [5]. The NDAA is not directly debated by the entire legislature but is scrutinised by the House Committee on Armed Services (HASC) and the Senate Committee on Armed Services (SCAS) [5]. These two committees review the President’s annual budget request for the DoD.

With regard to major arms procurement, Congress exercises its legislative powers through Title VIII of the NDAA ‘Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management, and Related Matters’ which amends Title 10, Subpart V of the US Code [6]. With regard to arms sales, when a foreign country is purchasing arms from either private American manufacturers or the US government, the administration has to notify Congress of the deal. Congress does not need to approve the deal but it has 30 days to block the transfer [7].

There are a number of criticisms levelled at Congress for not living up to its mandate as a check on the executive branch on national security matters. It frequently defers to the executive on issues of war; for example, legal experts argue that Obama should have obtained congressional authority to use miiltary force in Libya, Iraq and Syria but did not [1]. The same has been argued for the strike on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 by President Trump [2]. The Council on Foreign Relations argues that there is a historical pattern in which, during times of war/national emergency, the executive overshadows Congress [1]. The critiques mounted against Congress on the issue of war powers suggests that on issues of war, Congress is frequently sidelined [3]. Moreover, Congressional defence oversight commitment has been criticised for being too lax and, while this has changed in some respects during Trump’s administration, it suggests that Congress is not fully using the powers bestowed to it [4,5].

The effectiveness of Congress, however, should also be viewed through the influence of campaign contributions and lobbying, which is particularly pernicious with regard to the defence sector. For example, recent research shows that House Democrats who voted for the 2021 NDAA received on average four times the amount of war industry cash as those who voted against it. In the Senate, Democrats who supported it took in six times as much [6]. The military-industrial complex is widely acknowleged and well documented, and is often described as the ‘iron triangle’ between defence sector interest groups, Congress and the executive branch democracy. The influence of the defence industry leads to high defence spending and contractor reliance being prioritised over what might be considered as the needs of the citizenry [7,8]. The revolving door between government employees (including members of Congress) and the defence industry is a related pathway through which conflicts of interest can undermine the effectiveness of Congress [7]. For example, in 2018, there were 645 instances of the top 20 defence contractors hiring former government officials, members of Congress, senior legislative staff and military officers as lobbyists, board members or senior executives [9]. Finally, excessive partisanship in recent years has also prevented the effectiveness of Congress [10].

Regardless of these critiques, both the Armed Services Committees of the House of Representatives & the Sentate do annually review and amend the defence budget and it is not usually passed unanimously [11,12]. Congress passes the annual National Defense Authorisation Act, which includes legislation and amendments, as well as authorisation of the budget.

The legislature (Congress) is largely independent from influence of the military and the executive and there are laws in place to prevent lobbying by the executive branch of Congress [1,2]. There are, however, instances of the White House using appropriated funds to lobby Congress members under the current and previous two administrations, and this has been widely documented by the Project on Congressional Oversight (POGO) [3]. There is no evidence of undue influence by the military on Congress.

The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela establishes the functions of the National Assembly (AN) – the country’s legislative branch – as comprising legislation, control over government, debate and approval of the national budget, and authorisation of contracts of national interest, among other functions that apply to various sectors, including the defence sector [1]. The AN has a Permanent Committee on Defence and Security specific to the latter [2].

The budget of the Ministry of the People’s Power for Defence (MPPD), which should include resources earmarked for relevant acquisitions of armaments and other equipment, must be approved by the AN, and therefore the AN may ask for information regarding details of the management of this sector. In legislative matters, the AN is the only body with the authority to suggest, debate and approve the laws that will regulate the functioning of the sector. Likewise, as a member of the National Defence Council, the president of the AN has access to information and may participate in debate on the execution of the Government’s defence and security policy [3].

Venezuela’s current political crisis has undermined the formal powers granted by the constitution to the AN to exercise its functions of political control, legislation, and control over public administration.

The legislative branch has been entirely inhibited since 2016, when the Supreme Court (TSJ) unconstitutionally assumed legislative functions upon declaring the AN in contempt of court [1]. Following this decision, other processes such as the election of a Constituent National Assembly (ANC) and its designation as a new legislative branch have been tainted by their unconstitutional nature [2]. These processes have produced the current crisis in which there is an institutional duplication: the regime that holds executive power recognises the ANC as the legislative branch, while the AN (elected through a constitutional electoral process and recognised by this same executive branch and by international governments) continues in place despite obstruction to its exercise of power and capacities granted by the constitution.

Despite the current situation, the AN elected in 2016 has maintained its functions, holding meetings and debating bills [3]. However, it has not been able to carry out its political and administrative functions. Regarding legislation, especially pertaining to the defence sector, discussions over bills such as the reform of the Military Justice Code (COJM), the Military Career Draft Bill and debates over the constitutionality of the Organic Law of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (LOFANB) have had no influence on the implementation of security policy and the management of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) [4, 5]. Since 2016, the NA has not approved the national budget and has had no control over the actions of the different ministries [6].

Though the obstruction of the legislative branch has been palpable since 2016, the powers of the NA had previously already been damaged due to the influence and control of the executive, with its majority of the governing party. These powers held little, poor control, and the legislative function followed private interests within government [7].

While it was a judicial decision that suppressed the powers granted to the AN (in contravention of the constitution), the executive’s influence on this decision has been clear. The decision to declare the AN in contempt has not only been considered unconstitutional by academics and experts [1], but also highlights the executive’s influence in the judicial branch – allowing it to pass enabling laws without any objection. It has also retained the Supreme Court judges who have demonstrated loyalty to the regime, without electing new judges following the period established by law [2, 3].

In addition to the executive control that has led to the breakdown of democratic institutions, the defence sector has also supported and benefited from the lack of legislative oversight. In debates held by the AN, the Minister of Defence and other officials with administrative positions have not appeared in court when summoned, and have openly rejected the AN’s participation in the actions of the FANB [4, 5].

Parliament primarily has formal oversight over defence policy and practices through the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services committee of the House of Assembly and the Peace and Security Committee of the Senate [1]. This is in addition to parliament having the powers to summon and question responsible ministers for defence and security during full sitting sessions. On paper, the committees and full parliament have the authority to review budgets, procurement and defence decisions; however, this does not usually happen in practice, particularly when it relates to procurement. Section 211(5) of the constitution provides for parliament to enact a law for the management and regulation of the defence forces [2]. Though vague, this provision on paper can allow parliament to provide scrutiny over policy, budgets and procurement. The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament also has the authority to scrutinise defence budgets.

Parliament exercises budgetary power over defence once a year during the annual budget cycle. This is usually done as part of the broader responsibilities of Parliament to review and vote on the budget projections presented by the minister of finance on behalf of all government ministries. However, there are fears or allegations that significant resources are allocated to the defence sector through other unrelated ministries and state enterprises in obscure ways [1, 2]. Parliament tends to debate “non-sensitive” aspects of defence policy such as the Bill on establishing a National Defence University [3]. The security sector is a powerful actor in the country, and it does not trust the opposition and hence does not subject itself to parliamentary scrutiny, and this likely undermines the capacity of the Parliament to effectively hold defence forces to account [4].

There is not enough information to score this indicator. There are no recorded instances where the executive or the military have publicly undermined parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy. This is not because Parliament has independent oversight over the military; it could be because of the military’s significant powers and opaque operations [1], and also due to lack of technical expertise and know-how of members of parliamentary committees on the functioning of the various security institutions in the country [2].

Country Sort by Country 1a. Formal rights Sort By Subindicator 1b. Effectiveness Sort By Subindicator 1c. Independent legislature scrutiny Sort By Subindicator
Albania 100 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Algeria 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Angola 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Argentina 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Armenia 75 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Australia 100 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Azerbaijan 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Bangladesh 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Belgium 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 50 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Botswana 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Brazil 100 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Cameroon 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Canada 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Chile 50 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
China 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Colombia 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Denmark 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Estonia 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Finland 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
France 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Germany 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Ghana 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Greece 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Hungary 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
India 75 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Indonesia 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Iran 25 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Iraq 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Israel 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Italy 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Japan 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Jordan 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Kenya 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Kosovo 75 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Latvia 75 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Lithuania 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Malaysia 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Mali 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Mexico 100 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Montenegro 75 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA
Myanmar 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Netherlands 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
New Zealand 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
North Macedonia 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Norway 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 100 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Philippines 100 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Poland 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Portugal 50 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA
Russia 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Serbia 75 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Singapore 100 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
South Africa 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
South Korea 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
South Sudan 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Spain 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Sudan NA NA NA
Sweden 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Switzerland 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Taiwan 75 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Tanzania 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Thailand 100 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 50 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
Turkey 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Uganda 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Ukraine 50 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 NA
United Kingdom 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
United States 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Venezuela 100 / 100 75 / 100 0 / 100
Zimbabwe 100 / 100 50 / 100 NEI

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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