A new article by David Auerswald, Philippe Lagassé and Stephen M Saideman examines the varying roles of legislatures in democratic civil-military relations across 15 different countries. The study found that in some countries, legislative oversight plays a crucial role in guiding their defense establishment, while in others, legislators are largely ignorant and uninvolved.

They argue that these variations can be explained by the number and scope of legislative committees responsible for military oversight, as well as party politics within those committees. The article also compares the legislative oversight in Germany’s Bundestag and Japan’s Diet, noting that these cases challenge existing explanations and serve as examples of “hard cases” for the argument presented in the study. The article concludes with implications for broader debates about civilian control of the military.