Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States [October 1, 2009] [open pdf - 349KB]
From the Summary: "The United States is a party to numerous security agreements with other nations. [...]. Some international security agreements entered by the United States, such as those obliging parties to come to the defense of another in the event of an attack, involve substantial commitments and have traditionally been entered as treaties, ratified with the advice and consent of the Senate. Other agreements dealing with more technical matters, such as military basing rights or the application of a host country's laws to U.S. forces stationed within, are entered more routinely and usually take a form other than treaty (i.e., as an executive agreement or a nonlegal political commitment). Occasionally, the substance and form of a proposed security agreement may become a source of dispute between Congress and the executive branch. [...] Regardless of the form a security arrangement may take, Congress has several tools to exercise oversight regarding the negotiation, form, conclusion, and implementation of the agreement by the United States. This report begins by providing a general background on the types of international agreements that are binding upon the United States, as well as considerations affecting whether they take the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. Next, the report discusses historical precedents as to the role that security agreements have taken, with specific attention paid to past agreements entered with Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Iraq. The report discusses the oversight role that Congress exercises with respect to entering and implementing international agreements involving the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, R40614