Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States [June 7, 2012] [open pdf - 411KB]
"The United States is a party to numerous security agreements with other nations. The topics covered, along with the significance of the obligations imposed upon agreement parties, may vary. 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. Regardless of the form of a security arrangement, Congress has several tools which enable it 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 as to 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 examines historical precedents, with specific attention paid to past agreements entered with Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Finally, 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