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Parliamentary Standing Committees on Security, Defence

2017-01-02

Regional security challenges as well as the fight against terrorism and radicalism emphasise the need for the formation of parliamentary standing committees on security and defence as part of oversight of the government and security agencies. The lower house should amend its bylaw to create and specify the duties of a standing committee on security and military affairs. A recent motion of no confidence against the former interior minister underlines the importance of creating a panel to oversee security issues as well as pertinent legislative requirements.
The previous lower house approved a new bylaw in 2013, creating several standing panels, which did not include a committee on security. The terrorist attacks on Karak and other parts in Jordan should encourage the 18th Lower House of Parliament to reform its bylaw to form such a committee, and incorporate a constitutional amendment that has doubled the term length for house speaker from to two years.
The same applies to the senate, which usually groups members with security and military expertise, including former interior ministers as well as military and intelligence officials. The senate should employ such expertise to enhance its oversight function and support the country's security and defence agencies.
Almost all parliaments around the world have standing committees on security and defence.
National security and defence concern all state institutions and agencies -- which requires strong participatory relations between executive and legislative branches of government.
Jordan can no longer afford to postpone the formation of those committees in light of plans to enhance the role of the Ministry of Defence, the 2014 constitutional amendments, which gave the King the sole power to appoint and dismiss army and intelligence chiefs, and the existing regional challenges, including growing terrorist threats.