Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Parliamentary oversight of international operations

10 January, 2024



This study focuses on parliamentary oversight and control over international military operations. It includes a comparative analysis of existing practices in NATO member states as well as other countries in international operations oversight. It examines the evolution of NATO operations and explains their changes and crucial challenges through the formation of Strategic Concepts including how have NATO operations adapted to current geopolitical realities. 

The first chapter provides a comparative overview of practices in NATO member (and other) states as regards parliamentary oversight of international operations. The examination is structured into distinct sections, each delving into specific aspects of parliamentary involvement, ranging from legislative and communication-based powers to budgetary control and oversight throughout ongoing operations.

It explores how nations approach legislative powers, encompassing the ex-ante veto requirement, while the subsequent part examines communication-based powers such as notification and consultation requirements. It investigates budgetary powers and scrutinizes control powers, specifically focusing on oversight during ongoing military operations.

A dedicated section outlines the challenges faced by parliaments or relevant parliamentary committees when exercising their powers, providing an insightful exploration of the complexities inherent in parliamentary oversight. Recommendations encapsulate essential good practices identified in navigating parliamentary powers over foreign military deployment.

The second chapter explores the evolution of NATO operations. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of NATO operations, divided into four parts.

  • The first part examines the origins of NATO and its first non-classified Strategic Concept, as well as its first operational engagements in the Western Balkans.
  • The second part looks at the 1999 update to the Strategic Concept and the subsequent expansion of NATO operations.
  • The third part focuses on the new Strategic Concepts adopted in 2010 and 2022 and explores the factors that have affected operations in light of new security challenges.
  • The fourth part assesses the intensity of operations. 

The study seeks to provide support and guidance to all those conducting research in the field of international operations and those responsible for the oversight process, be they parliamentarians, staffers, researchers, or civil society groups.

Legislation should be designed for flexibility in responding to different types of military operations and evolving security challenges, while maintaining various oversight instruments and procedures.