Committee on Defence
About the Committee
The Committee on Defence was established in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czechoslovak National Council already in 1920. It focused primarily on monitoring the emerging Czechoslovak Armed Forces. The Committee further dealt with investigating mobilisation supplies, determining the family allowance to the families of persons in active military service, and with amendments to the Conscription Act. The Committee operated in the Chamber of Deputies until 1938 and was renewed in November 1945.
During the period of the Czechoslovak Federation, the area of defence was in the competence of federal bodies. After the elections of 1992, a Committee on Legal Protection and Security was established at the proposal of a group of Deputies at the first session of the Czech National Council.
After the collapse of the federation, on 1 January 1993, this Committee became a body of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, which by its resolution of 27th January 1993 changed its name to the Committee on Civil Defence and Security. In the subsequent electoral periods, a Committee for Defence and Security was established. The competence of this Committee included the issues of internal and external security. The committee dealt with e.g. the accession of the Czech Republic to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or acts ensuring the professionalisation of the Armed Forces of the CR.
After the election in 2006, and subsequently also in 2011, the agenda of the Committee was divided into internal and external security and two independent committees were established – the Committee on Defence and the Committee on Security.
Discussing Bills and International Treaties
The Committee on Defence addresses primarily the acts affecting external security and discusses international treaties concerning international security obligations of the Czech Republic. Its partner ministry is the Ministry of Defence. The Committee also discusses the relevant chapters of the bill on the state budget and the final state budgetary account.
Monitoring the Government
The Committee is the basic institutional instrument for the civil monitoring of the armed forces and deals with the monitoring of the Government’s activities in this area and budgetary activities. The functional separation of the agendas of internal and external security provides the members of the committee with a greater scope for a deeper monitoring of the field of defence.
The Committee maintains foreign contacts with partner committees in Europe and the world.
The Committee decides by an absolute majority of the members present. The Committee’s meetings are generally open to the public, but it may be proposed that a meeting be declared closed to the public, thus excluding the public and media. Committee meetings are convened and conducted by the Chairperson, who is obliged to convene a meeting upon the decision of the Chamber of Deputies, or upon a request of at least two-fifths of all the members of the Committee, and must do so within 15 days from such a decision or request. The meeting’s agenda is proposed by the Chairperson and approved by the Committee. If a member requests that an additional item be added to the agenda, it must be approved by three fifths of all the members of the Committee.