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What is National Security Law?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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National security law covers a large number of domestic and international legal issues. These issues and laws are different in each federal government’s jurisdiction. Each country’s foreign policy interacts directly with its national security law. A variety of government entities work together to manage a nation’s national security.

Management of activities based upon national security laws is separated among the different parts of a government system. Each country manages its national security laws differently. The executive branch might have the right to create and or manage aspects of foreign policy and foreign intelligence activities. Legislative branches divide responsibility among themselves, which might include the right to enter into war or approve foreign treaties. The judicial branch reviews activities completed by the executive branch or the legislative branch to confirm that actions are within the law.

Multiple governments enter into international foreign treaties that then become part of the national security law for each country that signs on to the treaty. Many countries are members of one or more multi-jurisdiction counsels that might set policy on various issues. One such group is the United Nations. Any international treaty to be invoked or enforced by the United Nations within its member nations must be registered with it. The United Nations Charter includes this requirement in order to keep governments from executing secret treaties among themselves.

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Any given country may have designations for different types of agreements that internationally may be considered a treaty. This allows the country to separate the power to execute any such agreement among its different government branches. These designations are an example of how domestic laws work together with international laws to create national security law.

Domestic laws for a given federal government might specifically designate how a nation’s national security laws are to be managed. These laws might set up the different departments of a government, such as the department of defense or creation of an intelligence agency. The way in which each of these federal government agencies interacts varies based upon whether or not the country is at peace or at war. During times of war, most national security law activities take on a more urgent nature than they do during times of peace.

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