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The U.S. Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government and plays a crucial role in the formation of national security policy. It is a bicameral legislature composed of two separate bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Created by Article I of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has a set of written responsibilities and powers, although courts and elected officials have interpreted them differently as the United States developed into a modern democracy. This entry describes how the U.S. Congress is organized, its powers, and its role in shaping U.S. security policy. Some of the defining features of Congress’s impact on the military and national defense policy are (1) its central role in appropriations; (2) the Senate’s confirmation of military officers and ...

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