Holding the Government Accountable

Policy Matters: Educating Congress on Peace and Security

Two weeks ago, the Stimson Center announced the publication of "Policy Matters: Educating Congress on Peace and Security," a nuts-and-bolts guide to the inner workings of Congress to help Americans who care about foreign policy and responsible U.S. leadership in the world initiate the much-needed dialogue with Congress and add their voices to the debate about these critical issues.

How do those who care about American foreign policy and responsible U.S. leadership in the world educate their elected representatives in Congress? Despite radical changes in the international environment and the emergence of vastly different threats since the end of the Cold War - and especially since September 11th - Congress often seems unable to escape old-fashioned notions of security and to formulate pragmatic, long-term solutions to new challenges. What can informed citizens, community leaders, experts, and nongovernmental organizations do to help shape the ongoing debates about today's most critical international security issues?

For many - including those with years of experience inside the Beltway - Capitol Hill, with its complex committee structures and opaque institutional practices, remains daunting and unfamiliar terrain. But the uninitiated need not despair. With this nuts-and-bolts guide to the inner workings of Congress (including institutional structures and procedures, who does what in a congressional office, and the logistics of garnering interest), engaged citizens are armed with the insights and strategies they need to help put long-term, balanced solutions to the nation's most pressing foreign policy and international security challenges on the radar screens of their elected leaders in Congress.

Drawing on their expertise in the security field and over a dozen years of combined experience on Capitol Hill as aides in Democratic and Republican offices alike, Lorelei Kelly and Elizabeth Turpen offer a unique insider perspective on navigating peace and security issues in Congress. Whether you are an academic who would like to educate a representative, a member of a nongovernmental organization with an important idea to share, or simply a concerned member of the public, Policy Matters will help you better understand the "ins" and "outs" of Congress and assist you in getting your voice heard.