Why has U.S. security policy scarcely changed from the Bush to the Obama administrations? The theory of "double government" posed by the 19th century English scholar Walter Bagehot suggests a disquieting answer that is extensively discussed in National Security and Double Government. Michael J. Glennon challenges the myth that U.S. security policy is made through the visible, "Madisonian institutions"-the President, Congress, and the courts, proposing that their roles are largely illusory. Presidential control is nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible. He argues that security policy is really made by the managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies- a concealed "Trumanite network" of several hundred members who are responsible for protecting the nation, and who are primarily immune from constitutional restraints. As such, this new system of "double government" will not correct itself, as to do so would require those branches to exercise the very power that they lack.
Glennon suggests that the main problem is political ignorance, which is becoming more acute as public influence on security policy declines. This book aims to inform and enlighten the reader about the Trumanite network, and highlight the restraints on the Constitution, which operates primarily upon the hollowed-out Madisonian institutions, and poses a grave threat to democratic accountability.