2015-2016 Congressional National Security Scorecard

The Center for Security Policy is pleased to release its twelfth National Security Scorecard since its first in 1994. As with previous iterations, it is designed to illuminate the voting record of members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives on important defense and foreign policy issues.

Toward that end, this edition of the National Security Scorecard conforms to the approach taken in previous versions. We have selected Congressional votes on the basis of their significance to the vital security policy interests of the United States. We have, moreover, selected votes that offer real insights into the attitude of the legislators casting them concerning critical national security issues of the day.

Such considerations prompt us generally to exclude near-unanimous votes, non-controversial or hortatory resolutions, or votes on final passage of each chambers’ annual defense spending bills or their conference reports.

It is important to note that while the scorecard is a critical tool for analyzing a legislator’s national security record, it is not the only measure of that record. By definition, scorecards look only at issues that were brought to a vote – they do not capture statements or other forms of discussion and debate, on and off Capitol Hill, that also contribute to the totality of a legislator’s views.

In producing this year’s National Security Scorecard, the Center for Security Policy hopes to assist the American people in understanding the performance of their elected officials with respect to vital national security issues—and to encourage greater accountability on the part of Senators and Members of Congress for their votes in this portfolio.

Scores are bases upon the legislator’s aggregate record on these important votes. If, for example, a Senator was absent for two of the examined votes, but cast his or her remaining votes in a pro-national security way, he or she would receive a total score of 100%. The same applies for votes taken before a Senator assumed office in mid-term; votes for the session from before he or she started serving do not count towards the total votes cast.

View the scorecard here.