The concept of National Defence is based on the Spanish Constitution and ties the entire society to the safeguard of national sovereignty and interests. It concerns all of the State's components: the citizens as individuals; the society articulated through its constitutive elements; and the public authorities.
The Constitution assigns to the Armed Forces the mission of "guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defending its territorial integrity and constitutional system". It also states that it is incumbent on the King, Head of State and a symbol of its unity and permanence (art. 56.1), to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (art. 62h), as well as, prior authorisation from the Parliament, to declare war and make peace (art. 63.3). It is incumbent on the Government (art. 97) to direct "domestic and foreign policy, civil and military Administration and the State defence".
The Parliament passes the laws regarding Defence, the corresponding budget appropriations and exercises control over the Government's action in Defence matters. Likewise, it grants previous authorisation for international military treaties and conventions and debate the general terms for defence policy and, singularly, the recruiting and modernisation plans. It is set forth that, specifically, the Congress of Deputies is to authorise, in advance, participation of the Armed Forces outside the national territory.
The Minister of Defence is responsible for the development and execution of the Defence policy. He/she specifically assists the Prime Minister in the strategic management of military operations and commands the actions of the Armed Forces under his/her authority. Moreover, the Minister of Defence determines and executes military policy, manages Military Administration and develops the regulation directives and provisions taken on by the Council of Ministers.