United States National Security Council

The White House National Security Council (NSC) is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for consideration of national security, military matters, and foreign policy matters with senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Since its inception under Harry S. Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies. The Council has counterparts in the national security councils of many other nations.

United States National Security Council
Seal of the Executive Office of the President of the United States 2014
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 18, 1947
HeadquartersEisenhower Executive Office Building
Agency executives
Parent agencyExecutive Office of the President of the United States
WebsiteNational Security Council Website
NationalSecurityCouncilMeeting
President Barack Obama at an NSC Meeting in the Situation Room. Participants include Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, NSC Advisor Gen. James "Jim" Jones, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair, Deputy National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, White House Counsel Greg Craig, CIA Director Leon Panetta, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
William Flynn Martin at National Security Council meeting
Ronald Reagan's National Security Council. Participants include George Shultz, William F. Martin, Cap Weinberger, Colin Powell and Howard Baker.

History

The predecessor to the National Security Council was the National Intelligence Authority (NIA) which was established by President Harry S. Truman's Executive Letter of 22 January 1946 to oversee the Central Intelligence Group, the CIA's predecessor. The NIA was composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, and the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.

The National Security Council was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. It was created because policymakers felt that the diplomacy of the State Department was no longer adequate to contain the USSR in light of the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States.[1] The intent was to ensure coordination and concurrence among the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and other instruments of national security policy such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), also created in the National Security Act. In 2004, the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was created, taking over the responsibilities previously held by the head of CIA, the Director of Central Intelligence, as a cabinet-level position to oversee and coordinate activities of the Intelligence Community.[2]

On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama merged the White House staff supporting the Homeland Security Council (HSC) and the National Security Council into one National Security Staff (NSS). The HSC and NSC each continue to exist by statute as bodies supporting the President.[3] The name of the staff organization was changed back to National Security Council Staff in 2014.[4]

On January 29, 2017, President Donald Trump restructured the Principals Committee (a subset of the full National Security Council), while at the same time altering the attendance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence.[5] On April 5, 2017, President Trump removed Steve Bannon from the Security Council.[6]

According to National Security Presidential Memorandum 2, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence were to sit on the Principals Committee as and when matters pertaining to them arise, but will remain part of the full National Security Council.[7][8] However, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus clarified the next day that they still are invited to attend meetings.[9] With National Security Presidential Memorandum 4 in April 2017, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "shall" attend Principals Committee meetings and included the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency as a regular attendee.[10] The reorganization also placed the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development as a permanent member of the Deputies Committee, winning moderate praise.[11]

On 6 April 2017, the White House Chief Strategist was removed from the National Security Council and the roles of the director of national intelligence, CIA director and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were restored to the Principal's Committee.[12]

Detailed history

For a detailed history of the United States National Security Council by year see:

Authority and powers

The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947 (PL 235 – 61 Stat. 496; U.S.C. 402), amended by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 (63 Stat. 579; 50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.). Later in 1949, as part of the Reorganization Plan, the Council was placed in the Executive Office of the President.

The High Value Detainee Interrogation Group also reports to the NSC.[13]

Kill authorizations

A secret National Security Council panel pursues the killing of an individual, including American citizens, who has been called a suspected terrorist.[14] In this case, no public record of this decision or any operation to kill the suspect will be made available.[14] The panel's actions are justified by "two principal legal theories": They "were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001; and they are permitted under international law if a country is defending itself."[14]

Homeland Security Advisor John O. Brennan, who has helped codify targeted killing criteria by creating the Disposition Matrix database, has described the Obama Administration targeted killing policy by stating that "in order to ensure that our counterterrorism operations involving the use of lethal force are legal, ethical, and wise, President Obama has demanded that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and processes".[15]

Reuters has reported that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was on such a kill list and was killed accordingly.[14]

On February 4, 2013, NBC published a leaked Department of Justice memo providing a summary of the rationale used to justify targeted killing of US citizens who are senior operational leaders of Al-Qa'ida or associated forces.[16]

Membership

The Trump Administration's National Security Council, as per the statute[17] and National Security Presidential Memorandum–4, is chaired by the President. Its members are the Vice President (statutory), the Secretary of State (statutory), the Secretary of Defense (statutory), the Secretary of Energy (statutory), the National Security Advisor (non-statutory), the Attorney General (non-statutory), the Secretary of Homeland Security (non-statutory), the Representative of the United States to the United Nations (non-statutory), and the Secretary of the Treasury (non-statutory).[18][17]

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, the Director of National Intelligence is the statutory intelligence advisor, and the Director of National Drug Control Policy is the statutory drug control policy advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, White House Counsel, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are also regularly invited to attend NSC meetings. The Attorney General, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.

Structure of the United States National Security Council[19]
Chairman President
Statutory Attendees[20] Vice President
Secretary of State
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of the Treasury
Military Advisor (and regular attendee) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff[21]
Intelligence Advisor (and regular attendee) Director of National Intelligence[21]
Drug Policy Advisor Director of National Drug Control Policy
Regular Attendees National Security Advisor
Deputy National Security Advisor
Homeland Security Advisor
Attorney General
White House Chief of Staff
Additional Participants Secretary of Homeland Security
White House Counsel
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
Ambassador to the United Nations
Director of Office of Management and Budget
Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs[21]

Principals Committee

The Principals Committee of the National Security Council is the Cabinet-level senior interagency forum for consideration of national security policy issues. The Principals Committee is convened and chaired by the National Security Advisor. The regular attendees of the Principals Committee are the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the White House Chief of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Homeland Security Advisor, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.[10] .... The White House Counsel, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Deputy National Security Advisor, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, the National Security Advisor to the Vice President, and the NSC Executive Secretary may also attend all meetings of the Principals Committee. When considering international economic issues, the Principals Committee's regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.[22]

Deputies Committee

The National Security Council Deputies Committee is the senior sub-Cabinet interagency forum for consideration of national security policy issues. The Deputies Committee is also responsible for reviewing and monitoring the interagency national security process including for establishing and directing the Policy Coordination Committees.[23] The Deputies Committee is convened and chaired by the Deputy National Security Advisor or the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor.[22]

Regular members of the Deputies Committee are the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, the Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Attorney General, the Deputy Secretary of Energy, the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Advisor to the Vice President, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Invitations to participant in or attend specific meetings are extended to Deputy or Under Secretary level of executive departments and agencies and to other senior officials when relevant issues are discussed. The Executive Secretary and the Deputy White House Counsel also attend. The relevant Senior Director on the National Security Council staff is also invited to attend when relevant.[22]

Policy Coordination Committees

The Policy Coordination Committees of the National Security Council, established and directed by the Deputies Committee, are responsible for the management of the development and implementation of national security policies through interagency coordination. Policy Coordination Committees are the main day-to-day fora for interagency coordination of national security policy development, implementation and analysis in aide of the Deputies Committee and the Principals Committee. Policy Coordination Committees are chaired by Senior Directors on the National Security Council staff, or sometimes National Economic Council staff, with Assistant Secretary-level officials from the relevant executive department or agency acting as co-chairs.[22]

See also

References

  1. ^ Encyclopedia of American foreign policy, 2nd ed. Vol. 2, New York: Scribner, 2002, National Security Council, 22 April 2009
  2. ^ Directors of Central Intelligence as Leaders of the US Intelligence Community, Douglas F. Garthoff, 2007, cia.gov
  3. ^ Helene Cooper (May 26, 2009). "In Security Shuffle, White House Merges Staffs". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Caitlin Hayden (February 10, 2014). "NSC Staff, the Name Is Back! So Long, NSS" (Press release). whitehouse.gov. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Merrit Kennedy (January 29, 2017). "With National Security Council Shakeup, Steve Bannon Gets A Seat At The Table". NPR. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  6. ^ Jennifer Jacobs (April 5, 2017). "Bannon Loses National Security Council Role in Trump Shakeup". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  7. ^ "Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary. January 31, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  8. ^ Jim Garamone (January 31, 2017). "No Change to Chairman's Status as Senior Military Adviser, Officials Say". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Alan Yuhas (January 29, 2017). "Trump chief of staff: defense officials not off NSC after Bannon move". The Guardian. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  10. ^ a b [1] Lawfare Blog NSPM-4: "Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees": A Summary
  11. ^ Scott Morris (February 7, 2017). "Maybe the Trump Administration Just Elevated Development Policy, or Maybe Not". Center for Global Development. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  12. ^ BBC (April 6, 2017). "Steve Bannon loses National Security Council seat". BBC News. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Ed Barnes (May 12, 2010). "Elite High Value Interrogation Unit Is Taking Its First Painful Steps". Fox News Channel. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d Mark Hosenball (October 5, 2011). "Secret panel can put Americans on "kill list"". Reuters. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  15. ^ John O. Brennan (April 30, 2012). The Efficacy and Ethics of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy (Speech). Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  16. ^ Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or An Associated Force (PDF) (Report). United States Department of Justice.
  17. ^ a b "50 U.S. Code § 3021 - National Security Council". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  18. ^ "National Security Presidential Memorandum–4 of April 4, 2017" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Organization of the National Security Council System" (PDF). February 13, 2009.
  20. ^ "National Security Council". WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c Office of the Press Secretary (January 28, 2017). "Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council" (PDF) (Press release). White House Office. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  22. ^ a b c d [2] Federal Register National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM-4)
  23. ^ [3] White House Office of the Press Secretary Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council

Further reading

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Archives and Records Administration.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the White House.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Justice.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the U.S. Government Publishing Office.  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Congressional Research Service.

C. Farris Bryant

Cecil Farris Bryant (July 26, 1914 – March 1, 2002) was the 34th Governor of Florida. He also served on the United States National Security Council and in the Office of Emergency Planning during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Daniel B. Shapiro

Daniel B. "Dan" Shapiro (born August 1, 1969) is a diplomat and former Ambassador of the United States of America to the State of Israel. He was nominated by President Barack Obama on March 29, 2011, and confirmed by the Senate on May 29. He was sworn in as ambassador by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 8, 2011.

Previously, he was the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa on the United States National Security Council. As an Obama administration political appointee, Shapiro was ordered on January 5, 2017, to resign upon the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Deputy National Security Advisor (United States)

The Deputy National Security Advisor is a member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and the United States National Security Council, serving under the President's National Security Advisor.

Among other responsibilities, the Deputy National Security Advisor often serves as Executive Secretary to the National Security Council Principals Committee, and as chairman of the National Security Council Deputies Committee. The role changes according to the organizational philosophy and staffing of each White House and there are often multiple deputies to the National Security Advisor charged with various areas of focus.The position is currently being held by Charles Kupperman since 2019.

EXCOMM

The Executive Committee of the National Security Council (commonly referred to as simply the Executive Committee or ExComm) was a body of United States government officials that convened to advise President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. It was composed of the regular members of the National Security Council, along with other men whose advice the President deemed useful during the crisis. EXCOMM was formally established by National Security Action Memorandum 196 on October 22, 1962. It was made up of twelve full members in addition to the president. Advisers frequently sat in on the meetings, which were held in the Cabinet Room of the White House's West Wing and secretly recorded by tape machines activated by Kennedy. None of the other committee members knew the meetings were being recorded, save probably the president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

History of the United States National Security Council 1947–53

This is a history of the United States National Security Council during the Truman Administration, 1947–1953.

History of the United States National Security Council 1961–63

This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the Kennedy Administration, 1961–1963. The National Security Council is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials.

President John F. Kennedy, who was strongly influenced by the report of the Jackson Subcommittee and its severe critique of the Eisenhower NSC system, moved quickly at the beginning of his administration to deconstruct the NSC process and simplify the foreign policy-making process and make it more intimate. In a very short period after taking office, the new President moved to reduce the NSC staff from 74 to 49, limit the substantive officers to 12, and hold NSC meetings much less frequently while sharply curtailing the number of officers attending. The Operation Coordination Board was abolished, and the NSC was, at the President's insistence, pulled back from monitoring the implementation of policies. The coordination of foreign policy decisions was ostensibly left to the State Department (and other agencies as necessary).

McGeorge Bundy's appointment as the President's National Security Advisor inaugurated this position as it has essentially continued down to the present. The definition of Bundy's responsibilities and authority unfolded and grew during the Kennedy presidency. Bundy's considerable intellectual and bureaucratic abilities as well as close personal relationship with the new President contributed much to evolution of the National Security Advisor position and the new role of the NSC. In a letter to Senator Jackson in September 1961 Bundy sought to define the early relationship sought with the State Department.

. . . the President has made it very clear that he does not want a large, separate organization between him and his Secretary of State. Neither does he wish any question to arise as to the clear authority and responsibility of the Secretary of State, not only in his own Department, and not only in such large-scale related areas as foreign aid and information policy, but also as the agent of coordination in all our major policies toward other nations.

The Department of State's apparent failure effectively to coordinate the administration's response to the Bay of Pigs Invasion crisis in early 1961 led to a series of measures aimed at providing the President with better independent advice from the government. It also sparked the NSC process to reenter the arena of monitoring the implementation of policy. The most important step in this direction was the establishment of the Situation Room in the White House in May 1961. The Sit Room, located next to Bundy's office in the basement of the West Wing of the White House, was directly linked to all the communication channels of the State Department and the Department of Defense, as well as to some of the channels of the CIA. The Sit Room allowed the President and his foreign affairs advisers to keep abreast of all the cable traffic from overseas posts. More than anything else, the Sit Room allowed Bundy and his NSC staff to expand their involvement in the international activities of foreign affairs community and become, in essence, "a little State Department."

As National Security Advisor, Bundy divided his work with his Deputy, Walt Rostow (and later Carl Kaysen). While Bundy dealt with the immediate day-to-day crises and the range of European affairs, Rostow focused upon long-term planning with a particular concentration on Latin American affairs. Kaysen focused upon foreign trade and economic affairs matters that became increasingly important in the latter part of the Kennedy Presidency.

In addition to Bundy and the NSC staff, President Kennedy reached out still further for foreign affairs advice. Early in 1961 the President appointed General Maxwell Taylor to serve as his military representative and provide liaison with the government agencies and defense and intelligence establishments on military-political issues confronting the administration. Taylor in effect took up the role filled by Admiral Leahy in the Roosevelt White House. General Taylor advised the President on military matters, intelligence, and Cold War planning and paid special attention to the continuing Berlin crisis and growing difficulties in Indochina. The Taylor-Rostow mission to Indochina at the end of 1961 and the resulting report led to military decisions on aid to South Vietnam and the entry of the United States into the Vietnamese quagmire. Taylor had a very personal connection with the President and was not replaced in 1962 when he left. But in 1962 Kennedy appointed former State Department Under Secretary Chester Bowles to serve as his Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs. Bowles had not survived conflicts with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and his appointment to the White House was partly compensatory. His brief was seemingly intended to be the development of policy toward the Third World, but after a year he left Washington to become Ambassador to India.

The NSC continued to meet during the Kennedy Presidency, but far less frequently than had been the case under his predecessor. It met fifteen times during the first six months of 1961, then averaged one meeting a month for the rest of his presidency, reaching a total of 49 meetings. "Much that used to flow routinely to the weekly meetings of the Council is now settled in other ways, Bundy reported in September 1961. Some of the NSC activities were taken up by a smaller, more select body called the Standing Group. This small NSC coordinating panel was chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and included the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and Bundy. It considered a wide range of foreign affairs issues at 14 meetings the last of which was in August 1962. The Standing Group resumed in April 1963 with Bundy as its chairman and with the added membership of the Attorney General, the Chairman of the JCS, the Under Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of USIA, and Administrator of AID. It also met 14 times during the remainder of the Kennedy Presidency.

The Kennedy administration abandoned the Eisenhower-era efforts at long-range planning in favor of a heavy reliance upon ad hoc inter-agency working groups functioning in a "crisis management" atmosphere. The leadership in these special groups did not automatically fall to the State Department. Trusted officials from other agencies or outside the foreign affairs community often took the lead. There were special groups on counter-insurgency (chaired by General Taylor), on Vietnam, and the Berlin crisis, the latter presided over by former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. The Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EXCOMM) was established in the autumn of 1962 to manage the emerging Cuban Missile Crisis. A much smaller group than the NSC, it consisted of the President as chairman, the Vice President, the Secretaries of State, Defense, and the Treasury, the Attorney General (the President's brother), the Director of Central Intelligence, and Chairman of the JCS as well as National Security Advisor Bundy. After the missile crisis was successful weathered, the EXCOMM continued to meet with Cuba as its primary subject but with discussions of other matters during its 42 meetings between October 1962 and March 1963.

U.S. covert actions and paramilitary activity during the Kennedy administration were administered generally outside the NSC system. Following the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco in early 1961, the President reconstituted the 5412 Committee that monitored covert actions as the Special Group. Chaired by National Security Advisor Bundy, the new body included the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Under Secretaries from the State and Defense Departments. This body reviewed and endorsed a number of covert action projects in the first 2 years of the Kennedy Presidency. President Kennedy also added to the responsibilities of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), originally created by President Eisenhower in 1956. Kennedy met with the Board 12 times and conferred frequently with individual members. The Board reviewed a wide range of intelligence matters and made some 120 recommendations to the President.

In effect, Bundy had the first and last words on policy. He worked in close proximity to the President who valued highly his competence and opinions; he served on most major ad hoc committees and the Executive Committee, and he attended the occasional formal meetings of the National Security Council. It is possible to overemphasize Bundy's substantive skewing of Presidential policy formulation. Most observers credited him with being scrupulously fair in presenting opinions of the agencies to the President, even when they conflicted with his own. He offered his views to Kennedy only when specifically asked. Bundy's influence was oblique rather than direct. Essentially, he served an administrative function and did not seek to advance a personal overview of American security and foreign policy. The most significant aspect of Bundy's tenure as Kennedy's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs was that he headed an aggressive Presidential staff that believed its job was to protect the President's interests, provide him with independent advice, and lead a recalcitrant bureaucracy toward his policies. In addition, Bundy was an effective channel to the President for his activist staff.

History of the United States National Security Council 1969–74

This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the Nixon Administration, 1969–1974.

U.S. President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, dominated the making of US foreign policy during the Nixon Presidency. As Nixon recalled in his memoirs: "From the outset of my administration... I planned to direct foreign policy from the White House. Therefore I regarded my choice of a National Security Adviser as crucial." Henry Kissinger worked through a National Security Council apparatus he revised and fashioned to serve his needs and objectives and those of the President.

The close relationship between the President and the National Security Advisor was the basis for their ability to carry out American foreign affairs leadership around the world. The National Security Council system was the mechanism for the period of unprecedented American activity in foreign policy and the exercise of Kissinger's growing power. Kissinger wrote later that "in the final analysis the influence of a Presidential Assistant derives almost exclusively from the confidence of the President, not from administrative arrangements." The two men developed a conceptual framework that would guide foreign policy decisions. Kissinger's intellectual ability, his ambition, and his frequent discussions with Nixon were all factors in increasing within the government both his own power and the unchallenged authority of the NSC system he personally directed.

The Kissinger NSC system sought to combine features of the Johnson and Eisenhower systems. The Senior Interdepartment Group (SIG) of the Johnson White House was replaced by an NSC Review Group (somewhat similar to the Eisenhower-era NSC Planning Group) together with an NSC Under Secretary's Committee. The Kissinger NSC relied upon interdepartmental working groups (IGs) to prepare for NSC directives. Critics observed that 10 IG meetings prepared the way for each SIG-level meeting, and 5 SIG meetings were needed to prepare for each NSC meeting.

White House direction of foreign policy meant the eclipse of the Department of State and Secretary William P. Rogers. Nixon did not trust the Department bureaucracy. According to Kissinger, Nixon picked Rogers, who was inexperienced in foreign affairs, to indicate that the President would dominate the relationship between the NSC and the Department of State. Throughout Nixon's first term, only Kissinger participated in the President's important discussions with foreign state visitors. Nixon excluded Rogers from his first meeting with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin in February 1969. The NSC also took control of the process of clearing key policy cables to overseas posts. Kissinger and Rogers became rivals and developed formal contacts in place of substantive discussions.

The NSC (Department of State) power relationship was reflected in institutional arrangements. During the transition period before Nixon assumed power, Kissinger recommended that the NSC be buttressed by a structure of subcommittees to draft analyses of policy that would present clear decision options to the President. The National Security Advisor was to be chairman of a Review Group to screen interagency papers before their presentation to the full NSC chaired by the President. Nixon insisted on the abolition of the SIG chaired by the Department of State. These recommendations were incorporated in National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) 2, issued shortly after Nixon's inauguration on January 20, 1969. NSDM 2 was rightly perceived as a victory for Kissinger and helped to establish his foreign policy authority at the outset of the administration.

Kissinger moved quickly to establish the policy dominance of the NSC. He expanded its staff from 12 to 34; not only was it the cadre for his centralized policy-making, but it was also his antennae throughout the bureaucratic structure. In the President's name, Kissinger set the NSC agendas and issued the numerous National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM) that set forth the precise needs for interagency policy papers. An NSC Under Secretaries Committee, chaired by the Deputy Secretary of State, gradually withered away. By the time the increasingly complicated committee structure was settled, Kissinger chaired six NSC-related committees: the Senior Review Group (non-crisis, non-arms control matters), the Washington Special Actions Group (serious crises), the Verification Panel (arms control negotiations), the 40 Committee (clandestine operations), the Intelligence Committee (policy for the intelligence community), and the Defense Program Review Committee (relation of the defense budget to foreign policy aims).

Kissinger also increasingly bypassed the Department of State to supervise personally sensitive negotiations in order to avoid what he and President Nixon agreed were likely bureaucratic disputes and inertia. The President made clear that he wanted the National Security Advisor to conduct important matters directly out of his office. Nearly every foreign ambassador called upon Kissinger at least once. With Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin, Kissinger maintained a special relationship that completely bypassed the Department of State and Secretary Rogers. Dobrynin was told by Kissinger to deal with the Secretary of State only on a limited range of less vital matters. Kissinger also maintained similar relationships with Communist Chinese leader Zhou Enlai and Israeli Ambassador Rabin.

In carrying on his activist, operational undertakings, Kissinger relied upon special controlled communications. CIA communications were used for his "back channel" messages so that the Department of State was kept in the dark. He also used the White House Communication Agency including the use of special aircraft as communication centers. With his negotiations in Paris in 1971 regarding Vietnam and with the Soviet Union in advance of summit meetings, Kissinger was a traveling negotiator, and the NSC was a system on the move. Jeanne Davis, the NSC Executive Secretary, also facilitated the handling of sensitive correspondence by propelling the NSC staff into the computer age with a document tracking system unheard of by Kissinger's predecessors.

The waning of Nixon's power during the Watergate affair further increased Kissinger's influence. On September 22, 1973, Kissinger became United States Secretary of State, replacing Rogers. For the first time, one individual held simultaneously the positions of National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. On October 6 the 1973 Arab-Israeli war erupted; Kissinger continued his use of "back channel" communications and his traveling negotiations with the Arabs and Israelis. On November 5, Kissinger inaugurated the phase of negotiations since known as "shuttle diplomacy".Under these unique circumstances, Kissinger strengthened his institutional base as the administration's principal foreign policy adviser. Kissinger later admitted, however, that the union of the two positions did not work. Department of State representatives were his subordinates while he wore his Secretary of State hat. When he chaired a meeting, they had to represent his point of view or else all interdepartmental matters would be outside his control. Kissinger indicated he was in an inherently absurd position of either pushing his Department's views as chairman or dissociating himself from his subordinates.

History of the United States National Security Council 1974–77

President Ford assumed office at a very tense time for both American foreign relations and domestic politics. America's credibility in the world was imperiled by its humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam, and the war there was shortly to come to an end with the annexation of America's ally South Vietnam by the North. In domestic politics, the scandal of Watergate had rocked the American political system and left widespread cynicism in the press and among the public about Washington. Ford, a conservative by nature, set out to preserve both Washington's standing at home, and America's abroad.

Ford's room for maneuver in foreign policy was decidedly limited, given the constraints placed on him by domestic politics following the effective loss of the Vietnam War. Nor did Ford desire to bring about decisive change in this field, as he was not a man of Wilsonian vision. Hence, he kept Henry A. Kissinger as both Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. 'I need you,' Ford told Kissinger. 'The country needs you'.This move was much criticized as Ford suffered from claims throughout his entire term that he was inexperienced in foreign affairs. Opponents of Kissinger claimed that the latter would be the dominant influence on Ford's foreign policy, and his continuation in the dual roles was proof of this. In fact, Ford had accrued experience in foreign policy while serving on the Defence Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, and had been a committed internationalist since his time serving in the Pacific in World War II. He was largely in agreement with Kissinger on the important issues of American foreign policy, which was mostly in a reactive mode for most of Ford's tenure anyway.

Ford felt Kissinger was essential to provide continuity following the constitutional crisis of Watergate. Himself untarnished by the scandal, Kissinger was able to continue to serve his dual roles on the National Security Council. However, when Ford began to think about re-election in 1975, Kissinger quickly came to be seen as a political liability by the President Ford Committee, the group set up to seek Ford's re-election in 1976. When Ford had taken power, it appeared that one key to his success would be building upon the foreign policy successes of President Nixon, his predecessor. But by mid-1975 these seemed to have unravelled, with South Vietnam annexed, the policy of détente with the Soviet Union undermined by the latter's interventions in the Angolan Civil War and relations with China at a stand-still. Ford's political advisors were clamouring for a change.

Hence, there was a Cabinet shakeup on November 3, 1975, and Ford named Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Kissinger's deputy at the NSC, as National Security Advisor. This was largely a move for show. Scowcroft was the perfect neutral manager of the National Security Council, as he would be later under the first President Bush. He saw his job as to mediate between the various agencies represented at the Council and report the various policy options to the President. He managed a toned-down version of the Kissinger NSC system that was compatible with the Secretary of State's role as the President's chief foreign policy adviser. As such, this did not lead to any diminishing of Kissinger's importance in actual terms, as Ford continued to have faith in his abilities and opinions.

The defining moment of crisis for the NSC during Ford's tenure came during the Mayagüez incident. On May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge forces seized the merchant ship SS Mayagüez and the National Security Council met to consider the American response. Transcripts of the meetings show Kissinger arguing for a forceful response and winning out, claiming that the U.S. had to present a strong front to the new Communist regimes in Indochina. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller argued that if the U.S. did not respond forcefully to this event, then it risked being 'nibbled to death' by a series of small affronts. There was no serious dissension within the NSC on this issue, and a rescue attempt was duly launched by U.S. Marines.

History of the United States National Security Council 1981–89

This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, 1981–1989.

History of the United States National Security Council 1989–93

This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the first Bush Administration, 1989–1993.

After serving eight years as Vice President and participating in the momentous foreign affairs events of the Reagan Administration, President George H. W. Bush made many changes in the NSC machinery reformed by Frank Carlucci and Colin Powell. On the date of his inauguration, January 20, 1989, President Bush issued NSD (1 providing the charter for NSC administration. A Policy Review Group was enlarged to a Committee, the Deputy National Security Adviser managed the Deputies Committee, and a Principals Committee screened matters for the NSC to consider. Eight Policy Coordinating Committees assumed regional and functional responsibilities in place of the multiple interagency groups from the Reagan era. NSC policy papers were named National Security Review papers (NSRs) and National Security Directives (NSDs) to distinguish them from the Reagan era documentation.

President Bush brought deep experience to the NSC leadership with his appointment of General Brent Scowcroft as National Security Advisor. Scowcroft had served in the Kissinger NSC, had been National Security Adviser in the last years of the Ford administration, and had chaired the President's Board examining the Iran–Contra affair. Robert Gates served as Deputy National Security Adviser under Scowcroft until his appointment as Director of Central Intelligence in 1991. Scowcroft's direction of the NSC was distinguished by the informality but intensity of the relationship with the President. The NSC also maintained good relationships with the other agencies, and Secretary of State James Baker and Scowcroft appear to have maintained the most comradely working terms. Through the collapse of the USSR and the unification of Germany, the United States invasion of Panama in December 1989, and Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the NSC worked effectively in facilitating a series of American foreign policy successes. Nor did Scowcroft fail to involve in key operations Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger, such as when he visited the People's Republic of China in July 1989 to try to improve U.S. relations with China in the aftermath of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

History of the United States National Security Council 1993–present

This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council, 1993 to the present.

James Franklin Collins

James Franklin Collins (born June 4, 1939) is a former United States Ambassador to Russia. A career Foreign Service Officer in the State Department, he is a Russian specialist.

Michael Armacost

Michael Hayden Armacost (born April 15, 1937) is a fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute. He was the president of the Brookings Institution from 1995 to 2002.

National Security Act of 1947

The National Security Act of 1947 was a major restructuring of the United States government's military and intelligence agencies following World War II. The majority of the provisions of the Act took effect on September 18, 1947, the day after the Senate confirmed James Forrestal as the first Secretary of Defense.The Act merged the Department of War (renamed as the Department of the Army) and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (NME), headed by the Secretary of Defense. It also created the Department of the Air Force and the United States Air Force, which separated the Army Air Forces into its own service. It also protected the Marine Corps as an independent service, under the Department of the Navy.

Aside from the military reorganization, the act established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S.'s first peacetime non-military intelligence agency.

National Security Advisor (United States)

The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor (NSA) or at times informally termed the NSC Advisor, is a senior aide in the Executive Office of the President, based at the West Wing of the White House, who serves as the chief in-house advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. The National Security Advisor is appointed by the President and does not require confirmation by the Senate, but an appointment of a three or four-star general to the role requires Senate reconfirmation of military rank.The National Security Advisor participates in meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) and usually chairs meetings of the Principals Committee of the NSC with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense (the meetings not attended by the President). The National Security Advisor is supported by NSC staff who produce research and briefings for the National Security Advisor to review and present, either to the National Security Council or directly to the President.

National Security Council Deputies Committee

The National Security Council Deputies Committee (DC) is a committee of the United States National Security Council and the senior sub-Cabinet interagency forum for consideration of national security policy issues by the United States Government.

National Security Study Memorandum 200

National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200) was completed on December 10, 1974 by the United States National Security Council under the direction of Henry Kissinger.

It was adopted as official US policy by US President Gerald Ford in November 1975. It was classified for a while but was obtained by researchers in the early 1990s.

Thomas E. McNamara

Thomas E. "Ted" McNamara (born 1940) is a United States diplomat and State Department official.

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