Over the past nine months, little-noticed but important changes have taken place at the National Security Council (NSC) under President Trump’s leadership. The NSC has been restored to its historic and intended role and key reforms have resulted in an important series of national security accomplishments for the American people.
The National Security Council was established in 1947 to “advise the president with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security.” The word “advise” is important. While the principal members of the Council – the secretary of defense and the secretary of state, for instance, oversee executive branch departments that execute foreign policy – the NSC staff at the White House advises the president and coordinates policy.
The National Security Council assists the president by ensuring that he receives the best views and options from the various departments and agencies on any given issue. The ultimate policies are, as they should be, then decided upon by the president – not by the NSC staff or the national security adviser. Thereafter, the NSC ensures that the departments and agencies actually execute the president’s decisions.
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This “honest broker” role for the National Security Council was best implemented