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Natinal Security Council: An Organizaitonal Assessment
Richard A. Best Jr. (au)
The Nat. Security Council (NSC) was established in 1947 to create an interdepartmental body to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and the other departments and agencies of the Government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving the national security. Currently, statutory members of the Council are the President, Vice President, the Sec. of State, and the Sec. of Defense; but, at the Presidentís request, other senior officials participate in NSC deliberations. The Chmn. of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Dir. of National Intelligence are statutory advisers. In 2007 the Sec. of Energy was added to the NSC membership. The President clearly holds final decision-making authority in the executive branch. Over the years, however, the NSC staff has emerged as a major factor in the formulation (and at times in the implementation) of nat. security policy. Similarly, the head of the NSC staff, the Nat. Security Adviser, has played important, and occasionally highly public, roles in policymaking. This report traces the evolution of the NSC from its creation to the present. The organization and influence of the NSC have varied significantly from one Admin. to another, from a highly structured and formal system to loose-knit teams of experts. It is universally acknowledged that the NSC staff should be organized to meet the particular goals and work habits of an incumbent President. The history of the NSC provides ample evidence of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of policymaking structures.
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