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Overview:

The National Security Council (NSC) serves the President’s inner circle of advisers who consult on matters of national security. The White House defines national security as the “defense of the United States, protection of the constitutional system of government, the advancement of United States interests around the globe” … and “America’s opportunity to prosper in the world economy.” The NSC is led by a National Security Advisor (NSA) who, over the years, has come to rival, and in some administrations, exceed the authority of the Secretary of State on foreign policy issues. The NSA and NSC have been at the center of many political controversies, including the decision by the administration of President George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003.

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History:

The National Security Act of 1947 (pdf) is one of the most important pieces of legislation in post-World War II American politics. The act established the foundation for what would later be termed the “national security state,” characterized by a shift in national political power from Congress to the Presidency. The 1947 NSA created the National Security Council (NSC) to advise the President on all foreign policy and military matters. The legislation also established the post of Secretary of Defense who, along with the Secretary of State, helped direct the work and goals of the NSC, and it created a National Military Establishment, Central Intelligence Agency, and National Security Resources Board.

 

In time, the NSC became a means for the President to better control and manage competing executive branch departments involved in national security affairs. President Harry Truman’s NSC was dominated by the State Department, while President Dwight Eisenhower’s preference for military staff oriented the council toward the Pentagon. The NSC staff under Eisenhower coordinated an elaborate structure for monitoring the implementation of policies—a structure that was later dismantled by President John F. Kennedy.

 

JFK initially looked to the Secretary of State’s office to take charge of foreign policy-making, but eventually turned to the NSC and his National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, to take the lead when it became apparent that the State Department lacked the power to keep other departments in line. Kennedy’s freewheeling style tended to erase the distinction between policymaking and operations that President Eisenhower’s regimented staff system so carefully observed.

 

President Lyndon Johnson shared Kennedy’s affinity for relying on the National Security Advisor. Bundy continued in this role until 1966, when he was replaced by Walt Rostow. President Johnson also consulted regularly with his “Tuesday Lunch Group,” an inner circle of aides, and eventually turned to his Secretary of State Dean Rusk to supervise and coordinate interdepartmental activities that involved foreign and military affairs.

 

Under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the NSC was dominated by Henry Kissinger, who at one point held both the National Security Advisor and Secretary of State posts. Kissinger expanded the NSC staff and concentrated it on acquiring analytical information from the various departments that would allow him to provide the President with the best possible range of options for making decisions.

 

This system worked perfectly for President Nixon, who preferred detailed written reports rather than interpersonal meetings. Kissinger concentrated on a handful of major issues and allowed some foreign matters to devolve to the State Department, while weapons and international financial questions were dealt with by the Pentagon and the Treasury Department.

 

Under President Jimmy Carter, the National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, became a principal source of foreign affairs ideas, and the NSC staff was recruited and managed with that in view. The State Department provided institutional memory and served as operations coordinator. This dynamic ultimately produced tension between the NSC and the State Department.

 

A collegial approach to government decision-making was emphasized in the Reagan administration. The National Security Advisor was downgraded, and the White House Chief of Staff exercised more power over foreign policy and military matters. But the collegiality among powerful department heads was not successfully maintained and conflicts became public. The NSC staff tended to emerge as a separate, contending party, led by the largest number of National Security Advisors of any administration. During Reagan’s eight years in office, he had six men serve as the NSA: Richard Allen, William P. Clark, Robert C. McFarlane, John M. Poindexter, Frank C. Carlucci, and Colin L. Powell. Poindexter and McFarlane became the most well-known publicly, thanks to their roles in the Iran-Contra Scandal involving the diversion of funds from arms to sale to Iran that were used to help support the Contra rebels seeking the overthrow of the socialist government of Nicaragua. Their notoriety was eclipsed, however, by an NSC subordinate—Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who functioned as the point person in the White House for the covert operation.

 

President George H. W. Bush brought his own foreign policy experience to his leadership of the National Security Council, having served previously as the ambassador to the United Nations and the Director of Central Intelligence. Bush reorganized the NSC to include a Principals Committee, Deputies Committee, and eight Policy Coordinating Committees. The NSC played key roles during such major developments as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, the invasion of Panama and the Gulf War. 

 

The Clinton administration continued to emphasize a collegial approach within the NSC on national security matters. The NSC membership was expanded to include the Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, the newly created Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who was also head of a newly created National Economic Council, or NEC, parallel to the NSC), the President’s Chief of Staff, and the National Security Advisor.

 

Under President George W. Bush, the NSC—led by Condoleezza Rice until 2005—played key roles in the Global War on Terrorism campaign. This included the effort to round up intelligence that was used to justify the US invasion of Iraq in 2003—intel that ultimately proved inaccurate in regards to Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The NSC also underwent structural changes during the Bush administration, including the addition of a “war czar” who reports directly to the President (see Controversies).

 

In the Obama administration, the NSC was first led by James L. Jones, Jr., a former Marine Corps general, and then in 2010 by Thomas E. Donilon, a former State Department chief of staff in the Clinton administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama approved Presidential Study Directive-1 (pdf), which merged the NSC staff and staff of the Homeland Security Council (HSC) into one National Security Staff to function under the National Security Advisor.  HSC, which was created as a statutory body through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, advises and assists the President with all aspects of homeland security and serves as the mechanism for coordination of all homeland security-related activities among executive departments and agencies of the federal government. In addition to this integrated staff, both councils were made to operate within a single budget. Also, new directorates and positions were established to deal with WMD terrorism, cyber security, information sharing, and border security.

 

Records of the National Security Council, The National Archives

 

History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997

Truman Administration, 1947-1953
Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961
Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963
Johnson Administration, 1963-1969
Nixon Administration, 1969-1974
Ford Administration, 1974-1977
Carter Administration, 1977-1981
Reagan Administration, 1981-1989
Bush Administration, 1989-1992
Clinton Administration, 1993-1997

 

NCS Historical Overview by Presidential Administrations

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What it Does:

The National Security Council (NSC) is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. The function of the NSC is to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies, and it serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

 

The NSC is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees are the Vice President (who serves as chair when the President is absent), the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Advisor (NSA). The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the military adviser to the NSC and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence adviser. The White House Chief of Staff, Counsel to the President and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 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.

 

The NSA is responsible for determining the agenda of NSC meetings, ensuring that necessary papers are prepared and that minutes of meetings and Presidential decisions are recorded. When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC, the NSA works with the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy to perform all of the aforementioned duties.

 

NSC Committees

Less than a month after assuming office in 2001, by President George W. Bush issued a National Security Presidential Directive that reorganized several committees.

 

Originally established by the first President Bush, the NSC Principals Committee (NSC/PC) serves as the senior interagency forum for the council. The NSC/PC is composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, the White House Chief of Staff and the NSA, who chairs the NSC/PC. The White House Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to the Vice President also attend all meetings. The Director of Central Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Attorney General and the director of the Office of Management and Budget attend as needed. Sometimes the White House Counsel is consulted regarding the agenda of NSC/PC meetings. When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC/PC, the committee’s regular attendees include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who chairs for agenda items pertaining to international economics) and sometimes the Secretary of Agriculture.

 

Another Bush I creation, the NSC Deputies Committee (NSC/DC) serves as the senior sub-cabinet interagency forum. The NSC/DC reviews the work of the NSC interagency groups and ensures that issues being brought before the NSC/PC or the NSC have been properly analyzed and prepared for decision. The NSC/DC consists of the Deputy Secretary of State or Under Secretary of the Treasury or Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, the Deputy Secretary of Defense or Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Deputy Attorney General, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President for Policy, the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, who chairs NSC/DC meetings. When international economic issues are on the agenda, the NSC/DC’s regular membership will include the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, a Deputy United States Trade Representative and occasionally the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. The NSC/DC is chaired by the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs for agenda items that principally pertain to international economics. Other senior officials are invited when appropriate.

 

The NSC Policy Coordination Committees (NSC/PCCs) manages the development and implementation of national security policies by multiple federal agencies. The NSC/PCCs function as the day-to-day body for interagency coordination of national security policy. They provide policy analysis for consideration by the more senior committees of the NSC system and ensure timely responses to decisions made by the President. Each NSC/PCC includes representatives from executive departments, offices and agencies represented in the NSC/DC.

 

Six NSC/PCCs are structured around world regions: Europe and Eurasia, Western Hemisphere, East Asia, South Asia, Near East and North Africa, and Africa. Each of these NSC/PCCs is chaired by an official of undersecretary or assistant secretary rank chosen by the Secretary of State. There are also 11 NSC/PCCs based on functional topics (chair indicated in parentheses):

  • Democracy, Human Rights, and International Operations (NSA);
  • International Development and Humanitarian Assistance (Secretary of State);
  • Global Environment (NSA and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy in concert);
  • International Finance (Secretary of the Treasury);
  • Transnational Economic Issues (Assistant to the President for Economic Policy);
  • Counter-Terrorism and National Preparedness (NSA);
  • Defense Strategy, Force Structure, and Planning (Secretary of Defense);
  • Arms Control (NSA);
  • Proliferation, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense (NSA);
  • Intelligence and Counterintelligence (NSA);
  • Records Access and Information Security (NSA).

The Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) functions as an interagency coordinator of trade policy. Issues considered within the TPRG flow through the NSC and/or NEC process, as appropriate.

 

In March 2005, NSA Stephen Hadley announced a reorganization (pdf) of the NSC hierarchal structure. Five Deputy National Security Advisors positions were created responsible for: Iraq and Afghanistan; strategic communication and global outreach; international economics; global democracy strategy; and combating terrorism.

 

In 2009, President Barack Obama created the Cybersecurity Office within the National Security Staff in order to address cyber threats to the nation’s security. This action was taken for the purpose of implementing the recommendations of the Cyber Policy Review (pdf), a report developed as a result of Obama’s order for an examination of the federal government’s efforts to defend U.S. information and communications infrastructure.

 

In July 2011, the NSC released its report, Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security (pdf), a study to aid in the defense of the U.S. against the illicit activities of international criminal networks.

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America 2010 (pdf)

National Strategy for Counterterrorism 2011 (pdf)

The National Security Council: An Organizational Assessment (Congressional Research

Service) (pdf)

 

From the Web Site of the National Security Council

Contact Information

Cybersecurity

Organized Crime Strategy

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Where Does the Money Go:

In 2009, the National Security Council’s (NSC) budget was combined with that of the HSC, and includes the budget for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), which provides the President with expert advice concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection and activities.

 

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Executive Office of the President (pdf) offers the following estimate of expenditures for the NSC/HSC/PIAB budget for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $11,308,000

            Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, assignments

under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, and all employee

benefits.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                    $1,073,000

            Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and

transportation, auto rental, and local transportation.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $216,000

            Includes general supplies, information technology (IT) supplies,

newspaper and magazine subscriptions, government publications.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $210,000

            Includes data, voice, and wireless communications; utilities,

postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Other Contractual Services                                                                      $131,000

            Includes advisory and assistance services, purchases of goods

and services, operations and maintenance of facilities, research and

development contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance

of equipment, or subsistence and support of persons.

Equipment                                                                                                 $56,000

            Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

programming, printers and network devices, office furniture and

equipment (photocopiers, fax machines, telephones).

Printing and Reproduction                                                                         $50,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $4,000

            Includes commercial express delivery, freight and other shipping.

Total FY 2013 Budget Request                                                            $13,048,000

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Controversies:

National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) in 2010 became embroiled in the controversy that  surrounded the killing a year later of a U.S.-born cleric in Yemen.

 

Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, was placed on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “kill or capture” list after the NSC concluded he was threat to national security. NSC officials also participated in a closed-door debate within the Obama administration over whether it was legal for the government to target al-Awlaki.

 

The cleric’s death in a 2011 drone strike sparked a public debate as well over the government’s ability to execute a citizen with no judicial process while relying only on secret intelligence. Civil libertarians and Muslim-American advocates said al-Awlaki’s killing was the same as summary execution without the due process of law guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Constitution.

 

Vicki Divoll, a former CIA lawyer who teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy, pointed out that under U.S. law, the government had to get a warrant in order to obtain al-Awlaki’s cell phone records. But it needed no such court order to kill him. “That makes no sense,” Divoll told The New York Times.

Controversy Over CIA Authorization to Kill U.S. Citizen (by Scott Shane, New York Times)

Judging a Long, Deadly Reach (by Scott Shane, New York Times)

Obama Admin Debates Releasing Awlaki Memo (by Elise Labott and Carol Cratty, CNN)

Panetta: Decision to Kill Americans Suspected of Terrorism Is Obama's (by Adam Serwer, Mother Jones)

Obama Moves To Conceal Drone Death Figures  (by Steve Watson, Infowars.com)

 

Hiring of “War Czar” Prompts Calls to Fire National Security Advisor

When Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute testified before Congress as part of his confirmation hearings to become the new “war czar,” he informed lawmakers that he would be reporting directly to President Bush on all issues involving the Iraq War and military operations in Afghanistan. He also remarked that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley would deal with the president “on matters outside of Iraq [and] Afghanistan.” The testimony stunned leading Democrats and at least one Republican. They appeared taken aback by the extent of the shake-up in Bush’s inner circle of advisers—especially the diminished role Hadley would play.

 

“Afghanistan, Iraq and, related to that, Iran are the most critical foreign policy problems we face, and the national security advisor of the United States has taken his hands off that and given it to you?” asked Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), a former Army officer who described himself as a longtime friend of Lute’s. “Then he [Hadley] should be fired. Because frankly, if he’s not capable of being the individual responsible for those duties and they pass it on to someone else, then why is he there?”

A Shift in Leadership, and Possibly in War (by Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times)

 

 

“War Czar” Joins NSC

Following his reelection in 2004, President George W. Bush decided to shake up his National Security Council team. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice moved on to become Secretary of State, while Rice’s top deputy, Stephen Hadley, took over as NSA. But Hadley did not assume responsibility for overseeing the nation’s top military priorities—Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, President Bush decided to create the position of assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor, or “war czar,” as some began to call it, who would report directly to him on military operations in the two countries.

 

The only problem was that no one wanted the job. Administration officials approached no less than five four-star generals about the position and all of them turned it down. That included retired Marine Gen. John J. “Jack” Sheehan, a former top NATO commander, who told The Washington Post: “The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going.”

 

Sheehan said he believed that Vice President Dick Cheney and his hawkish allies remained more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. “So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks,’” he said.

 

Eventually, President Bush found a taker—Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lute, though, was not supportive of the troop surge ordered by the Bush administration in 2007, leaving some to wonder why he was selected for the job.

Bush Picks General to Coordinate War Policy (by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times)

3 Generals Spurn the Position of War 'Czar' (by Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post)

Bush Taps Skeptic of Buildup as 'War Czar' (by Peter Baker and Robin Wright, Washington Post)

 

 

NSA Condoleezza Rice

During President George W. Bush’s first term, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was often at the center of the administration’s most controversial moments. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, national security officials were some of the most scrutinized by media and lawmakers, who wanted to know how the federal government allowed such an attack to happen. Rice’s actions in particular were examined, especially after it was revealed that two months earlier, in July 2001, CIA Director George Tenet had briefed Rice in an emergency meeting at the White House about the potential threat of an al Qaeda attack.

 

When asked about the meeting in 2006, Rice claimed that she did not recall the specific meeting and that she had met repeatedly with Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. She insisted it was “incomprehensible” that she had ignored terrorist threats two months before 9/11.

 

In March 2004, Rice refused to testify before the 9/11 Commission. Under pressure, President Bush agreed to allow Rice to testify, making her the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy. In April 2007, Rice rejected, on grounds of executive privilege, a House subpoena regarding the false prewar claim that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.

 

In 2003, Rice became one of the most vocal members of the Bush administration as it made its case for going to war against Iraq. After Iraqi officials declared before the United Nations that it had no weapons of mass destruction in December 2002, Rice wrote an editorial published in The New York Times, “Why We Know Iraq Is Lying.”

Records Show Tenet Briefed Rice on Al Qaeda Threat (by Philip Shenon and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times)

“Why We Know Iraq is Lying" A Column by Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Transcript of Rice's 9/11 commission statement

Condoleezza Rice's memoir reveals clashes over Iraq (by Stephanie Condon, CBS News)

 

 

Iran-Contra Figure Tapped for NSC

Shortly after taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush selected a controversial figure from the Reagan years—Elliott Abrams—to serve on the National Security Council. Abrams, who pled guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress during its investigation of the scandal, was selected as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs. At the start of President Bush’s second term, Abrams was promoted to Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy. Abrams was considered by some observers as a good fit for the White House, given his credentials as a “neo-con” like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon deputy Paul Wolfowitz.

Elliott Abrams: It's Back! (by David Corn, The Nation)

Bush Taps Iran-Contra Figure Elliot Abrams to Promote Democracy (Democracy Now!)

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Suggested Reforms:

“War Czar” Calls for Draft

Shortly after assuming his new position as “war czar,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute remarked that the country should consider bringing back the military draft, which the federal government has not operated since the closing days of the Vietnam War.

 

Lute said frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft. “I think it makes sense to certainly consider it,” Lute told National Public Radio. “And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another.”

 

Lute also admitted that restoring the draft would be a “major policy shift” and that the President had made it clear he doesn’t support the idea.

Iraq War Czar: Consider a Draft (Associated Press)

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Former Directors:

James L. Jones, Jr.      January 20, 2009 – October 8, 2010

Stephen Hadley          January 26, 2005 – January 20, 2009            

Condoleezza Rice       January 22, 2001 - January 25, 2005

Samuel R. Berger         March 14, 1997 - January 20, 2001

W. Anthony Lake       January 20, 1993 - March 14, 1997

Brent Scowcroft          January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993

Colin L. Powell           November 23, 1987 - January 20, 1989

Frank C. Carlucci        December 2, 1986 - November 23, 1987

John M. Poindexter    December 4, 1985 - November 25, 1986

Robert C. McFarlane October 17, 1983 - December 4, 1985

William P. Clark          January 4, 1982 - October 17, 1983

Richard V. Allen         January 21, 1981 - January 4, 1982

Zbigniew Brzezinski   January 20, 1977 - January 21, 1981

Brent Scowcroft          November 3, 1975 - January 20, 1977

Henry A. Kissinger     December 2, 1968 - November 3, 1975 (served concurrently as

Secretary of State from September 21, 1973)

Walt W. Rostow         April 1, 1966 - December 2, 1968

McGeorge Bundy       January 20, 1961 - February 28, 1966

Gordon Gray              June 24, 1958 - January 13, 1961

Robert Cutler              January 7, 1957 - June 24, 1958

Dillon Anderson         April 2, 1955 - September 1, 1956

Robert Cutler              March 23, 1953 - April 2, 1955

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Comments

David Millikan 4 years ago
I have for years said we should return to a military draft. After all, why should the same soldiers go to combat year after year without anyone to replace them, and step up to the plate. Freedom is NOT FREE as too many take for granted.

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Founded: 1947
Annual Budget: $13,048,000 (FY 2013 Request; budget includes the Homeland Security Council)
Employees: 77 (FY 2013 Estimate; staff shared with the Homeland Security Council)
National Security Council
Donilon, Thomas
National Security Advisor

 

Other than the fact that both were lobbyists, in choosing Thomas E. Donilon to take over as national security adviser, President Barack Obama could not have selected someone more different in terms of background from his predecessor, James L. Jones. Whereas Jones was a former military general, Donilon has been described as a “backroom technocrat” who has served as political advisor to numerous Democrats. Donilon did spend several years with the State Department during the Clinton administration—experience that supporters played up to demonstrate Donilon’s qualifications for the job. He also spent the first 20½ months of Obama’s presidency as Jones’ deputy.
 
Born in 1955 in Providence, Rhode Island, Donilon attended La Salle Academy, before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University in 1977. Hunter S. Thompson’s book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, which exposed the dark underbelly of the 1972 presidential race, inspired Donilon to go into politics.
 
His entry into Democratic politics began in the Carter White House, where he worked as an intern and served in the Office of Congressional Liaison.
 
In 1980, Donilon, then 24, worked at the Democratic National Convention and helped derail Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s (D-Massachusetts) last-minute bid for the presidential nomination.
 
After Carter lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan, Donilon helped Carter transition back to private life. He also lectured on politics at Catholic University. In 1982, Donilon was technical advisor to the Commission on Presidential Nominations which drafted the nomination rules for the 1984 campaign.
 
Four years later, he served as campaign coordinator for Walter Mondale’s bid for the Oval Office.
 
In 1985, Donilon earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the school’s Law Review. That same year he served as general counsel to the Democratic National Committee’s Convention Site Selection Committee and as co-chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee to the party’s 1988 Rules Commission.
 
The following year Donilon joined the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee to advise the chairman on Supreme Court nominations.
 
But he remained interested in helping get Democrats elected to the White House. During the 1988 contest, Donilon first advised Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) before going on to help his party’s nominee, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
 
Donilon joined the law firm O’Melveny & Meyers in 1991, serving on the firm’s governing committee, heading its strategic counseling practice and advising companies and their boards on a range of “sensitive governance, policy, legal and regulatory matters.” His work included serving as a registered lobbyist for mortgage giant Fannie Mae.
 
But he couldn’t resist being involved in White House affairs, and served as a senior counsel on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 transition team. The following year, he was named chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
 
In 1996, he became assistant secretary of state for public affairs. He visited more than 50 countries in those positions and worked on several major foreign policy initiatives, including the Balkans peace negotiation, the expansion of NATO and the relationship between the U.S. and China.
Donilon left the State Department three years later to accept an executive vice president position at Fannie Mae. He remained at the mortgage company for six years (1999-2005), during which he was accused of exaggerating the health of Fannie Mae’s balance sheet and trying to thwart an investigation into accounting irregularities. Not only did he interfere with an audit by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO, but also tried to launch a separate investigation into OFHEO itself. During the years 2000-2003 he eceived more than $7 million in compensation in the form of cash payments and stock awards.
 
He left Fannie Mae in 2005 to return to O’Melveny, and provided advice to powerful clients like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
 
He also was chosen as a member of the House and Senate Majority’s National Security Advisory Group, which assesses U.S. performance on national security issues.
 
Donilon was invited to join Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, but chose instead to help his old friend Joe Biden seek the nomination, by serving as an adviser on Iraq. When Biden dropped out of the race, Donilon endorsed Obama and helped with the preparations for Obama’s debates with Republican candidate John McCain.. He then served on Obama’s transition team for the State Department, and later became deputy national security adviser on the day Obama was inaugurated, a position he held at the time of his nomination to become national security adviser in October 2010.
 
According to Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, Donilon’s former boss, Jones, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had problems with him. Jones complained that Donilon never bothered to travel to Iraq or Afghanistan to assess the situation there firsthand He has since been to Afghanistan), and Gates reportedly said Donilon would be a “disaster” as national security adviser. Some of the clashes may have been policy-related, as Donilon is said to have opposed Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, a strategy that was promoted by Gates and Jones.
 
Donilon’s wife, Cathy Russell, serves as chief of staff to Joe Biden’s wife, Jill. Donilon’s brother, Mike, is a lawyer and political consultant who has served as counselor to Vice-President Biden.
 
Thomas Donilon (WhoRunsGov)
Thomas E. Donilon (Wikipedia)
Tom Donilon's Revolving Door (by Matthew Mosk, ABC News)
Biography (State Department)
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Jones, James
Previous National Security Advisor
In selecting James L. Jones to be his national security advisor, Barack Obama chose a former Marine Corps general who, at the time of his nomination, sat on the board of directors of a leading oil company (Chevron), a leading weapons manufacturer (Boeing), a leading producer of fingerprint scanners and other security devices (Cross Match), and the leading manufacturer of wheelchairs (Invacare), all of which have large contracts with the federal government. Jones has also lobbied on behalf of the energy industry as president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. Jones assumed the position the day of Obama's inauguration and resigned effective October 8, 2010.
 
Jones was born in Kansas City, MO, on December 19, 1943. His father, James L. Jones, Sr., served in the Marine Corps during World War II and helped develop the first amphibious reconnaissance battalions used by Marines. Jones Jr. spent most of his youth in France, attending the American School of Paris, and speaks fluent French. He returned to the United States to finish high school, living with his aunt and uncle in Alexandria, VA. He then attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and played forward for the Hoya’s basketball team, averaging 0.8 points per game. Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966.
 
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in January 1967 and was sent to Vietnam, where he served as a platoon and company commander with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. While overseas, he was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1968.

Returning to the US in December 1968, Jones was assigned to Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as a company commander until May 1970. He then received orders to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, for duties as a company commander, serving in this assignment until July 1973. He was promoted to captain in December 1970. From July 1973 until June 1974, he was a student at the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA. In November 1974, he received orders to report to the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, where he served as the company commander of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, until December 1975.
 
From January 1976 to August 1979, Jones served in the Officer Assignments Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC. During this assignment, he was promoted to major in July 1977. Remaining in Washington, his next assignment was as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer to the Senate, where he served until July 1984. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1982. Jones was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, DC. Following graduation in June 1985, he was assigned to command the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from July 1985 to July 1987.
 
In August 1987, Jones returned to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as senior aide to the commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to colonel in April 1988 and became the Military Secretary to the Commandant in February 1989. In August 1990, Jones was assigned as the commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, NC. During this tour of duty, he participated in Operation Provide Comfort to protect the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Turkey following the 1991 Gulf War.
 
Jones was advanced to brigadier general on April 23, 1992. He was assigned to duties as deputy director, J-3, US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on July 15, 1992. At this time, he was reassigned as chief of staff of the Joint Task Force Provide Promise for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
 
Returning to the United States, Jones was promoted to major general in July 1994 and was assigned as commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic at Camp Lejeune. He next served as director of the Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations during 1996, then as the deputy chief of staff for plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC. He was advanced to lieutenant general on July 18, 1996.
 
His next assignment was as the military assistant to Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Jones was promoted to general on June 30, 1999, and became the 32nd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1999. Jones assumed duties as the Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe in January 2003. In this capacity, he commanded all US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Forces stationed in Europe. The European Command covers 93 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and portions of the Middle East.
 
Jones retired from the Marines Corps in February 2007. After leaving the military, he became chair of the board for the Atlantic Council of the United States, a non-profit organization that promotes relations between the US and Europe. He led a study conducted by the council that concluded that the US and its NATO allies are not winning in Afghanistan. He also has said that the war in Iraq caused the United States to “take its eye off the ball” in Afghanistan. “Symbolically, [Afghanistan] is more the epicenter of terrorism than Iraq. If we don’t succeed in Afghanistan, you’re sending a very clear message to the terrorist organizations that the US, the UN and the 37 countries with troops on the ground can be defeated.”
 
After returning to civilian life, Jones served as president and chief executive of the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. The institute promotes the expansion of domestic oil and gas production, nuclear energy and clean-coal technology, in addition to investment in renewable and alternative energy sources. Although not a registered lobbyist, Jones’ work for the institute has been described as having lobbied on behalf of energy interests. Some environmental groups and global warming activists view Jones’ environmental record with suspicion.
 
In addition to working for the chamber of commerce, in 2007 Jones joined the board of directors of Boeing, Invacare Corporation, and Cross Match Technologies, and in March 2008, he joined the board of Chevron.
 
James L. Jones Profile (New York Times)
Obama’s Hawk (by Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation)
James L. Jones' Energy Views Worry Some Environmentalists (by Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times)
Blueprint for Securing America’s Energy Future (remarks by General James L. Jones, Institute for 21st Century Energy)
An interview with General James L. Jones (by David Yost, NATO Defense College Research Paper) (PDF)
The Courting of General Jones (by Neil King Jr., Wall Street Journal)
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Overview:

The National Security Council (NSC) serves the President’s inner circle of advisers who consult on matters of national security. The White House defines national security as the “defense of the United States, protection of the constitutional system of government, the advancement of United States interests around the globe” … and “America’s opportunity to prosper in the world economy.” The NSC is led by a National Security Advisor (NSA) who, over the years, has come to rival, and in some administrations, exceed the authority of the Secretary of State on foreign policy issues. The NSA and NSC have been at the center of many political controversies, including the decision by the administration of President George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003.

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History:

The National Security Act of 1947 (pdf) is one of the most important pieces of legislation in post-World War II American politics. The act established the foundation for what would later be termed the “national security state,” characterized by a shift in national political power from Congress to the Presidency. The 1947 NSA created the National Security Council (NSC) to advise the President on all foreign policy and military matters. The legislation also established the post of Secretary of Defense who, along with the Secretary of State, helped direct the work and goals of the NSC, and it created a National Military Establishment, Central Intelligence Agency, and National Security Resources Board.

 

In time, the NSC became a means for the President to better control and manage competing executive branch departments involved in national security affairs. President Harry Truman’s NSC was dominated by the State Department, while President Dwight Eisenhower’s preference for military staff oriented the council toward the Pentagon. The NSC staff under Eisenhower coordinated an elaborate structure for monitoring the implementation of policies—a structure that was later dismantled by President John F. Kennedy.

 

JFK initially looked to the Secretary of State’s office to take charge of foreign policy-making, but eventually turned to the NSC and his National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, to take the lead when it became apparent that the State Department lacked the power to keep other departments in line. Kennedy’s freewheeling style tended to erase the distinction between policymaking and operations that President Eisenhower’s regimented staff system so carefully observed.

 

President Lyndon Johnson shared Kennedy’s affinity for relying on the National Security Advisor. Bundy continued in this role until 1966, when he was replaced by Walt Rostow. President Johnson also consulted regularly with his “Tuesday Lunch Group,” an inner circle of aides, and eventually turned to his Secretary of State Dean Rusk to supervise and coordinate interdepartmental activities that involved foreign and military affairs.

 

Under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the NSC was dominated by Henry Kissinger, who at one point held both the National Security Advisor and Secretary of State posts. Kissinger expanded the NSC staff and concentrated it on acquiring analytical information from the various departments that would allow him to provide the President with the best possible range of options for making decisions.

 

This system worked perfectly for President Nixon, who preferred detailed written reports rather than interpersonal meetings. Kissinger concentrated on a handful of major issues and allowed some foreign matters to devolve to the State Department, while weapons and international financial questions were dealt with by the Pentagon and the Treasury Department.

 

Under President Jimmy Carter, the National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, became a principal source of foreign affairs ideas, and the NSC staff was recruited and managed with that in view. The State Department provided institutional memory and served as operations coordinator. This dynamic ultimately produced tension between the NSC and the State Department.

 

A collegial approach to government decision-making was emphasized in the Reagan administration. The National Security Advisor was downgraded, and the White House Chief of Staff exercised more power over foreign policy and military matters. But the collegiality among powerful department heads was not successfully maintained and conflicts became public. The NSC staff tended to emerge as a separate, contending party, led by the largest number of National Security Advisors of any administration. During Reagan’s eight years in office, he had six men serve as the NSA: Richard Allen, William P. Clark, Robert C. McFarlane, John M. Poindexter, Frank C. Carlucci, and Colin L. Powell. Poindexter and McFarlane became the most well-known publicly, thanks to their roles in the Iran-Contra Scandal involving the diversion of funds from arms to sale to Iran that were used to help support the Contra rebels seeking the overthrow of the socialist government of Nicaragua. Their notoriety was eclipsed, however, by an NSC subordinate—Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who functioned as the point person in the White House for the covert operation.

 

President George H. W. Bush brought his own foreign policy experience to his leadership of the National Security Council, having served previously as the ambassador to the United Nations and the Director of Central Intelligence. Bush reorganized the NSC to include a Principals Committee, Deputies Committee, and eight Policy Coordinating Committees. The NSC played key roles during such major developments as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, the invasion of Panama and the Gulf War. 

 

The Clinton administration continued to emphasize a collegial approach within the NSC on national security matters. The NSC membership was expanded to include the Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, the newly created Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who was also head of a newly created National Economic Council, or NEC, parallel to the NSC), the President’s Chief of Staff, and the National Security Advisor.

 

Under President George W. Bush, the NSC—led by Condoleezza Rice until 2005—played key roles in the Global War on Terrorism campaign. This included the effort to round up intelligence that was used to justify the US invasion of Iraq in 2003—intel that ultimately proved inaccurate in regards to Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The NSC also underwent structural changes during the Bush administration, including the addition of a “war czar” who reports directly to the President (see Controversies).

 

In the Obama administration, the NSC was first led by James L. Jones, Jr., a former Marine Corps general, and then in 2010 by Thomas E. Donilon, a former State Department chief of staff in the Clinton administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama approved Presidential Study Directive-1 (pdf), which merged the NSC staff and staff of the Homeland Security Council (HSC) into one National Security Staff to function under the National Security Advisor.  HSC, which was created as a statutory body through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, advises and assists the President with all aspects of homeland security and serves as the mechanism for coordination of all homeland security-related activities among executive departments and agencies of the federal government. In addition to this integrated staff, both councils were made to operate within a single budget. Also, new directorates and positions were established to deal with WMD terrorism, cyber security, information sharing, and border security.

 

Records of the National Security Council, The National Archives

 

History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997

Truman Administration, 1947-1953
Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961
Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963
Johnson Administration, 1963-1969
Nixon Administration, 1969-1974
Ford Administration, 1974-1977
Carter Administration, 1977-1981
Reagan Administration, 1981-1989
Bush Administration, 1989-1992
Clinton Administration, 1993-1997

 

NCS Historical Overview by Presidential Administrations

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What it Does:

The National Security Council (NSC) is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. The function of the NSC is to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies, and it serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

 

The NSC is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees are the Vice President (who serves as chair when the President is absent), the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Advisor (NSA). The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the military adviser to the NSC and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence adviser. The White House Chief of Staff, Counsel to the President and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 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.

 

The NSA is responsible for determining the agenda of NSC meetings, ensuring that necessary papers are prepared and that minutes of meetings and Presidential decisions are recorded. When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC, the NSA works with the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy to perform all of the aforementioned duties.

 

NSC Committees

Less than a month after assuming office in 2001, by President George W. Bush issued a National Security Presidential Directive that reorganized several committees.

 

Originally established by the first President Bush, the NSC Principals Committee (NSC/PC) serves as the senior interagency forum for the council. The NSC/PC is composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, the White House Chief of Staff and the NSA, who chairs the NSC/PC. The White House Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to the Vice President also attend all meetings. The Director of Central Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Attorney General and the director of the Office of Management and Budget attend as needed. Sometimes the White House Counsel is consulted regarding the agenda of NSC/PC meetings. When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC/PC, the committee’s regular attendees include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who chairs for agenda items pertaining to international economics) and sometimes the Secretary of Agriculture.

 

Another Bush I creation, the NSC Deputies Committee (NSC/DC) serves as the senior sub-cabinet interagency forum. The NSC/DC reviews the work of the NSC interagency groups and ensures that issues being brought before the NSC/PC or the NSC have been properly analyzed and prepared for decision. The NSC/DC consists of the Deputy Secretary of State or Under Secretary of the Treasury or Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, the Deputy Secretary of Defense or Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Deputy Attorney General, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President for Policy, the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, who chairs NSC/DC meetings. When international economic issues are on the agenda, the NSC/DC’s regular membership will include the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, a Deputy United States Trade Representative and occasionally the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. The NSC/DC is chaired by the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs for agenda items that principally pertain to international economics. Other senior officials are invited when appropriate.

 

The NSC Policy Coordination Committees (NSC/PCCs) manages the development and implementation of national security policies by multiple federal agencies. The NSC/PCCs function as the day-to-day body for interagency coordination of national security policy. They provide policy analysis for consideration by the more senior committees of the NSC system and ensure timely responses to decisions made by the President. Each NSC/PCC includes representatives from executive departments, offices and agencies represented in the NSC/DC.

 

Six NSC/PCCs are structured around world regions: Europe and Eurasia, Western Hemisphere, East Asia, South Asia, Near East and North Africa, and Africa. Each of these NSC/PCCs is chaired by an official of undersecretary or assistant secretary rank chosen by the Secretary of State. There are also 11 NSC/PCCs based on functional topics (chair indicated in parentheses):

  • Democracy, Human Rights, and International Operations (NSA);
  • International Development and Humanitarian Assistance (Secretary of State);
  • Global Environment (NSA and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy in concert);
  • International Finance (Secretary of the Treasury);
  • Transnational Economic Issues (Assistant to the President for Economic Policy);
  • Counter-Terrorism and National Preparedness (NSA);
  • Defense Strategy, Force Structure, and Planning (Secretary of Defense);
  • Arms Control (NSA);
  • Proliferation, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense (NSA);
  • Intelligence and Counterintelligence (NSA);
  • Records Access and Information Security (NSA).

The Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) functions as an interagency coordinator of trade policy. Issues considered within the TPRG flow through the NSC and/or NEC process, as appropriate.

 

In March 2005, NSA Stephen Hadley announced a reorganization (pdf) of the NSC hierarchal structure. Five Deputy National Security Advisors positions were created responsible for: Iraq and Afghanistan; strategic communication and global outreach; international economics; global democracy strategy; and combating terrorism.

 

In 2009, President Barack Obama created the Cybersecurity Office within the National Security Staff in order to address cyber threats to the nation’s security. This action was taken for the purpose of implementing the recommendations of the Cyber Policy Review (pdf), a report developed as a result of Obama’s order for an examination of the federal government’s efforts to defend U.S. information and communications infrastructure.

 

In July 2011, the NSC released its report, Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security (pdf), a study to aid in the defense of the U.S. against the illicit activities of international criminal networks.

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America 2010 (pdf)

National Strategy for Counterterrorism 2011 (pdf)

The National Security Council: An Organizational Assessment (Congressional Research

Service) (pdf)

 

From the Web Site of the National Security Council

Contact Information

Cybersecurity

Organized Crime Strategy

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Where Does the Money Go:

In 2009, the National Security Council’s (NSC) budget was combined with that of the HSC, and includes the budget for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), which provides the President with expert advice concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection and activities.

 

The FY 2013 Congressional Budget Submission for the Executive Office of the President (pdf) offers the following estimate of expenditures for the NSC/HSC/PIAB budget for that year:

 

Personnel Compensation & Benefits                                                  $11,308,000

            Includes salaries, terminal leave, premium pay, assignments

under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, and all employee

benefits.

Travel & Transportation of Persons                                                    $1,073,000

            Includes official travel, such as per diem, hotel and

transportation, auto rental, and local transportation.

Supplies and Materials                                                                            $216,000

            Includes general supplies, information technology (IT) supplies,

newspaper and magazine subscriptions, government publications.

Communication, Utilities & Misc. Charges                                             $210,000

            Includes data, voice, and wireless communications; utilities,

postage, and miscellaneous rental charges.

Other Contractual Services                                                                      $131,000

            Includes advisory and assistance services, purchases of goods

and services, operations and maintenance of facilities, research and

development contracts, medical care, operations and maintenance

of equipment, or subsistence and support of persons.

Equipment                                                                                                 $56,000

            Includes IT hardware and software, customized software

programming, printers and network devices, office furniture and

equipment (photocopiers, fax machines, telephones).

Printing and Reproduction                                                                         $50,000

Transportation of Things                                                                            $4,000

            Includes commercial express delivery, freight and other shipping.

Total FY 2013 Budget Request                                                            $13,048,000

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Controversies:

National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) in 2010 became embroiled in the controversy that  surrounded the killing a year later of a U.S.-born cleric in Yemen.

 

Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, was placed on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “kill or capture” list after the NSC concluded he was threat to national security. NSC officials also participated in a closed-door debate within the Obama administration over whether it was legal for the government to target al-Awlaki.

 

The cleric’s death in a 2011 drone strike sparked a public debate as well over the government’s ability to execute a citizen with no judicial process while relying only on secret intelligence. Civil libertarians and Muslim-American advocates said al-Awlaki’s killing was the same as summary execution without the due process of law guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Constitution.

 

Vicki Divoll, a former CIA lawyer who teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy, pointed out that under U.S. law, the government had to get a warrant in order to obtain al-Awlaki’s cell phone records. But it needed no such court order to kill him. “That makes no sense,” Divoll told The New York Times.

Controversy Over CIA Authorization to Kill U.S. Citizen (by Scott Shane, New York Times)

Judging a Long, Deadly Reach (by Scott Shane, New York Times)

Obama Admin Debates Releasing Awlaki Memo (by Elise Labott and Carol Cratty, CNN)

Panetta: Decision to Kill Americans Suspected of Terrorism Is Obama's (by Adam Serwer, Mother Jones)

Obama Moves To Conceal Drone Death Figures  (by Steve Watson, Infowars.com)

 

Hiring of “War Czar” Prompts Calls to Fire National Security Advisor

When Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute testified before Congress as part of his confirmation hearings to become the new “war czar,” he informed lawmakers that he would be reporting directly to President Bush on all issues involving the Iraq War and military operations in Afghanistan. He also remarked that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley would deal with the president “on matters outside of Iraq [and] Afghanistan.” The testimony stunned leading Democrats and at least one Republican. They appeared taken aback by the extent of the shake-up in Bush’s inner circle of advisers—especially the diminished role Hadley would play.

 

“Afghanistan, Iraq and, related to that, Iran are the most critical foreign policy problems we face, and the national security advisor of the United States has taken his hands off that and given it to you?” asked Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), a former Army officer who described himself as a longtime friend of Lute’s. “Then he [Hadley] should be fired. Because frankly, if he’s not capable of being the individual responsible for those duties and they pass it on to someone else, then why is he there?”

A Shift in Leadership, and Possibly in War (by Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times)

 

 

“War Czar” Joins NSC

Following his reelection in 2004, President George W. Bush decided to shake up his National Security Council team. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice moved on to become Secretary of State, while Rice’s top deputy, Stephen Hadley, took over as NSA. But Hadley did not assume responsibility for overseeing the nation’s top military priorities—Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, President Bush decided to create the position of assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor, or “war czar,” as some began to call it, who would report directly to him on military operations in the two countries.

 

The only problem was that no one wanted the job. Administration officials approached no less than five four-star generals about the position and all of them turned it down. That included retired Marine Gen. John J. “Jack” Sheehan, a former top NATO commander, who told The Washington Post: “The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going.”

 

Sheehan said he believed that Vice President Dick Cheney and his hawkish allies remained more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. “So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks,’” he said.

 

Eventually, President Bush found a taker—Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lute, though, was not supportive of the troop surge ordered by the Bush administration in 2007, leaving some to wonder why he was selected for the job.

Bush Picks General to Coordinate War Policy (by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times)

3 Generals Spurn the Position of War 'Czar' (by Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post)

Bush Taps Skeptic of Buildup as 'War Czar' (by Peter Baker and Robin Wright, Washington Post)

 

 

NSA Condoleezza Rice

During President George W. Bush’s first term, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was often at the center of the administration’s most controversial moments. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, national security officials were some of the most scrutinized by media and lawmakers, who wanted to know how the federal government allowed such an attack to happen. Rice’s actions in particular were examined, especially after it was revealed that two months earlier, in July 2001, CIA Director George Tenet had briefed Rice in an emergency meeting at the White House about the potential threat of an al Qaeda attack.

 

When asked about the meeting in 2006, Rice claimed that she did not recall the specific meeting and that she had met repeatedly with Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. She insisted it was “incomprehensible” that she had ignored terrorist threats two months before 9/11.

 

In March 2004, Rice refused to testify before the 9/11 Commission. Under pressure, President Bush agreed to allow Rice to testify, making her the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy. In April 2007, Rice rejected, on grounds of executive privilege, a House subpoena regarding the false prewar claim that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.

 

In 2003, Rice became one of the most vocal members of the Bush administration as it made its case for going to war against Iraq. After Iraqi officials declared before the United Nations that it had no weapons of mass destruction in December 2002, Rice wrote an editorial published in The New York Times, “Why We Know Iraq Is Lying.”

Records Show Tenet Briefed Rice on Al Qaeda Threat (by Philip Shenon and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times)

“Why We Know Iraq is Lying" A Column by Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Transcript of Rice's 9/11 commission statement

Condoleezza Rice's memoir reveals clashes over Iraq (by Stephanie Condon, CBS News)

 

 

Iran-Contra Figure Tapped for NSC

Shortly after taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush selected a controversial figure from the Reagan years—Elliott Abrams—to serve on the National Security Council. Abrams, who pled guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress during its investigation of the scandal, was selected as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs. At the start of President Bush’s second term, Abrams was promoted to Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy. Abrams was considered by some observers as a good fit for the White House, given his credentials as a “neo-con” like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon deputy Paul Wolfowitz.

Elliott Abrams: It's Back! (by David Corn, The Nation)

Bush Taps Iran-Contra Figure Elliot Abrams to Promote Democracy (Democracy Now!)

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Suggested Reforms:

“War Czar” Calls for Draft

Shortly after assuming his new position as “war czar,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute remarked that the country should consider bringing back the military draft, which the federal government has not operated since the closing days of the Vietnam War.

 

Lute said frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft. “I think it makes sense to certainly consider it,” Lute told National Public Radio. “And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another.”

 

Lute also admitted that restoring the draft would be a “major policy shift” and that the President had made it clear he doesn’t support the idea.

Iraq War Czar: Consider a Draft (Associated Press)

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Former Directors:

James L. Jones, Jr.      January 20, 2009 – October 8, 2010

Stephen Hadley          January 26, 2005 – January 20, 2009            

Condoleezza Rice       January 22, 2001 - January 25, 2005

Samuel R. Berger         March 14, 1997 - January 20, 2001

W. Anthony Lake       January 20, 1993 - March 14, 1997

Brent Scowcroft          January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993

Colin L. Powell           November 23, 1987 - January 20, 1989

Frank C. Carlucci        December 2, 1986 - November 23, 1987

John M. Poindexter    December 4, 1985 - November 25, 1986

Robert C. McFarlane October 17, 1983 - December 4, 1985

William P. Clark          January 4, 1982 - October 17, 1983

Richard V. Allen         January 21, 1981 - January 4, 1982

Zbigniew Brzezinski   January 20, 1977 - January 21, 1981

Brent Scowcroft          November 3, 1975 - January 20, 1977

Henry A. Kissinger     December 2, 1968 - November 3, 1975 (served concurrently as

Secretary of State from September 21, 1973)

Walt W. Rostow         April 1, 1966 - December 2, 1968

McGeorge Bundy       January 20, 1961 - February 28, 1966

Gordon Gray              June 24, 1958 - January 13, 1961

Robert Cutler              January 7, 1957 - June 24, 1958

Dillon Anderson         April 2, 1955 - September 1, 1956

Robert Cutler              March 23, 1953 - April 2, 1955

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Comments

David Millikan 4 years ago
I have for years said we should return to a military draft. After all, why should the same soldiers go to combat year after year without anyone to replace them, and step up to the plate. Freedom is NOT FREE as too many take for granted.

Leave a comment

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Founded: 1947
Annual Budget: $13,048,000 (FY 2013 Request; budget includes the Homeland Security Council)
Employees: 77 (FY 2013 Estimate; staff shared with the Homeland Security Council)
National Security Council
Donilon, Thomas
National Security Advisor

 

Other than the fact that both were lobbyists, in choosing Thomas E. Donilon to take over as national security adviser, President Barack Obama could not have selected someone more different in terms of background from his predecessor, James L. Jones. Whereas Jones was a former military general, Donilon has been described as a “backroom technocrat” who has served as political advisor to numerous Democrats. Donilon did spend several years with the State Department during the Clinton administration—experience that supporters played up to demonstrate Donilon’s qualifications for the job. He also spent the first 20½ months of Obama’s presidency as Jones’ deputy.
 
Born in 1955 in Providence, Rhode Island, Donilon attended La Salle Academy, before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University in 1977. Hunter S. Thompson’s book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, which exposed the dark underbelly of the 1972 presidential race, inspired Donilon to go into politics.
 
His entry into Democratic politics began in the Carter White House, where he worked as an intern and served in the Office of Congressional Liaison.
 
In 1980, Donilon, then 24, worked at the Democratic National Convention and helped derail Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s (D-Massachusetts) last-minute bid for the presidential nomination.
 
After Carter lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan, Donilon helped Carter transition back to private life. He also lectured on politics at Catholic University. In 1982, Donilon was technical advisor to the Commission on Presidential Nominations which drafted the nomination rules for the 1984 campaign.
 
Four years later, he served as campaign coordinator for Walter Mondale’s bid for the Oval Office.
 
In 1985, Donilon earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the school’s Law Review. That same year he served as general counsel to the Democratic National Committee’s Convention Site Selection Committee and as co-chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee to the party’s 1988 Rules Commission.
 
The following year Donilon joined the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee to advise the chairman on Supreme Court nominations.
 
But he remained interested in helping get Democrats elected to the White House. During the 1988 contest, Donilon first advised Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) before going on to help his party’s nominee, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
 
Donilon joined the law firm O’Melveny & Meyers in 1991, serving on the firm’s governing committee, heading its strategic counseling practice and advising companies and their boards on a range of “sensitive governance, policy, legal and regulatory matters.” His work included serving as a registered lobbyist for mortgage giant Fannie Mae.
 
But he couldn’t resist being involved in White House affairs, and served as a senior counsel on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 transition team. The following year, he was named chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
 
In 1996, he became assistant secretary of state for public affairs. He visited more than 50 countries in those positions and worked on several major foreign policy initiatives, including the Balkans peace negotiation, the expansion of NATO and the relationship between the U.S. and China.
Donilon left the State Department three years later to accept an executive vice president position at Fannie Mae. He remained at the mortgage company for six years (1999-2005), during which he was accused of exaggerating the health of Fannie Mae’s balance sheet and trying to thwart an investigation into accounting irregularities. Not only did he interfere with an audit by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO, but also tried to launch a separate investigation into OFHEO itself. During the years 2000-2003 he eceived more than $7 million in compensation in the form of cash payments and stock awards.
 
He left Fannie Mae in 2005 to return to O’Melveny, and provided advice to powerful clients like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
 
He also was chosen as a member of the House and Senate Majority’s National Security Advisory Group, which assesses U.S. performance on national security issues.
 
Donilon was invited to join Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, but chose instead to help his old friend Joe Biden seek the nomination, by serving as an adviser on Iraq. When Biden dropped out of the race, Donilon endorsed Obama and helped with the preparations for Obama’s debates with Republican candidate John McCain.. He then served on Obama’s transition team for the State Department, and later became deputy national security adviser on the day Obama was inaugurated, a position he held at the time of his nomination to become national security adviser in October 2010.
 
According to Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, Donilon’s former boss, Jones, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had problems with him. Jones complained that Donilon never bothered to travel to Iraq or Afghanistan to assess the situation there firsthand He has since been to Afghanistan), and Gates reportedly said Donilon would be a “disaster” as national security adviser. Some of the clashes may have been policy-related, as Donilon is said to have opposed Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, a strategy that was promoted by Gates and Jones.
 
Donilon’s wife, Cathy Russell, serves as chief of staff to Joe Biden’s wife, Jill. Donilon’s brother, Mike, is a lawyer and political consultant who has served as counselor to Vice-President Biden.
 
Thomas Donilon (WhoRunsGov)
Thomas E. Donilon (Wikipedia)
Tom Donilon's Revolving Door (by Matthew Mosk, ABC News)
Biography (State Department)
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Jones, James
Previous National Security Advisor
In selecting James L. Jones to be his national security advisor, Barack Obama chose a former Marine Corps general who, at the time of his nomination, sat on the board of directors of a leading oil company (Chevron), a leading weapons manufacturer (Boeing), a leading producer of fingerprint scanners and other security devices (Cross Match), and the leading manufacturer of wheelchairs (Invacare), all of which have large contracts with the federal government. Jones has also lobbied on behalf of the energy industry as president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. Jones assumed the position the day of Obama's inauguration and resigned effective October 8, 2010.
 
Jones was born in Kansas City, MO, on December 19, 1943. His father, James L. Jones, Sr., served in the Marine Corps during World War II and helped develop the first amphibious reconnaissance battalions used by Marines. Jones Jr. spent most of his youth in France, attending the American School of Paris, and speaks fluent French. He returned to the United States to finish high school, living with his aunt and uncle in Alexandria, VA. He then attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and played forward for the Hoya’s basketball team, averaging 0.8 points per game. Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966.
 
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in January 1967 and was sent to Vietnam, where he served as a platoon and company commander with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. While overseas, he was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1968.

Returning to the US in December 1968, Jones was assigned to Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as a company commander until May 1970. He then received orders to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, for duties as a company commander, serving in this assignment until July 1973. He was promoted to captain in December 1970. From July 1973 until June 1974, he was a student at the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA. In November 1974, he received orders to report to the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, where he served as the company commander of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, until December 1975.
 
From January 1976 to August 1979, Jones served in the Officer Assignments Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC. During this assignment, he was promoted to major in July 1977. Remaining in Washington, his next assignment was as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer to the Senate, where he served until July 1984. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1982. Jones was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, DC. Following graduation in June 1985, he was assigned to command the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from July 1985 to July 1987.
 
In August 1987, Jones returned to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as senior aide to the commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to colonel in April 1988 and became the Military Secretary to the Commandant in February 1989. In August 1990, Jones was assigned as the commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, NC. During this tour of duty, he participated in Operation Provide Comfort to protect the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Turkey following the 1991 Gulf War.
 
Jones was advanced to brigadier general on April 23, 1992. He was assigned to duties as deputy director, J-3, US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on July 15, 1992. At this time, he was reassigned as chief of staff of the Joint Task Force Provide Promise for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
 
Returning to the United States, Jones was promoted to major general in July 1994 and was assigned as commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic at Camp Lejeune. He next served as director of the Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations during 1996, then as the deputy chief of staff for plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC. He was advanced to lieutenant general on July 18, 1996.
 
His next assignment was as the military assistant to Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Jones was promoted to general on June 30, 1999, and became the 32nd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1999. Jones assumed duties as the Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe in January 2003. In this capacity, he commanded all US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Forces stationed in Europe. The European Command covers 93 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and portions of the Middle East.
 
Jones retired from the Marines Corps in February 2007. After leaving the military, he became chair of the board for the Atlantic Council of the United States, a non-profit organization that promotes relations between the US and Europe. He led a study conducted by the council that concluded that the US and its NATO allies are not winning in Afghanistan. He also has said that the war in Iraq caused the United States to “take its eye off the ball” in Afghanistan. “Symbolically, [Afghanistan] is more the epicenter of terrorism than Iraq. If we don’t succeed in Afghanistan, you’re sending a very clear message to the terrorist organizations that the US, the UN and the 37 countries with troops on the ground can be defeated.”
 
After returning to civilian life, Jones served as president and chief executive of the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. The institute promotes the expansion of domestic oil and gas production, nuclear energy and clean-coal technology, in addition to investment in renewable and alternative energy sources. Although not a registered lobbyist, Jones’ work for the institute has been described as having lobbied on behalf of energy interests. Some environmental groups and global warming activists view Jones’ environmental record with suspicion.
 
In addition to working for the chamber of commerce, in 2007 Jones joined the board of directors of Boeing, Invacare Corporation, and Cross Match Technologies, and in March 2008, he joined the board of Chevron.
 
James L. Jones Profile (New York Times)
Obama’s Hawk (by Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation)
James L. Jones' Energy Views Worry Some Environmentalists (by Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times)
Blueprint for Securing America’s Energy Future (remarks by General James L. Jones, Institute for 21st Century Energy)
An interview with General James L. Jones (by David Yost, NATO Defense College Research Paper) (PDF)
The Courting of General Jones (by Neil King Jr., Wall Street Journal)
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