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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 6 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

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
McMaster, H.R.
National Security Advisor

President Donald Trump’s choice to succeed Michael Flynn as national security advisor, announced February 20, 2017, was Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a combat veteran whose positions often seem diametrically opposed to those of Flynn and, indeed, to those of Trump himself. Whereas Trump has made statements like, “Islam hates us,” and Flynn stated that “Islam is a political ideology masked behind a religion,” McMaster has repeatedly referred to terrorist organizations like ISIS as being un-Islamic because terrorism is a perversion of Islam.

 

Herbert Raymond McMaster was born July 24, 1962, in Philadelphia. His father was an Army enlisted man during the Korean War, and then was directly commissioned as a captain during the Vietnam War. McMaster’s mother was a teacher. He has a sister, Letitia.

 

McMaster got a jump start on a military career while attending Valley Forge Military Academy, where he played football and baseball. After graduating in 1980, McMaster went on to the United States Military Academy at West Point, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1984.

 

McMaster had initially decided to go into Army Aviation, but a flight physical revealed a previously undiagnosed astigmatism, so he went into Armor instead. His first assignment was the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In 1989, McMaster was transferred to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Division in Germany, and it was with this unit that he went to war in Operation Desert Storm.

 

McMaster began to build his reputation in the Battle of 73 Easting, which was named for map coordinates. McMaster led nine tanks, 12 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 136 Cavalry troopers into battle against more than 80 tanks of the Iraqi Republican Guard. The U.S. forces routed the Iraqis without the loss of a single American tank.

 

Upon returning to the United States, McMaster earned an M.A. (1994) and a Ph.D. (1996) in American history from the University of North Carolina. He taught history at West Point during this period as well. His doctoral dissertation, “From Distrust to Deceit: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Civil-Military Conflict, and Planning the Escalation of American Military Intervention in Vietnam, 1961-1964,” later was turned into a 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The dissertation and book criticized high-ranking military officers for their failure to stand up to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara concerning their strategy for prosecuting the war. “The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the pages of The New York Times or on the college campuses,” McMaster concluded. “It was lost in Washington, D.C.” He added, “The failings were many and reinforcing: arrogance, weakness, lying in pursuit of self-interest, and above all, the abdication of responsibility to the American people.” McMaster’s book was well-received and is now on some official military reading lists, but caused career problems for him later on.

 

McMaster graduated from United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1999 and then got command of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. He also was a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from 2002 to 2003. Following that, McMaster took staff and operational jobs at U.S. Central Command, which ran the war in Iraq.

 

In 2005, McMaster scored another combat victory, but one that also temporarily hurt his career. In fighting against Al Qaeda in the Battle of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, near the Syrian border, McMaster used counter-insurgency techniques that included working to get the city’s civilian population on the side of the American forces. McMaster, quoted by Jon Finer, who covered the battle for The Washington Post, laid out his strategy in five steps:

First, “if we go in and fight and then reduce our presence, the enemy will move to where there are insufficient security forces, because the Iraqi security forces can’t withstand them yet.”

Second, “you have to defeat the enemy’s campaign of intimidation over the population by providing security for people who cooperate with you. You cannot allow retribution.”

Third, you need to “clarify your intentions to people by developing relationships, by action, by dialogue with people and by addressing local grievances.”

Fourth, “this means being out in the city. We could stay in our F.O.B. [Forward Operating Base] and eat mini pizzas and ice cream and redeploy in a year, but that won’t win the war.”

Fifth, “do everything you can to minimize destruction. If that happens, it’s the enemy’s fault. We’re not booby-trapping buildings, putting explosives in the ground, sniping indiscriminately. We’re fighting the people doing that. We don’t want to kill this city, we want to bring it back to life.”

McMaster’s troops took back Tal Afar. But his unorthodox tactics had upset some of his superiors. In 2006, he left Iraq to do research at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, as a senior research associate. Then a colonel, McMaster was passed over twice, in 2006 and 2007, for brigadier general and he could have been forced out of the Army. However, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren brought in Gen. David Petraeus, who had been McMaster’s commander, to lead a promotion board with the charge of evaluating several successful war-fighters, including McMaster. In 2008, McMaster earned his star.

 

He subsequently served in Afghanistan as commander of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force and in 2012 was promoted to major general when he took over the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. McMaster earned his current rank, lieutenant general, in 2014, when he was made deputy commanding general of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at the Training and Doctrine Command in Langley, Virginia.

 

McMaster showed in Tal Afar and has subsequently said that rather than taking an anti-Muslim stance, the United States should join forces with Muslim-majority countries to fight the Islamic State. Another contrast with Trump’s philosophy was outlined in an April 2015 speech at the University of South Florida, when McMaster said “the military-industrial complex may represent a greater threat to us than at any time in history.” McMaster also warned about military strategy think tanks that are actually funded by defense contractors.

 

McMaster and his wife, Kathleen Trotter, have been married since 1985. They have three daughters: Katharine, Colleen and Caragh.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

H.R. McMaster Is Hailed as the Hero of Iraq’s Tal Afar. Here’s What That Operation Looked Like. (by Jon Finer, Washington Post)

Trump Just Hired the Army’s Smartest Officer (by Fred Kaplan, Slate)

The Insurgent in the White House (by James Kitfield, Politico)

H.R. McMaster Isn’t a Bigot, Making Him an Outlier on Trump’s National Security Team (by Zaid Jilani and Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept)

General Dissects U.S. Approach to War in Speech at USF (by Howard Altman, Tampa Bay Times)

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Flynn, Michael
Previous National Security Advisor

Former Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn was named in November 2016 by then-president-elect Donald Trump to head the National Security Council and serve as his National Security Advisor. The three-star general had been forced out of his previous job, as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a year early because, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote, he was “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc.” adding that he “has been and was right-wing nutty ever since.” Responsible for providing advice and counsel to the President on matters of national security, the National Security Advisor serves at the pleasure of the President and does not require Senate confirmation. Flynn recently suggested that he generally agrees with Trump on issues like using of torture, killing of terror suspects’ families, and a ban on all Muslim immigration.

 

Flynn’s tenure in the powerful White House post lasted all of 25 days. On February 13, 2017, he tendered his resignation after a behind-the-scenes controversy brewing at the highest levels of government exploded into the open, prompting bipartisan concern in Congress over Flynn’s alleged lies to government officials, as well as calls for an investigation.

 

The focus of the controversy were phone calls that Flynn had made to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s taking office as president, which included discussion of the sanctions against Russia that Obama had imposed that very day in response to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Flynn subsequently assured Vice-President Mike Pence that no such discussion had taken place, causing Pence to repeat those assurances on national television. However, a recording of the calls by U.S. intelligence officials proved that Flynn had lied. Trump was alerted to this in January by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who warned that Flynn could be at risk of blackmail by Russian officials. Weeks later, when questioned by reporters, Trump denied knowing anything about the matter, but accepted Flynn’s resignation when the full story was disclosed in the press.

 

Flynn has claimed that his April 2014 firing from his DIA directorship was politically motivated by those critical of his views that the U.S. is “in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam,” and that “Islam is a political ideology masked behind a religion.” In a tweet on February 26, Flynn said, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

 

In fact, The Washington Post reported that Flynn was being fired from DIA less because of his arguable Islamophobia and more because his ambitious scheme to expand DIA met strong opposition from the CIA and from budget conscious legislators on Capitol Hill, and it reportedly caused friction between Flynn and other senior intelligence officials. According to Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Flynn demonstrated such a loose relationship with facts that his subordinates referred to his frequently repeated dubious assertions as “Flynn facts.”

 

Born in December 1958 in Middletown, Rhode Island, Michael Flynn is one of nine children of Helen and Charles Flynn, who was a small-town banker. Growing up, Michael Flynn worked at local restaurants and as a lifeguard, graduating Middletown High School in 1977. Flynn earned a B.S. in Management at the University of Rhode Island, where he participated in the ROTC program, in 1981. Flynn has since earned an MBA in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University, an M.A. in Military Arts and Sciences from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.

 

Commissioned an Army second lieutenant in 1981, Flynn became an intelligence officer, platoon leader, and then instructor in his early days. Flynn’s assignments included multiple tours at Ft Bragg, North Carolina with the 82d Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps, and Joint Special Operations Command, where he served as a platoon leader in the 1983 invasion of Grenada and chief of joint war plans during the 1994 invasion of Haiti. He also has served with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the Army’s Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

 

Flynn served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from June 2001 and the Director of Intelligence, Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July, 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004, and was director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as the director of intelligence, United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008, and director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 11, 2008 to June 14, 2009. Flynn assumed duties as director of intelligence, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010. In January 2010, he co-authored a trenchant critique of American intelligence in Afghanistan that enhanced his reputation as an independent thinker. In it he wrote:

 

Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy. Having focused the overwhelming majority of its collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade. Ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced, incurious about the correlations between various development projects and the levels of cooperation among villagers, and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers – whether aid workers or Afghan soldiers – U.S. intelligence officers and analysts can do little but shrug in response to high level decision-makers seeking the knowledge, analysis, and information they need to wage a successful counterinsurgency.

 

Flynn’s years in Iraq and Afghanistan were not without controversy. Most notably, the horrific examples of torture and abuse of prisoners that were carried out at Camp Nama in Baghdad took place while Flynn was in charge. For reasons of secrecy, it is difficult to sort out Flynn’s role in the illegal and inhumane activities. He is given credit for cleaning up the most extreme practices; what is unclear is whether he did so because they were morally wrong or merely inefficient.

 

From September 2011 to April 2012, Flynn was assistant director of national intelligence for partner engagement at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C.

 

After being fired from DIA, Flynn ran Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm that provides intelligence services for business and governments. The firm’s shadowy ties to the repressive regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including Flynn’s election-day Op-Ed attack on Erdoğan opponent Fethullah Gulen without disclosing the firm’s being paid by a company with ties to Erdogan's government, have raised serious ethical questions, especially since the article’s pro-Turkey slant constituted a reversal in Flynn’s public positions on Turkey.

 

Flynn also took strong criticism for his paid attendance at a lavish event for Russian propaganda organ RT News, at which he was seated next to Vladimir Putin. In addition, Flynn sat in on classified national security briefings with then-candidate Trump at the same time that Flynn was working for foreign clients, which raises ethical concerns and conflicts of interest. Flynn has promised to sever connections with his firm.

 

According to NBC News, former State Department official David Phillips, who directs the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, accused Flynn of being “bought.”

 

“He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar,” said Phillips to NBC. “The fact that he published that article on Election Day tells us he never thought his candidate was going to win.”

 

Flynn’s high profile role in the Trump campaign, including leading “lock her up” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the GOP convention, drew criticism from friends and former colleagues, including retired General Stanley A. McChrystal and retired Admiral Michael Mullen (a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), who urged Flynn to show more restraint, advice Flynn rejected.

 

Flynn is the co-author of The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.

 

Flynn is married to his high school sweetheart, Lori Andrade; they have two sons. His brother, Charles A. Flynn, was promoted to Army Brigadier General in September 2011; Michael Flynn pinned the General’s Star on his brother. In honor of this, the State of Rhode Island and the Town of Middletown proclaimed it “Generals Flynn Day.” 

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Trump’s Pick for National Security Adviser Brings Experience and Controversy (by Greg Miller, Washington Post)

Michael Flynn, Anti-Islamist Ex-General, Offered Security Post, Trump Aide Says (by Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman, New York Times)

He was one of the Most Respected Intel Officers of his Generation. Now He’s leading ‘Lock her up’ Chants. (by Dana Priest and Greg Miller, Washington Post)

Intelligence Aide Flynn re McChrystal: “Everyone Has a Dark Side” (by Jim White, Emptywheel)

Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan (by Michael T. Flynn et al, Center for a New American Security) (pdf)

Saluting A Family Legacy (by Jan Wenzel, Quadangles)

In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse (by Eric Schmitt and Carolyn Marshall, New York Times) 

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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 6 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
McMaster, H.R.
National Security Advisor

President Donald Trump’s choice to succeed Michael Flynn as national security advisor, announced February 20, 2017, was Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a combat veteran whose positions often seem diametrically opposed to those of Flynn and, indeed, to those of Trump himself. Whereas Trump has made statements like, “Islam hates us,” and Flynn stated that “Islam is a political ideology masked behind a religion,” McMaster has repeatedly referred to terrorist organizations like ISIS as being un-Islamic because terrorism is a perversion of Islam.

 

Herbert Raymond McMaster was born July 24, 1962, in Philadelphia. His father was an Army enlisted man during the Korean War, and then was directly commissioned as a captain during the Vietnam War. McMaster’s mother was a teacher. He has a sister, Letitia.

 

McMaster got a jump start on a military career while attending Valley Forge Military Academy, where he played football and baseball. After graduating in 1980, McMaster went on to the United States Military Academy at West Point, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1984.

 

McMaster had initially decided to go into Army Aviation, but a flight physical revealed a previously undiagnosed astigmatism, so he went into Armor instead. His first assignment was the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In 1989, McMaster was transferred to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Division in Germany, and it was with this unit that he went to war in Operation Desert Storm.

 

McMaster began to build his reputation in the Battle of 73 Easting, which was named for map coordinates. McMaster led nine tanks, 12 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 136 Cavalry troopers into battle against more than 80 tanks of the Iraqi Republican Guard. The U.S. forces routed the Iraqis without the loss of a single American tank.

 

Upon returning to the United States, McMaster earned an M.A. (1994) and a Ph.D. (1996) in American history from the University of North Carolina. He taught history at West Point during this period as well. His doctoral dissertation, “From Distrust to Deceit: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Civil-Military Conflict, and Planning the Escalation of American Military Intervention in Vietnam, 1961-1964,” later was turned into a 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The dissertation and book criticized high-ranking military officers for their failure to stand up to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara concerning their strategy for prosecuting the war. “The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the pages of The New York Times or on the college campuses,” McMaster concluded. “It was lost in Washington, D.C.” He added, “The failings were many and reinforcing: arrogance, weakness, lying in pursuit of self-interest, and above all, the abdication of responsibility to the American people.” McMaster’s book was well-received and is now on some official military reading lists, but caused career problems for him later on.

 

McMaster graduated from United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1999 and then got command of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. He also was a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from 2002 to 2003. Following that, McMaster took staff and operational jobs at U.S. Central Command, which ran the war in Iraq.

 

In 2005, McMaster scored another combat victory, but one that also temporarily hurt his career. In fighting against Al Qaeda in the Battle of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, near the Syrian border, McMaster used counter-insurgency techniques that included working to get the city’s civilian population on the side of the American forces. McMaster, quoted by Jon Finer, who covered the battle for The Washington Post, laid out his strategy in five steps:

First, “if we go in and fight and then reduce our presence, the enemy will move to where there are insufficient security forces, because the Iraqi security forces can’t withstand them yet.”

Second, “you have to defeat the enemy’s campaign of intimidation over the population by providing security for people who cooperate with you. You cannot allow retribution.”

Third, you need to “clarify your intentions to people by developing relationships, by action, by dialogue with people and by addressing local grievances.”

Fourth, “this means being out in the city. We could stay in our F.O.B. [Forward Operating Base] and eat mini pizzas and ice cream and redeploy in a year, but that won’t win the war.”

Fifth, “do everything you can to minimize destruction. If that happens, it’s the enemy’s fault. We’re not booby-trapping buildings, putting explosives in the ground, sniping indiscriminately. We’re fighting the people doing that. We don’t want to kill this city, we want to bring it back to life.”

McMaster’s troops took back Tal Afar. But his unorthodox tactics had upset some of his superiors. In 2006, he left Iraq to do research at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, as a senior research associate. Then a colonel, McMaster was passed over twice, in 2006 and 2007, for brigadier general and he could have been forced out of the Army. However, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren brought in Gen. David Petraeus, who had been McMaster’s commander, to lead a promotion board with the charge of evaluating several successful war-fighters, including McMaster. In 2008, McMaster earned his star.

 

He subsequently served in Afghanistan as commander of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force and in 2012 was promoted to major general when he took over the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. McMaster earned his current rank, lieutenant general, in 2014, when he was made deputy commanding general of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at the Training and Doctrine Command in Langley, Virginia.

 

McMaster showed in Tal Afar and has subsequently said that rather than taking an anti-Muslim stance, the United States should join forces with Muslim-majority countries to fight the Islamic State. Another contrast with Trump’s philosophy was outlined in an April 2015 speech at the University of South Florida, when McMaster said “the military-industrial complex may represent a greater threat to us than at any time in history.” McMaster also warned about military strategy think tanks that are actually funded by defense contractors.

 

McMaster and his wife, Kathleen Trotter, have been married since 1985. They have three daughters: Katharine, Colleen and Caragh.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

H.R. McMaster Is Hailed as the Hero of Iraq’s Tal Afar. Here’s What That Operation Looked Like. (by Jon Finer, Washington Post)

Trump Just Hired the Army’s Smartest Officer (by Fred Kaplan, Slate)

The Insurgent in the White House (by James Kitfield, Politico)

H.R. McMaster Isn’t a Bigot, Making Him an Outlier on Trump’s National Security Team (by Zaid Jilani and Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept)

General Dissects U.S. Approach to War in Speech at USF (by Howard Altman, Tampa Bay Times)

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Flynn, Michael
Previous National Security Advisor

Former Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn was named in November 2016 by then-president-elect Donald Trump to head the National Security Council and serve as his National Security Advisor. The three-star general had been forced out of his previous job, as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a year early because, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote, he was “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc.” adding that he “has been and was right-wing nutty ever since.” Responsible for providing advice and counsel to the President on matters of national security, the National Security Advisor serves at the pleasure of the President and does not require Senate confirmation. Flynn recently suggested that he generally agrees with Trump on issues like using of torture, killing of terror suspects’ families, and a ban on all Muslim immigration.

 

Flynn’s tenure in the powerful White House post lasted all of 25 days. On February 13, 2017, he tendered his resignation after a behind-the-scenes controversy brewing at the highest levels of government exploded into the open, prompting bipartisan concern in Congress over Flynn’s alleged lies to government officials, as well as calls for an investigation.

 

The focus of the controversy were phone calls that Flynn had made to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s taking office as president, which included discussion of the sanctions against Russia that Obama had imposed that very day in response to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Flynn subsequently assured Vice-President Mike Pence that no such discussion had taken place, causing Pence to repeat those assurances on national television. However, a recording of the calls by U.S. intelligence officials proved that Flynn had lied. Trump was alerted to this in January by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who warned that Flynn could be at risk of blackmail by Russian officials. Weeks later, when questioned by reporters, Trump denied knowing anything about the matter, but accepted Flynn’s resignation when the full story was disclosed in the press.

 

Flynn has claimed that his April 2014 firing from his DIA directorship was politically motivated by those critical of his views that the U.S. is “in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam,” and that “Islam is a political ideology masked behind a religion.” In a tweet on February 26, Flynn said, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

 

In fact, The Washington Post reported that Flynn was being fired from DIA less because of his arguable Islamophobia and more because his ambitious scheme to expand DIA met strong opposition from the CIA and from budget conscious legislators on Capitol Hill, and it reportedly caused friction between Flynn and other senior intelligence officials. According to Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Flynn demonstrated such a loose relationship with facts that his subordinates referred to his frequently repeated dubious assertions as “Flynn facts.”

 

Born in December 1958 in Middletown, Rhode Island, Michael Flynn is one of nine children of Helen and Charles Flynn, who was a small-town banker. Growing up, Michael Flynn worked at local restaurants and as a lifeguard, graduating Middletown High School in 1977. Flynn earned a B.S. in Management at the University of Rhode Island, where he participated in the ROTC program, in 1981. Flynn has since earned an MBA in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University, an M.A. in Military Arts and Sciences from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.

 

Commissioned an Army second lieutenant in 1981, Flynn became an intelligence officer, platoon leader, and then instructor in his early days. Flynn’s assignments included multiple tours at Ft Bragg, North Carolina with the 82d Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps, and Joint Special Operations Command, where he served as a platoon leader in the 1983 invasion of Grenada and chief of joint war plans during the 1994 invasion of Haiti. He also has served with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the Army’s Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

 

Flynn served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from June 2001 and the Director of Intelligence, Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July, 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004, and was director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as the director of intelligence, United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008, and director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 11, 2008 to June 14, 2009. Flynn assumed duties as director of intelligence, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010. In January 2010, he co-authored a trenchant critique of American intelligence in Afghanistan that enhanced his reputation as an independent thinker. In it he wrote:

 

Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy. Having focused the overwhelming majority of its collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade. Ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced, incurious about the correlations between various development projects and the levels of cooperation among villagers, and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers – whether aid workers or Afghan soldiers – U.S. intelligence officers and analysts can do little but shrug in response to high level decision-makers seeking the knowledge, analysis, and information they need to wage a successful counterinsurgency.

 

Flynn’s years in Iraq and Afghanistan were not without controversy. Most notably, the horrific examples of torture and abuse of prisoners that were carried out at Camp Nama in Baghdad took place while Flynn was in charge. For reasons of secrecy, it is difficult to sort out Flynn’s role in the illegal and inhumane activities. He is given credit for cleaning up the most extreme practices; what is unclear is whether he did so because they were morally wrong or merely inefficient.

 

From September 2011 to April 2012, Flynn was assistant director of national intelligence for partner engagement at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C.

 

After being fired from DIA, Flynn ran Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm that provides intelligence services for business and governments. The firm’s shadowy ties to the repressive regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including Flynn’s election-day Op-Ed attack on Erdoğan opponent Fethullah Gulen without disclosing the firm’s being paid by a company with ties to Erdogan's government, have raised serious ethical questions, especially since the article’s pro-Turkey slant constituted a reversal in Flynn’s public positions on Turkey.

 

Flynn also took strong criticism for his paid attendance at a lavish event for Russian propaganda organ RT News, at which he was seated next to Vladimir Putin. In addition, Flynn sat in on classified national security briefings with then-candidate Trump at the same time that Flynn was working for foreign clients, which raises ethical concerns and conflicts of interest. Flynn has promised to sever connections with his firm.

 

According to NBC News, former State Department official David Phillips, who directs the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, accused Flynn of being “bought.”

 

“He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar,” said Phillips to NBC. “The fact that he published that article on Election Day tells us he never thought his candidate was going to win.”

 

Flynn’s high profile role in the Trump campaign, including leading “lock her up” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the GOP convention, drew criticism from friends and former colleagues, including retired General Stanley A. McChrystal and retired Admiral Michael Mullen (a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), who urged Flynn to show more restraint, advice Flynn rejected.

 

Flynn is the co-author of The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.

 

Flynn is married to his high school sweetheart, Lori Andrade; they have two sons. His brother, Charles A. Flynn, was promoted to Army Brigadier General in September 2011; Michael Flynn pinned the General’s Star on his brother. In honor of this, the State of Rhode Island and the Town of Middletown proclaimed it “Generals Flynn Day.” 

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Trump’s Pick for National Security Adviser Brings Experience and Controversy (by Greg Miller, Washington Post)

Michael Flynn, Anti-Islamist Ex-General, Offered Security Post, Trump Aide Says (by Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman, New York Times)

He was one of the Most Respected Intel Officers of his Generation. Now He’s leading ‘Lock her up’ Chants. (by Dana Priest and Greg Miller, Washington Post)

Intelligence Aide Flynn re McChrystal: “Everyone Has a Dark Side” (by Jim White, Emptywheel)

Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan (by Michael T. Flynn et al, Center for a New American Security) (pdf)

Saluting A Family Legacy (by Jan Wenzel, Quadangles)

In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse (by Eric Schmitt and Carolyn Marshall, New York Times) 

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