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National Security Council or NSC was created and established by the National Security Act of 1947 (The White House 2006). Later, it incorporated the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 and placed in the Executive Office of the President as part of the Reorganization Plan in the same year. Its chairman is the President and its regular attendees are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, th Secretary of Defense and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (The White House, Longley 2007). The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is its statutory advisor, while the Director of National Intelligence is its intelligence advisor. The Chief of Staff of the President, the Counsel to the President, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Attorney General, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the heads of other executive departments and other senior officials are invited to attend the Council's meetings when appropriate. The NSC is the President's principal forum for matters concerning national security and foreign policy. Since its beginnings during the term of President Harry Truman, the Council has performed the function of advising and assisting the President on these issues and matters. It has also served as the President's principal arm in coordinating such policies in the different government agencies (The White House, Longley).
The establishment of the NSC has been the response to the need of each administration to develop and perfect a reliable set of executive institutions, which would manage its national security policy (Office of the Historian 1997). Each President was guided by the deficiencies of his predecessors and wanted to set up a system, which would reflect his individual or preferred management style. The NSC has, thus, been modified to suit the needs and preferences of each administration. The National Security Act of July 26, 1947 created the NSC with the President as Chairman and the Secretaries of State and Defense as its key members. Its principal function is to coordinate foreign policy and defense policy and incorporate diplomatic and military requirements. It also provided for a Secretary of Defense, a National Military Establishment, a Central Intelligence Agency and a National Security Resources Board. Because the NSC was several times modified to adapt to the preferences of each President, it came to be viewed as subservient to him alone. And because its role is to establish collegiality among the departments, it also came to be viewed as a means to controlling and managing opposed departments (Office of the Historian).
The structure and workings of the NSC largely depend on the harmony between the President and his principal advisers and department heads (Office of the Historian 1997). But a suitable organizational structure had to be formed to enable the flow of necessary information and implementation of decisions. For 50 years, 10 Presidents have endeavored to use the NSC to integrate their foreign and defense policies in preserving the nation's security as well as promote its interests in the world. As outlined and established in 1947 under the administration of former President Truman, it was to advise the President on the integration of domestic, foreign and military policies affecting or relating to national security as well as facilitate interagency cooperation. The President can direct the NSC to evaluate risks to national security in considering policies and require the Council to report and make recommendations on these risks. The 1947 Act did not provide for the position of a national security adviser. Its staff did not have a significant role in formulating or implementing national security policies. It, however, provided top-level coordination of the departments of Defense, Navy and Forrestal (Office of the Historian).
The 1947 Act directs the Director of Central Intelligence to prepare a comprehensive outline of national intelligence objectives applicable to foreign countries and areas to guide the NSC staff in making the selections on priority interest. The Director shall issue these selections to guide the production of national intelligence by the Central Intelligence Agency and as contribution by other concerned agencies. It will constitute the NSC Staff with the Executive Secretary and the Department representative, who will advise and assist the Executive Secretary (National Archives and Records Administration 2007).
The 1947 Act lists the duties and responsibilities of the Council for implementation by the Director of Central Intelligence (National Archives and Records Administration 2007). It authorizes and directs…[continue]
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