Their function is to coordinate policy, but increasingly took on policymaking roles under the last administration. The high-level departures continued through 2018 and 2019 with more senior members of the NSC departing and serial turnover across many of these positions: four National Security Advisoes, six Deputy National Security Advisers, three Chiefs of Staff and Executive Secretaries, three senior Intelligence Directors, three Senior Directors for Europe and Russia, three Senior Directors for Africa and three Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism advisers. By the end of this summer, the NSC will consist of just 105 staff, the official said. McMaster became National Security Adviser in the spring of 2017, he appointed two Deputy National Security Advisers. And then there were ten: With 85% turnover across President Trump’s A Team, who remains. “We remain on track to meeting the rightsizing goal Ambassador O’Brien outlined in October, and in fact may exceed that target by drawing down even more positions,” said NSC spokesman John Ullyot in an email to Breitbart News on Tuesday. The National Security Council (NSC) is on track to reach its policy staff reduction goal and may cut even more than originally planned, according to the agency’s spokesman. Senior Adviser, International Security Program, Defense Industry, Acquisition, and Innovation, Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Impacts, Family Planning, Maternal and Child Health, and Immunizations, Download PDF file of "Limiting Size of NSC Staff", CANCELED: US Army in the Indo-Pacific - A Conversation with Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy and General Paul J. LaCamera, CANCELED: Maritime Security Dialogue - Competition with China in the Maritime Indo-Pacific Region, White House Presses Army, Air Force To Help Pay For Larger Navy, Covid-19 Response Update: October 30-November 6. The word ‘advise’ is fundamentally important. In some instances, a new National Security Adviser will not only bring new staff into the office, but restructure the office in significant ways that add further disruption. This extraordinary rate of high-level turnover concomitantly causes a cascade of departures in less senior jobs, as incoming successors seek to staff their office with hand-picked associates. During the Obama administration, the NSC ballooned to well over 200 policy staffers. During that interview, he also said President Eisenhower had 70 NSC policy staffers, and President Kennedy dismissed all of them upon coming into office and replaced them with 12 political loyalists, who “did a good job advising him.” He said reductions have come through staffers returning to their home agencies. O’Brien told Fox Business Network last week that the size of the NSC will go “somewhere in the 115 to 120 area” by the end of the week. 2020 ElectionPoliticsAlexander VindmanJohn UllyotNational Security CouncilRobert O'Brien. While reducing the size of a bloated NSC is a worthy goal, doing so late in the first term, without an apparent strategy and in an office that has had multiple leadership changes could very well undermine further the president’s ability to conduct the business of national security. S. 2943 §1089 limits the size of the NSC staff to not more than 150 professional staff members, including detailees. Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook. Similarly, while the sixth Deputy National Security Adviser is serving for President Trump, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush had one during the first term, Presidents Obama and George H.W. Tracking turnover in the Trump administration. Senior level departures were so frequent that I created a table that documents serial turnover (repeat instances of turnover in particular offices). In stark contrast, both Presidents Bush and President Clinton had single National Security Advisers throughout the first term; President Obama had two and President Reagan had three. In addition to the unusually high levels of staff turnover, President Trump instructed his fourth National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien, to make major staff cuts at the NSC in the fall of 2019. Critics of these proposals argue that subjecting the NSA to Senate confirmation – and creating the possibility for routine NSC policy staff are typically filled with staffers from other national security agencies, such as the Pentagon. ** On Friday, January 17, 2020, Andrew Peek was escorted from the White House grounds pending a security-related investigation. This turnover rate is simply off the charts—no prior president comes close to this level of NSC instability. Within three months, roughly 40-45 NSC staff members (who were serving as detailees) moved back to their home agencies, representing about a 13 percent cut in size… Note also that these NSC positions are merely a subset of senior positions rather than a listing of all senior NSC positions. As of January 2020, over 1/3 of the offices experiencing turnover had more than two occupants—in some cases, as many as six. Within three months, roughly 40-45 NSC staff members (who were serving as detailees) moved back to their home agencies, representing about a 13 percent cut in size. Vindman testified in the House impeachment inquiry that he reported the president’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president to the NSC general counsel, and likely reported his concerns to the “whistleblower” whose complaint launched the impeachment effort. Bush had two and President Reagan had three. The 1947 law establishing the NSC, which originally consisted of the president, vice president, and the secretaries of state and defense, stated: ‘The function of the Council shall be to advise the president with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security.’. With the size of the NSC staff approaching 400, up from 40 in 1991, the National Security Council has assumed more of an operational role as opposed to focusing on strategic planning and interagency coordination. With that in mind, we will be able to reduce 174 policy positions to under 120 by early 2020. It may be that the NSC will soon be in search of a third Director of Europe and Russia in a single year and the fourth occupant overall. By August of 2017, Deputy National Security Adviser, KT McFarland and Senior Intelligence Director Ezra Cohen Watnick had departed—a total of five NSC staff changes within the first seven months of the administration. Their function is to coordinate policy, but increasingly took on policymaking roles under the last administration. With the president’s approval, we will reduce the NSC staff, making it more effective by reaffirming its mission to coordinate policy and ensure policy implementation. The NSC staff should not, as it has in the past, duplicate the work of military officers, diplomats or intelligence officers. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced last year in an op-ed that he planned to reduce the size of the NSC’s policy staff to under 120 positions by early 2020 — a size more in line with previous administrations before more than doubling under the Obama administration to over 200 staffers. My job as the national security adviser is to distill and present to the president the views and options that come from the various departments and agencies. The changes come as O’Brien — Trump’s fourth national security adviser — … Based on news accounts at the time, it was difficult to determine which of the two was more senior, so I have included both. My previous analysis examined the first instance of turnover on the president’s “A Team,” and includes 65 individuals in key White House offices e.g., Legislative Affairs, White House Counsel, as well as the Office of Management and Budget, the National Security Council (NSC) and smaller entities. On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported a mark-up of the Senate version of the NDAA that would limit the size of the NSC staff to 150 permanent staff and detailees. Within my “A Team” sample, I tracked eight senior NSC positions. By fall of 2019, seven of those eight positions had turned over at least once. The instability in the NSC began in the first month of the administration with the departure of three high level officials: National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn; Senior Director for Africa, Robin Townley; and Chief of Staff, Keith Kellogg (who changed jobs to become Acting National Security Adviser and eventually became Vice President Pence’s National Security Adviser). (The position of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism was folded into the NSC during John Bolton’s tenure and is included in this study.) After consulting several of my predecessors and analyzing the NSC’s current configuration, I have determined that the agency can and should be streamlined, and am in the process of restoring the NSC to its historical mission. “As his new national security adviser, I have commenced changes to the National Security Council staff designed to assist the president as he continues to execute his foreign policy vision for the country,” O’Brien wrote on October 16, 2019, in the Washington Post. The NSC then ensures that those agencies actually execute the president’s decisions. Bush administrations. He added that this reduction was in the works long before NSC staffers Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother were removed earlier this month. Turnover Across Key Senior NSC Positions With the size of the NSC staff approaching 400, up from 40 in 1991, the National Security Council has assumed more of an operational role as opposed to focusing on strategic planning and interagency coordination. The most upheaval has occurred in the NSC, a highly influential office that provides the president with advice on national security and foreign policy issues and coordinates these policies with other key departments and agencies, including State, Defense, Homeland Security and the CIA. The growth of the NSC in both its staff size and its role in national security decisionmaking has received attention recently. Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting. This is the ‘honest broker’ model of the national security adviser, best personified by Brent Scowcroft, who held the post during both the Gerald Ford and George H.W. O’Brien told Fox Business Network last week that the size of the NSC will go “somewhere in the 115 to 120 area” by the end of the week. Guidance for the Brookings community and the public on our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) », Learn more from Brookings scholars about the global response to coronavirus (COVID-19) ». Ranked #1 Think Tank in U.S. by Global Go To Think Tank Index, Contact H. Andrew Schwartz Chief Communications Officer Tel: 202.775.3242, Contact Caleb Diamond Media Relations Manager and Editorial Associate Tel: 202.775.3173. News reports indicated that O’Brien has plans to cut the NSC by a total of one third (requiring an additional 20 percent cut). * When H.R. While the statutory members of the NSC, in some cases, run departments that execute foreign policy, the NSC staff at the White House was intended to coordinate policy rather than run it. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. He continued: Congress created the National Security Council to assist presidents in managing the complexities of this expansion of the federal government.
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