Trump’s NSC: A Bureaucratic Balancing Act

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The appointment of Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor was not the Trump Administration’s first shake-up on the National Security Council, and it is unlikely to be the last. The Trump Administration’s decision to upend the NSC’s organization is an effort to correct what many believed had become a bloated bureaucratic structure that could not attain its key goals.

The NSC is a handpicked advisory committee charged with directing the expedient flow of national security information to and from the President. The staff includes the Principals Committee, which includes the secretaries of state, treasury, and defense, among others, and numerous staff members underneath these principal advisors. Over time, presidents have expanded the NSC to draw more decision-making power into the White House, diverting it from its core mission.

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