Since the end of World War II, each administration has sought to develop and perfect a reliable set of executive institutions to manage national security policy, and tried to install a policy-making and coordination system that reflected each President’s personal management style. The National Security Council (NSC) has long been at the center of this foreign policy coordination system, but it has changed many times to conform to the needs and inclinations of each succeeding chief executive.
The National Security Act of July 26, 1947, created the National Security Council under the chairmanship of the President, with the Secretaries of State and Defense as its key members, to coordinate foreign policy and defense policy, and …ver más…
Kissinger at first attempted to restore the separation between policy-making and implementation, but eventually found himself personally performing both roles.
Under President Carter, the National Security Adviser became a principal source of foreign affairs ideas and the NSC staff was recruited and managed with that in view, while a collegial approach to government decision-making was emphasized under President Reagan. In the Reagan Administration, the National Security Adviser was downgraded, and the Chief of Staff to the President exercised a coordinating role in the White House. 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.
President Bush reorganized the NSC organization to include a Principals Committee, Deputies Committee, and eight Policy Coordinating Committees. The NSC played an effective role during such major developments as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, and the deployment of American troops in Iraq and Panama. 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