The council that advises and assists the President on foreign policy and national security issues, and coordinates these policies across government agencies. Created by Congress with the National Security Act of 1947.

It membership includes, in addition to the President: the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of the CIA. The Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the President's Chief of Staff are invited to all meetings of the Council.


The National Security Council is an advisory body operating within the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America. Its standing members are:

Official advisors to the Council: Non-standing members who get to join in when needed: The modern NSC was formed with the National Security Act of 1947, the same legislation that gave us the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency. It was designed by and for the Cold War era, when it was necessary to coordinate economic and military planning on a strategic scale.

Each president has altered the NSC slightly to suit their own tastes. Under Harry Truman, the Department of State had the most powerful voice in the Council: Dwight Eisenhower predictably switched that focus to the Pentagon, and John F. Kennedy gave more power to the National Security Advisor. Although the NSC gained a brief spike in power under Henry Kissinger, it was a weak organ in the executive structure until Daddy George Bush brought it back into focus in the late eighties to keep an eye on the imploding Soviet Union. Bill Clinton started a new organ parallel to the NSC, called the National Economic Council, to discuss and coordinate international trade issues.

In the modern unimultipolar world, the NSC is vital in keeping track of all the little conflicts that define international relations.

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