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.