Mon, Feb 09, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Obama planning overhaul of NSC: top security aide


US President Barack Obama plans to overhaul the National Security Council (NSC), expanding its size and its national and international dossier, the Washington Post reported yesterday, quoting the president’s top security aide.

National Security Adviser James Jones told the daily that the NSC will be “dramatically different” under Obama, adding that “the world that we live in has changed so dramatically in this decade that organizations that were created to meet a certain set of criteria no longer are terribly useful.”

The retired Marine general said he will be the primary conduit of national security advice to Obama.

“We’re not always going to agree on everything,” Jones said, and “so it’s my job to make sure that minority opinion is represented” to the president.

“But if at the end of the day he turns to me and says: ‘Well, what do you think, Jones?,’ I’m going to tell him what I think,” he said.

The new structure will be outlined in a presidential directive, probably later this week.

Jones told the Post that the newly configured NSC will reach far beyond the range of traditional foreign policy issues and will include Cabinet and departmental seats at the table — historically occupied only by the secretaries of defense and state — on an issue-by-issue basis.

He noted that the national security community historically has meant the Defense Department, the NSC itself and a parts of the State Department, but now could be extended depending upon the circumstances to include the Energy, Commerce and Treasury Departments, law enforcement agencies and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

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