Opinion / Strategy

Reflections: The Role and Importance of the National Security Advisor

Reflections Series

Photo courtesy of Stephen J. Hadley

Report Summary

This report was originally published by the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, and was taken from an address delivered by Mr. Hadley at the Scowcroft Legacy Conference Sponsored by the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs on April 26, 2016. Our thanks to both Mr. Hadley and the Bush School of Government & Public Service for sharing the report.

Brent Scowcroft defined the role of the National Security Advisor (NSA). The only person to hold the job twice, Brent established the “Scowcroft Model” for all who followed him in the job: Be an “Honest Broker,” running a fair, transparent, and inclusive process for bringing issues to the President; maintain the confidence of your national security colleagues; keep a low public profile, operating largely off stage; and give your advice privately to the President. This approach best serves the President and enhances the prospects for a sound foreign policy.

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