Analysis / Reform

Limiting Size of NSC Staff

Assessing Defense Reform Series

Photo courtesy of the White House:


The growth of the NSC in both its staff size and its role in national security decisionmaking has received attention recently. With the size of the NSC staff approaching 400, up from 40 in 1991, the National Security Council has assumed more of an operational role as opposed to focusing on strategic planning and interagency coordination. Both former Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Leon Panetta have complained about the NSC and White House staff’s centralization of decision making and intrusion into operational and tactical details.
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