The size of the National Security Council has been cut in half under President Donald Trump’s latest national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, from what it was under President Barack Obama, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
After climbing to nearly 240 staffers under Obama, the NSC, an advisory board to the president on national security and foreign policy, is expected to be slashed to 105 by the end of summer, the Post said quoting an anonymous White House official.
The reduction is intended to streamline the panel, which is still larger than the 115 that served under Condoleezza Rice in the George W. Bush administration in the early 2000s.
O’Brien is Trump’s fourth national security adviser and took over in September, replacing John Bolton who reportedly clashed with the president on issues involving Afghanistan and North Korea.
O’Brien’s goal from the outset has been to pare down the National Security Council, a mission he outlined in an op-edfor The Washington Post a month after assuming command.
While pointing out the NSC consisted of only 12 members under President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and 35 in the Jimmy Carter administration, O’Brien insinuated members of the advisory panel had begun to misunderstand the mission to advise the president.
“The word ‘advise’ is fundamentally important,” he wrote. “While the statutory members of the NSC, in some cases, run departments that execute foreign policy, the NSC staff at the White House was intended to coordinate policy rather than run it.”
The reduction of staff is to be accomplished by returning members to the agencies and department where they came from such as the State Department, Defense Department, FBI and others.
“Under previous administrations, the NSC more than doubled in size and duplicated many of the functions of DoD, State and the intelligence community,” O’Brien was quoted by the New York Post. “Under President Trump, we have brought the NSC back to its proper size and role as a coordinating body.”
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