National Security Council Project

Established in 1998 as a collaborative undertaking of CISSM and The Brookings Institution, the National Security Council Project is directed by Ivo H. Daalder and I.M. "Mac" Destler. The project began with a comprehensive examination of the National Security Council (NSC) as a central element in the making of U.S. foreign policy since its creation in 1947. To shed light on the historical records, Daalder and Destler hosted seven Oral History Roundtables between 1998 and 2000, bringing together officials who had served on the NSC staff and related agencies.  They have published a number of op-eds and review essays since then, culminating in their book: In the Shadow of the Oval Office: Profiles of the National Security Advisers and the Presidents They Served from JFK to George W. Bush (Simon and Schuster, 2009). The book is a historical analysis of the role of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, beginning with its transformation under John F. Kennedy and continuing through the George W. Bush administration. Its core chapters focus on the influence and impact, respectively, of McGeorge Bundy under Kennedy and Johnson, Henry Kissinger under Nixon and Ford, Zbigniew Brzezinski under Carter, the six men who held the office under Reagan, Brent Scowcroft under George H.W. Bush, Anthony Lake and Samuel Berger under Clilnton, and Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley under George W. Bush.  The book concludes with a comparative evaluation of their stewardship, and recommendations for how the role should be played in the future.Below, in the "Conference Reports" section, is a listing of available Oral History Roundtable transcripts. For hard copies please contact Anja Kuznetsova at CISSM. For more details on the project, please visit the Brookings Institution's NSC webpage. The Brookings Policy Brief of the NSC is now posted on the Brookings website as well.

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