Toward a Smaller White House National Security Staff

Publication Date: 
June 2018

Chapter in "U.S. National Security Reform: Reassessing the National Security Act of 1947

National Security Council Project
Publication File: 
Document Type: 
Articles and Op-Eds

This chapter will argue that in recent years NSC staff growth has truly gotten out of hand, that late Obama “right-sizing” efforts only scratched the surface, and that the time has come for truly radical down-sizing. It is not, the author must admit, the product of the sort of detailed empirical research that supported many of his previous writings on the topic. It is appropriate here, however, to put forward in general terms some of the reasons why the staff has grown. Then we will set forth some reasons why that growth needs to be reversed. Finally, we will suggest what principles might guide a genuine “right-sizing” of the NSC staff, and suggest tentatively, how we might get there from here.