The Contemporary Presidency

Organizing the National Security Council: I Like Ike's

Published In: Presidential Studies Quarterly, v. 43, no. 3, Sep. 2013, p. 592-606

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 2013

by Paul D. Miller

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The United States' national security establishment lacks an integrated strategic planning capability. The current National Security Council (NSC) system relies heavily on part-time committees that lack the clout and time to execute strategic planning. The president could overcome this difficulty by looking to President Eisenhower's NSC system. Eisenhower's NSC relied on a Planning Board—which was neither a part-time committee nor fulltime staff—to get realistic planning that was not captive to parochial interests and to foster a national, strategic mindset without falling prey to an ivory-tower mind-set divorced from reality.

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