The Danger of Steve Bannon on the National Security Council
Drew Angerer, Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House on Saturday. Also pictured at right: national security adviser Michael Flynn and White House chief strategist Steve Banno
By David J. Rothkopf | Special to The Washington Post
PUBLISHED: January 30, 2017
While demonstrators poured into airports to protest the Trump administration’s draconian immigration policies, another presidential memorandum signed this weekend may have even more lasting, wide-ranging and dangerous consequences.
The document sounds like a simple bureaucratic shuffle, outlining the shape the National Security Council will take under President Donald Trump. Instead, it is deeply worrisome.
The idea of the National Security Council (NSC), established in 1947, is to ensure that the president has the best possible advice from his Cabinet, the military and the intelligence community before making consequential decisions, and to ensure that, once those decisions are made, a centralized mechanism exists to guarantee their effective implementation. The NSC is effectively the central nervous system of the U.S. foreign policy and national security apparatus.
Trump’s memorandum described the structure of his NSC — not unusual given that the exact composition shifts in modest ways from administration to administration. The problem lies in the changes that he made.