Obama’s National Security Council Reboot

A front page story in today’s WaPo describes in detail President Obama’s ambitious plans for reorganizing the National Security Council and the entire process of decision-making in that realm.  In my New Atlanticist piece “Obama to Run Foreign Policy From White House,” I assess the changes and explain why they will be almost impossible to implement.

My bottom line assessment:

If anyone can achieve this, Jones can.  But I just can’t imagine Hillary Clinton smiling and going along with this.   She gave up a prominent Senate seat to be Secretary of State and almost certainly thinks that she, not young Obama, should be in the Oval Office. Similarly, while I’m less familiar with his personality, it’s hard to believe Leon Panetta would give up his lucrative “consulting” and speechmaking lifestyle to take on CIA if he intended to be merely a bureaucratic cog in the NSC machine.  He was, after all, White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, not only having daily access to the president but actually setting his boss’ schedule.

Atlantic’s Megan McArdle argued, in the context of Obama’s economics advisors, that this is “the problem with dream teams.”  If the idea was to run everything through Jones and NSC, it might have made more sense to get people used to taking orders to head up the other agencies.   A team of rivals, on the other hand, is unlikely to be so acquiescent.

Much more at the link.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.