National Security Council

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National Security Council

(NSC), federal executive council responsible for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the defense policies of the United States and also exercising direction over the Central Intelligence AgencyCentral Intelligence Agency
(CIA), independent executive bureau of the U.S. government established by the National Security Act of 1947, replacing the wartime Office of Strategic Services (1942–45), the first U.S. espionage and covert operations agency.
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 (CIA). Created in 1947 by the National Security Act (amended in 1949), the council's formal members are the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the secretary of defense. The director of national intelligence (formerly, the director of the CIA), the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president's national security adviser (the assistant to the president for national security affairs, who is also the director of the NSC), and the deputy adviser usually attend as invited guests. Although President Eisenhower used the NSC as the centerpiece of his security policy apparatus, other presidents have relied more heavily on ad hoc organizations and special assistants. Prominent NSC directors have included Henry KissingerKissinger, Henry Alfred
, 1923–, American political scientist and U.S. secretary of state (1973–77), b. Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1938. A leading expert on international relations and nuclear defense policy, Kissinger taught (1957–69) at
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 and Zbigniew BrzezinskiBrzezinski, Zbigniew Kazimierz
, 1928–2017, American political scientist and public official, b. Warsaw, Poland, grad. Harvard (Ph.D, 1953). The son of a diplomat, he was raised in Canada and became (1958) a U.S. citizen.
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. The council also has a civilian staff that is headed by an executive secretary appointed by the president.


See study by D. J. Rothkopf (2005).

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