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PPD-1, Obama’s National Security Council March 2, 2009

Posted by dglaudemans in Uncategorized.
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On February 13, President Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive – 1 (PDD-1). This memo is his first national security policy directive and it outlines the structure and role of the National Security Council (NSC). Historically, Presidents use this first directive to adjust the composition of the NSC slightly and tinker with the national security decision-making process. President Obama, however, has significantly expanded the NSC structure to add the Attorney General, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of Homeland Security, the US Ambassador to the UN, and the Chief of Staff to the President. In addition, the President’s Counsel is to be invited to attend every session and when appropriate, the Secretary of Commerce, the US Trade Representative and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors are also to be regualar attendees. Equally significant is the creation of Interagency Policy Committees (IPCs). These committees are tasked to manage the “development and implementation of national security policies by multiple agencies…”. This new capacity at the NSC is a major step forward in coordinating policy and programs that touch multiple agencies and require a central body to manage implementation.Interagency Policy Committees, if they function as intended, could be a crucial tool for the President to coordinate policies across the federal government. Issues such as security assistance, stabilization and reconstruction, counterterrorism, counternarcotics and nonproliferation require the resources of many federal departments and agencies. Historically, this interagency process has been ad hoc at best and non-existent at worst. Recent experiences in the reconstruction and stabilization of Iraq and Afghanistan provide ample evidence of this with the DOD, State, USAID, Agriculture, Commerce and many other federal agencies working with little to no coordination. A strong centralized coordinating body should have some effect in the management of interagency policy.

However, the IPCs lack any budgetary control over these policies and programs. And while OMB is part of the PC and DC – which directs the IPCs – there remains doubt that without any real control over the departments and agencies responsible for an interagency policy (budgetary control would be the most powerful), there is little that can actually be done through the IPCs. Despite this, the IPCs are the first step in centralizing the coordination of interagency policies and reducing the overlap and gaps that characterize much of these programs.

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Comments»

1. Sarah Farnsworth - March 5, 2009

It is unfortunate the the development voice of the Untied States Government is not even mentioned as a “maybe invite to the party” participant. In fact, development isn’t even mentioned!!! Given that the National Security Strategy of the United States defines the our national security supported by developmetn, diplomacy and defense, it is truly unfortunate to see this Administration, despite its words to elevate devvelopment, slam the door shut on its partipation at the highest level of USG deliberations.

2. Anne Harrington - March 9, 2009

The report released by the National Research Council on Friday, March 6, 2009, Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12583) , recommends both a White House-led strategic program planning process and a parallel strategic budget process. The authors of the report recognize that this is not the way OMB normally does business, but see both strategic approaches as necessary.


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