Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chief of Mission Authority, Lockheed Martin Analysis

Many point to the U.S. ambassador's Chief of Mission authority as a natural place to rest interagency coordination. A recent Lockheed Martin analysis of AFRICOM's roles and missions lays out more baldly than usual the reach and limits of CoM authority.

Acknowledge Chief of Mission authority (Ambassador as President’s representative) to grant entry to government personnel based on diplomatic considerations. Also, follow National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 38, which gives the Chief of Mission control of the size, composition, and mandate of overseas full-time mission staffing for all U.S. Government agencies.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

National Security Council Organization - Update

According to Larua Rozen at FP's The Cable, Gen. Jones appears to be completing the NSC's assertion of bureaucratic power, expanding NSC's mandate to chair not only the NSC's Principals Committee and Deputies Committee, but the Interagency Policy Committees as well. It'll be interesting to see if this is as decisive as expected without the President's explicit mandate in a PPD. It's not an accident that it was left out in the first place.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Presidential Policy Directive - 1: Organization of the National Security Council System

In case you haven’t seen it yet, President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive – 1, “Organization of the National Security Council System.” Thanks to ArmsControlWonk for the link.

I've a few points to make about how this ties in to the Karen DeYoung article from a couple weeks back in which Gen. Jones laid claim to controling the NSC process. His remarks seem to be reflected in this document, but there are caveats. My analysis below.

Note that the NSA is designated as chair of NSC/Principals Committee meetings is empowered to determine NSC meeting agendas “at direction of President and in consultation with other members of the NSC.”

The NSA can also call for an NSC/PC meeting “in consultation . . .” - but the directive doesn’t limit the NSA’s ability to call meetings to “at the direction of the President.”

Also, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, who was the NSA equivalent for the Homeland Security Council, may now chair the NSC/PC meetings on homeland security at the discretion of the NSA. Clearly even if the HSC hasn’t been formerly disbanded it’s being informally appended to the NSC. PSD-1 seems to be a not toward due process - and probably a way to avoid a dust up from folks looking to score cheap political points ("Homeland security is being deprioritized! Oh my!")

The NSC/Deputies Committee (chaired by Deputy NSA) seems to have an added focus on oversight of execution of policy

This directive seems to empower the NSA and his staff, but below the Deputy NSA the powers of the chair of an Interagency Policy Committee are not laid out. That will create a space for continued bureaucratic entrepreneurship from the departments and agencies. The ground rules for the NSC/IPC will likely be determined as part of their mandate, established by future NSC/PC/DC meetings. That means the bureaucratic balance of power at the IPC level is still undetermined.

And of course when the above bureaucratic constructs run into the actual political capital of the players involved, the only thing that will hold it intact is the will of the President.