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The National Security Council (NSC) is a White House–based organization that serves the president by providing advice on foreign policy issues—especially ones involving national security—and coordinating the foreign policy-making process overall. Utilized increasingly by presidents since Harry Truman, the NSC has evolved over time into a form unlike its predecessor, the National Intelligence Authority. This entry examines key developments within the NSC as well as its main functions and structures, including its membership. The central foreign policy role played by the national security advisor is also highlighted along with the controversy that currently surrounds the NSC.

Since its creation in the 1947 National Security Act, the NSC has evolved into an NSC system that bears little resemblance to the original council. Where once a decision-making ...

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