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National Security Council

After World War II, the United States emerged as the leading Western power with an expanded foreign policy agenda. The National Security Act of 1947 (Pub. L. 235-61 Stat. 496; U.S.C. 402) established the National Security Council (NSC) as an advisory body to the president to oversee all branches of the government involved in domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security. The critical task of the NSC is to coordinate the policy process so that all agencies get a full and fair hearing, enabling the president to make clear foreign policy decisions in a timely manner.

Every president has used the NSC to install a system of national security policy making and coordination that reflects his personal management style as well as political pressures, congressional demands, or bureaucratic rivalry between departments. Statutory members of the NSC include the president, the ...

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