U.S. President Donald Trump’s first month in office has ushered in a whirlwind of change. One bit of procedural change raised eyebrows among the national security crowd. At the end of January, Trump reshuffled the National Security Council by elevating chief strategist Stephen Bannon and demoting both the Director of National Intelligence and Joint Chiefs of Staff. Critics crowed over the elevation of Bannon, a civilian, since the move could allow domestic politics to influence national security and puts a political adviser at the same level as other Cabinet officials. David Axelrod – President Barack Obama’s chief strategist – said that he’d sat in the room but never participated as a full member of the NSC. To better understand the significance of this move, we sat down with retired Army Col. and historian Andrew Bacevich to give us the history of the National Security Council and the consequences of its recent changes.
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