President Trump’s national security team has to be ready to hit the ground running in January. The list of challenges is long: a resurgent and aggressive Russia, a rising China, a belligerent and nuclear capable North Korea, an Iranian government inserting itself throughout the Middle East, Syria and international terrorism. While a new administration will be eager to address these challenges, one fact is evident: Even the best national security strategy will fail if it does not have the right structure to see it through. As part of my experience as a senior military fellow at a Washington think tank, I have had the good fortune to personally meet with many former Cabinet-level leaders to hear their candid views about our national security process and their message is crystal clear: President Trump needs to reform the National Security Council (NSC) process by shrinking its White House staff and placing trust and accountability back in the hands of his cabinet and NSC principles.
The past two administrations have consolidated national security decision making in the White House by micromanaging the implementation and execution of policy from the NSC staff. President Trump does not need to take a year to find out what previous administrations already recognize; the interagency decision-making and -execution process is broken. Now is the time for our new president to demonstrate trust in Cabinet-level leaders and their departments by cutting his own staff and allowing those NSC principals to advise him and then implement and execute the final policy. The NSC principals, not the NSC staff, should then be held accountable for the implementation and execution in their organizations. The president can and should do this on day one.
Read the full article at Defense News.
More from CNAS
VideoNational Guard offers signing bonus amid recruitment hurdles
Military readiness expert Kate Kuzminski speaks to NewsNation about the effects that today's recruiting challenge will have on future readiness. Watch the full interview from...
By Katherine L. Kuzminski
VideoU.S. military facing biggest recruiting shortfall in decades
The U.S. military is facing a recruiting shortfall, with officials saying there are not enough people signing up to serve. Katherine Kuzminski, Senior Fellow and Director of t...
By Katherine L. Kuzminski
CommentaryOverturning Roe: What Might This Mean for Military Culture?
With the repeal of Roe, women stationed in states that either have a trigger law or are poised to enact more stringent abortion bans will be faced with sharp reductions in the...
By Dr. Kyleanne Hunter
CommentarySharper: Pride in National Security
In order for the United States to maintain its strategic advantage, the national security community must be able to access the nation's top talent and draw from their strength...
By Anna Pederson, Nathalie Grogan & Katherine L. Kuzminski