Streamlining for efficiency and keeping campaign promises
Yesterday, President Trump signed three new executive actions: reshuffling the Principals Committee of the National Security Council (NSC), restricting administration officials from lobbying, and calling for a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS.
The first memorandum removes the Director of National Intelligence (Dan Coats has yet to be confirmed, no hearing set) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (currently Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford) from and adds Steve Bannon to the NSC Principals Committee.
According to the memorandum,
The Principals Committee (PC) . . . . shall have as its regular attendees the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor.
The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed. The Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may attend all PC meetings.
The measure adds White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to the NSC, while removing the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating that they “shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”
Bannon is the former head of Breitbart News who joined Trump’s campaign as its chief executive in August.
Trump’s pick to lead the NSC, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, previously clashed with other members of the Obama administration and was reportedly pressured to leave his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2014.
Text of the NSC memorandum, which was released after Trump signed it, justified changes to the council by stating that “security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries.”
“Accordingly, the United States Government’s decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative,” the memorandum stated.
Trump said that directive focused on “efficiency and I think a lot of additional safety.”
Regarding lobbying, Trump has banned administration officials from lobbying their former agencies for five years, and he has imposed a lifetime ban on administration officials working on behalf of foreign governments.
The Hill continues:
Trump also signed an executive order Saturday banning administration officials who leave government from lobbying those federal agencies for five years, fulfilling a campaign pledge. Former President Barack Obama had signed his own executive order barring political appointees from lobbying former coworkers for two years.
Trump’s order also includes a lifetime ban on administration officials working on behalf of a foreign government or political party.
Trump also issued a directive for military leaders to construct and present a strategy for defeating ISIS. The first paragraph of this memorandum is of interest because it outlines why there is specific focus on ISIS.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is not the only threat from radical Islamic terrorism that the United States faces, but it is among the most vicious and aggressive. It is also attempting to create its own state, which ISIS claims as a “caliphate.” But there can be no accommodation or negotiation with it. For those reasons I am directing my Administration to develop a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS.
The Hill continues:
His third directive signed Saturday was a memorandum giving military leaders 30 days to construct and present a report outlining the U.S. strategy for defeating ISIS.
“This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I think it’s going to be very successful.”
His memorandum calls for a “comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS,” stating that “there can be no accommodation or negotiation” with the group.
The directive recommends “changes to any United States rules of engagement” and other policy restrictions, an exploration of alternative strategies to “isolate and delegitimize ISIS and its radical Islamist ideology,” a strengthening of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition and an exploration of methods to limit the group’s financial support.
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