National Security Council

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National Security Council (NSC) is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials.


The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947, which was approved on July 26, 1947, as amended by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949. This legislation also provided for a Secretary of Defense, a National Military Establishment, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Resources Board. As part of the Amendments Act of 1949, the three service were removed from the NSC, while the Vice-President was added as a member, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was added as an advisor.

At this same time, the NSC was placed in the Executive Office of the President. Originally, the NSC Staff was to be headed by a civilian Executive Secretary, appointed by the President, with only one other professional staff member, an Assistant to the Executive Secretary. Additional top staff members were to be consultants detailed from the three armed services and the State Department. Eventually, these consultants came to be members of the Senior Staff Group, acting as designated agency representatives. There were only two NSC Executive Secretaries during the Truman administration. Admiral Sidney W. Souers served as the first Executive Secretary from September, 1947, until January, 1950, at which time he was succeeded by his assistant, James S. Lay, Jr., who served until Truman left office in January, 1953.


Its function is to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security. The NSC also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government departments and agencies in matters involving the national security. The duties of the NSC are to assess and appraise the objectives, commitments, and risks of the United States in relation to actual and potential military power, for the purpose of making recommendations to the President, with respect to foreign policy and national security. The NSC also considers policies on matters of common interest to the departments and agencies of the Government concerned with the national security, and makes recommendations to the President.

PHILIPPINES: National Security Council

The 1987 constitution mandates civilian control of the military and establishes the president as commander in chief of the armed forces. The President also heads the National Security Council, ostensibly the policy-making and advisory body for matters connected with national defense. Former President Corazon Aquino reestablished the council in 1986 through an executive order that provided for a National Security Council director to advise the president on national security matters and for a National Security Council Secretariat. The council itself is composed of the president and at least nine others: the Vice President; the AFP chief of staff; National Security Council director; the Executive Secretary; and the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Interior and Local Government, Justice, and Labor and Employment (called ministers before 1987). By the end of 1990, however, the National Security Council had only convened twice.

Responsibility for national security was vested in the Department of National Defense. The principal functions of the department in 1991 were to defend the state against internal and external threats and, through the Philippine National Police, to maintain law and order. The Secretary of National Defense, by law a civilian, was charged with advising the president on defense matters and developing defense policy.

In 2002, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has won crucial backing from her cabinet and the Congress for the deployment of US soldiers in the country as part of the war on terrorism. The President convened a meeting of the country's National Security Council during that time, in a bid to pull wavering officials, including her vice-president into line and smooth over differences in her administration over the issue. Arroyo insisted her oppositions to marshal support for her stance to back a U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, not only to implement a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution calling on U.N. members to bring the perpetrators to justice but also the Philippines' strategic alliance with the United States and to assist the global campaign to end the scourge of terrorism.

National Security Adviser and Director-General serve as Chief of Staff and adviser for Special Concerns in National Security to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The current Chief is Hon. Norberto Gonzales, he also worked as a peace adviser and negotiator for the Government of the Philippines with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the National Democratic Front (NDF) rebel groups.

Occasionally a nation will be ruled by a similarly-named body, such as "the National Security Committee" or "Council for National Security". These bodies are often the a result of the establishment or preservation of a military dictatorship (or some other national crisis), do not always have statutory approval, and are usually intended to have transitory or provisional powers.


  • "National Security Council File" (accessed on 19 July 2007)

  • "Arroyo convenes security council over backing of U.S. strike" (accessed on 19 July 2007)

  • "Philippines National Security" (accessed on 19 July 2007)



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