President George W. Bush is seen at a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room Monday, March 24, 2008, during a video teleconference with General David Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq; and Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. White House photo by Eric Draper
Establishment of the National Security Council
The National Security Council was established by the National Security
Act of 1947 (PL 235 - 61 Stat. 496; U.S.C. 402), amended by the National
Security Act Amendments of 1949 (63 Stat. 579; 50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.).
Later in 1949, as part of the Reorganization Plan, the Council was
placed in the Executive Office of the President.
Membership of the National Security Council
The National Security Council is chaired by the President. Its regular
attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the
Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense,
and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to
the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence
advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President,
and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend
any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their
responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies,
as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the
NSC when appropriate.
National Security Council's Function
The National Security Council is the President's principal forum for
national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security
advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the
function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national
security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's
arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.