National Security Policy Process: The National Security Council and Interagency System [Annual Update: November 24, 2008] [open pdf - 1MB]
"This paper provides an annually updated report describing the national security decision-making process of the U.S. government. Although decisions affecting our security have been made since the nation's birth, the foundations of the current system were laid immediately following World War II. This paper briefly summarizes how the process has evolved since its creation under President Truman. It describes the current NSC organizational structure and processes, and defines the roles of the key departments and agencies, including that of the National Security Council staff. Readers should keep in mind that the processes described in this paper reflect, in general, the operation of the national security interagency system. However, at times, individuals and circumstances will produce idiosyncratic ways of doing business. Finally, the paper comments upon how the interagency process is incorporating new organizational structures associated with homeland defense and homeland security."
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