Organizing the U.S. Government for National Security: Overview of the Interagency Reform Debates [April 18, 2008]   [open pdf - 132KB]

"A growing community of interest, including Members of Congress, senior officials in the executive branch, and think-tank analysts, is calling for a reexamination of how well the U.S. government, including both the executive branch and Congress, is organized to apply all instruments of national power to national security activities. The organizations and procedures used today to formulate strategy, support presidential decision-making, plan and execute missions, and budget for those activities are based on a framework established just after World War II. That framework was designed to address a very different global strategic context: a bipolar world with a single peer competitor state, the Soviet Union, which was driven by an expansionist ideology and backed by a massive military force. […] Should these 'national security reform' debates continue to gain momentum, Congress could choose to weigh in by holding hearings to clarify identified problems and to consider the advantages and risks of proposed solutions; by developing legislation ranging from a new National Security Act to specific changes in executive branch organization, authorities, or resourcing; or by considering adjustments in Congress's own arrangements for providing holistic oversight of national security issues. The purpose of this report, which will be updated as events warrant, is to help frame the emerging debates by taking note of the leading advocates for change, highlighting identified shortcomings in key elements of the current system, and describing categories of emerging proposals for change."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34455
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