tv Discussion Focuses on the National Security Council CSPAN January 5, 2017 8:31am-9:37am EST
that's our job. that's something we take very seriously. there is a great partnership with the electric power industry. >> we have to stop right there. thanks very much, for both of you. >> thank you. appreciate it. [applause] >> we're live this morning as a number of foreign policy analysts will discuss the president's national security council and the potential for change during the incoming trump administration. this is hosted by the council on foreign relations in washington. it should get underway in just a moment.
>> don't know where to put this to not knock it off. [inaudible conversations]. >> a lot of familiar faces this early, thank you. welcome to today's council on foreign relations meeting on reforming the national security council. i'd also like to welcome the members around the country and the world listening via live stream. i'm karen young, i write about national security for "the washington post." most importantly we're fortunate today to have as our speakers three people who have both personal and academic experience in the national security sphere and specifically in how the national security council
operates. ambassador robert blackwell joins us via video from the council headquarters in new york where set henry kissinger senior fellow for u.s. foreign policy. worked multiple times on the nfc staff. recently as. as you can see in his lengthy biography in the program, ambassador blackwell had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, an academic and an author on books and papers on virtually every area of foreign policy. ivo dalder. president of council on global affairs in 2014 after more than four years as the obama administration ambassador to nato. before government service he was senior fell at brookings institution where he specialized in american foreign policy. matt desler to my right teaches public policy at university of maryland and advised presidents
and secretaries of state on economic and foreign policy and held senior research positions at some of our most distinguished think tanks. he has authored a lot of books including with ambassador daalder, one important to our conversation today. in the shadow of the oval office published in 2009, was a culmination of decade of work they did together including compilation of oral histories of officials who served on nsc staff and related agencies from presidents from jfk to president george w. bush. the bush is historical analysis of national security advisors who served those presidents, what they did, how they did it and recommendations how the roles should be undertaken. i think it is work that has been invaluable to many certainly in my position and probably for many of years. so with that, let's get started of the as you know the session is on the record we'll talk for a bit among ourselves and then we'll open the floor to questions.
our title today, is, reforming the nsc. that assumes that it needs reform. i have to say the way it changes to operate as new administration takes over is not a new concept. under jimmy carter some thought the national security advisor was too powerful. under ronald reagan, the nsc was seen disorganized, too operational, too weak under george w. bush, too weak and too powerful under barack obama. you worked for a number of national security councils and presidents. what makes a good national security advisor and effective, smooth-running nsc? >> well, good morning, everybody and good to be with you. let me put it like this. i think many in washington and in the audience would regard the model for national security advisor as scowcroft.
and i worked for brent and let me say how did brent do the job? well, first of all the national security advisor obviously has to have a close relationship with the president. has to have a temperment that is congenial to the president. he doesn't necessarily by the way, have to know the president when he takes his position as national security advisor. curiously henry kissinger had one--minute meeting with richard nixon at a cocktail party before he was offered the job. so, but he certainly over time has to have that relationship. second we assume you have to be very smart, but second, it is a big management job because getting getting before the president he needs to make and making sure the decisions he makes are implemented is a big management job and some of the
nsc advisors who haven't done all well haven't, because they concentrated on their substantive advice to the president at the expense of their management role. and third, and this may even be the most important, he has to have a temperment, a non-disputatious temperment if i have to put it like that because he needs to be or she, needs to be able to instinctively be fair-minded in presenting options to the president. of course, the president at least in my experience will usually ask the nsc advisor, what do you think? that is after the nsc advisor, at best, this was certainly brent, would present to the president in a fair-minded way the various options that various members of the cabinet supported. so, just to conclude, this is a
very tough and challenging job. and it's because of that, i suppose 2/3 of the national security advisors since the kennedy years have actually failed in their job and have been replaced or quit. >> in addition to the personality of the national security advisor obviously the structure is important and one of the first things every administration has done in the last half century, producing a document in the beginning how national security policy making will be structured, how the process is going to work. i know either you participated in that process for president obama. i wonder if you could take a little bit how that works and how important it is. >> in part in order to do the job the way bob has described it, you need to have a process and an organization that facilitates that, particularly that last point, the ability to understand what earth people and
other agencies think and how to present what they think in an objective and trust-fulfilling manner to the president and, over the course of the last 50 years the way in which that process has been put together by presidents has changed except that since brent scowcroft in 1989 coming out of a commission report he chaired as a result of the iran-contra affair, we've had a relatively similar kind of structure, a structure where a principles committee chaired by the national security advisor and whose chair are all the members of the national security council. mine is the president and sometimes the vice president. and so you have senior cabinet figures coming together on a regular basis, chaired by by the president's national security advisor.
you have the deputy committees, number twos in most of the departments, sometimes number three, depending on what department you're talking about, trying to manage the process almost on a day-to-day basis and is the crisis management facility, facilitator. and third you have, this is where it changes from administration to administration, you have the assistant secretary level interagency working groups get renamed under every president because you know the president's prerogative. so currently the interagency policy committee's, i pc's, sometimes get chaired by departments and sometimes get chaired by the nsc. there is always a big fight about that issue on whether a department gets to chair it. over time, the reality is, is because the central mechanism is in the white house, it tends to be chaired by, by the nsc. so even in the obama administration where initially
there was, in the, what was it called, psd-1, first memorandum by the president laid out the interagency process, there was thought being given at state department, either chairing or co-chairing some of the regional ipcs. that has never happened, pretty much abandoned early on. for one simple reason. the assistant secretaries who were supposed to chair the meetings are actually confirmed until six, seven months into an administration. so somebody has to do the job and the person and nsc will be there on day one, they don't have to be confirmed assuming they have been appointed that will be there on day one. so those are the big decisions that you make. for every administration the question is, do we have the same process or do we have a different process of interagency management? i would suggest that that's one part that does not need reform. it can work.
there is question how many meetings you do and how frequently they are and how you run them. that is actually less a process, organizational one but more of a process question. then there is the larger issue we may want to get into later, what is the competence that the nsc covers vis-a-vis all the other issues out there, whether international economic issues or counterterrorism issues or homeland security issues and that of course is an issue that is right now being debated within the trump transition team. >> matt? >> bob and ivo have done an admirable job setting forth the role of national security advisor and the formal structure that has developed and has persisted i guess for the last 30 years now, 1986, 1987, for, but of course driving a lot of this and sometimes distorting it
is the development of the role of the president and the relationship of the president to the national security advisor. and these we have a book that you recommend to look at that basically, what i would say, this varying enormously from president to president and it often defeats the dreams of reformers. as an example right at the beginning ever the obama administration there was unusual amount of ferment in the national security committee wanted to improve the process. impressive reports, multi-hundred page reports were written, a big structure. a lot of people wanted to return to the way the president eisenhower ran the nsc in the 1950s which had a fair amount to recommend it. only problem, apparently general jones, the first obama national security advisor had some interest in this, however, essentially the president did not. and the president and general jones never hit it off in the
sense, he respected general jones, general jones respected and admired the president and all this, but never hit it off in a day-to-day policy management relationships. the people who had worked for obama for a long time, political aides, policy aides jumped into the vacuum and then deputy tom tomtom donalon, until the national security job was changed. you find epdeads where the struck -- episodes where the structure is one way and personal relationships don't work out. therefore they get and it's, since the president is dominant, we're all particularly recognizing that right now with somewhat unusual president about to take office but the point i would make, for every president there are i had yo sin consider and style preferences --
idiosyncracies and they tend to shape how the process operates. >> before we go into specific what is is happening now. i want to talk about the size of the nsc staff. brent scowcroft says his was 50 people and he thought that was just about right. it pretty much doubled in every administration since then, where you had more than 400 people working on the nsc staff. in the obama white house, arguably many of those were not policy people. they need a lot more techs than they used to. there is administrative staff. but there were a lot of policy people there. the administration has said it worked to make it smaller. in fact congress moved with legislation in the ndaa this year to mandate some argument over whether they actually have the power to do that but they have done it in legislation, that it can't be more than 200 people. how important is that?
i mean does size dictate function? does function dictate size? does it make a big difference? >> let me jump in and ivo may. on top handful of issues probably not very much. those are handled by the president and the chief people, the deputies and secretaries and deputy secretaries and so forth. what matters is a lot of other issues. the couple hundred policy people obama had until near the end of the administration, most of them never see the president except to shake his hand when they're hired and fired. they don't know the president. most of them don't have any real relationship with the national security advisor but they have a mandate to work in their policy areas and they're aggressive people who are interested in making a difference, so they take initiatives. so they try to control what goes below. as a result, you have increases
the difficulty of people in the agencies being able to take initiatives and lead and connect effecttively with the national security advisor and it makes it, but because there is still only one national security advisor, one president a one cabinet level it creates a bottleneck because you all these people are generating ideas. they're mostly good people. they're active. they care. they have come to government because they want to make a difference but in that sense the large number is the enemy of the good and it is scowcroft idea, ivo and i wrote a piece in 2000 for brookings which we basically said, we think 40 to 50 is about right. that did not include homeland security. so if you add that, it makes it a little bigger, but clearly with under george w. bush and under barack obama it has gotten a lot bigger.
ivo may want to speak to very recent changes. >> so a couple of point on it. first, the idea that congress should legislate presidential staff in the white house, they may or may not be allowed to do it but it is not the a wise thing to do. the president should be able to choose how he sometimes, some days gets advice from the people that he or she wants to get advice from, and it is not for congress to decide it. that is number un. -- one. two, national security council under susan rice actually for the first time really since brent scowcroft said, let's look at what is the right size of this organization. they have taken a very serious look at how many people do they need. and they cut the staff quite dramatically, particularly on the policy side. so it is now under the
soon-to-be mandated 200 policy professional staff. they have also tried to figure out how to streamline the process by which decisions are made including principle meetings and deputy meetings which were overtaking the day-to-day responsibilities of principals and deputies around the departments. third point, just to echo matt's last point, the more people you have, the more busy they will be on issues they shouldn't be busy on and, you know, the core thought that everybody should wake up with from the national security advisor until the lowest policy person is, that is what i am concerned about, something the president ought to be or is interested in. the answer is no, then don't worry about it. let somebody else figure it out. you have an entire bureaucracy that is, that exists for the
very purpose of worrying about the things that the president doesn't or shouldn't worry about. the staff should only worry about things that the president is or should be, and i will underscore should be concerned about. when you have 50, 60, 75, make it 100 people you probably got enough to cover that broad range of issues with again the caveat, depending how broad that range of issues is. does it include trade policy. does it include the domestic homeland security and disaster response policy? so the larger, remit of the nsc, the larger the staff will be but that is a key organizational decision that the president needs to make very early on in the administration. >> do you, bob, you've seen this from the inside through several administrations. what's your view about the size, size dictating function or function dix tating size?
what difference does it make from the inside. >> well, let me first say i agree entirely what has just been said in every respect. i just observe there doesn't seem to be obvious relationship between the size of the nsc staff and the quality of the policies that the president is following. it may even be an inverse relationship but if we think of the late great dick nustaff, presidents get the kind of organization they want. this president will get the kind of organization he wants through his national security advisor, and whether that errs on the side of larger or smaller i don't think really matters all that much as long as it's reasonable. i don't think 400 is reasonable because it has the effect as my colleagues have said, getting
nsc staffers, quote, on behalf of the president involved in policies that no president would be interested in. so i think about 100 is right. could be a little more, a little less. but certainly not as large as it has been in recent administrations. >> so we don't know a lot about what president-elect trump wants from his national security staff. what we do know is that that he has already changed structure. we know that from appointments been made not because of any structural documents. he apparently homeland security council with the obama administration subsumed into the nsc. he has elevated the national economic council. he has created the national trade council and he has appointed all of these in the
white house, all of whom report directly to him. presumably all of them have staff. so i wonder what any of you think about what that says about how smoothly the system is going to run, what his interests are, and how he intend to pursue them through the white house? >> two points. first, on the issue of the homeland security council, the homeland security council exists in the obama administration. the council which is a group of people that meets at principal level and can meet at the president and chaired at the principal level by the homeland security advisor today. we don't know yet whether the change -- so the appointment, i guess it is tom bossert as the new homeland security advisor, assistant to the president for homeland security affairs and counterterrorism, the same title lisa monaco today. >> doesn't she report to susan rice?
>> no. she reports directly to the president. the change the obama administration made, abolished homeland security staff and merged it with the nsc. the question will we have a separate staff dealing homeland security and cyber security. there is a cybersecurity staff under the cio in the white house today. that we don't know. but, that is, we just don't know how that is going to happen. the larger point is exactly your point. that on the big issues dealing with the international affairs, ranging from homeland security through national security, to economic affairs and trade, we are now going to have four individuals who are all in the white house, directly reporting to the president and the question, who is going to coordinate the coordinators? these are four people who will be coordinating various parts of the government. then they have to coordinate with themselves because, strangely enough, foreign
economic policy and trade policy are not that different and many of our national security and foreign policy issues involve both trade and counterterrorism, et cetera. so the coordination of the coordination function within the white house is a recipe for more staff because who's going to coordinate the coordinators. more staff of, obviously, and recipe for potential conflicts. now everything we know about donald trump's management style through the campaign, he seems to like that. he wants to have different people coming forward with different points ever view. he's creating a white house organization that will do that in spades. we haven't even talked about the domestic side and the chief of staff side. so he will have a lot of people reporting directly to him. he will make, presumably the decisions. >> yeah. >> the, presidents often create organizations to signal a priority. there were, every president since richard nixon has had a white house staff that has dealt
to some degree with international economic issues outside of the nsc. however bill clinton, when he ran in his campaigns really wanted to emphasize economic issues. he did announce and did create the national economic council, the nec which is parallel. for his first couple years it was parallel to the nsc because, bob rubin was a very strong and effective leader of that. thereafter it became somewhat less important but became a consequential entity. then george bush created the homeland security council and staff. so then you had these three and then, this was pooled, obama used to have visor but as ivo pointed out the staffs will merge. the biggest problem, there is a dilemma here because as a defender of the separate economic staff, ideally you would like to have everything under the national security advisor but historically,
national security advisors have not responded adequately to the economic agenda. and because of that, the, it is tended to be neglected and it has moved to other people because there were driving forces in politics and in congress and industry, and that pushed it that way. so you had a, i think the biggest redundancy is this combination of a national economic council and a national trade council. obviously the rampant overlap there. trump has done the national trade council because he says he wants to revolutionize trade policy and he created a new organization because because iov suggests, either one of these visor establishes clear primacy or other defers alternatively there is chaos. >> bob, you mentioned that it was important for the national
security advisor not to be disputatious is the word you used. let's assume for the moment that the national security advisor has primacy among these people. at least on issues we're talking about of national security. general flynn who has been named national security advisor, very distinguished intelligence officer throughout his military career, former head of the defense intelligence agency where he ran into some problems both with the pentagon and the white house. so some concerns have been raised that in fact does have a reputation for being disputatious and through his career has not been on a wide range of national security issues. how do you think his characteristics fit as you described it earlier?
>> i really don't want to speak to that because i never met the man. so i don't know washington reputations are formed in many different ways. so i don't want to get -- i do want though reinforce something said about national security advisors and national economic issues. i may not be quite right about this but i was thinking has there ever been a serious economist who has been a national security advisor? i guess walt wsatow would qualify. maybe there is another one. maybe i'm forgetting. they tend to be national security types, generals, admirals, people like condi rice, who spent her career on east-west, soviet issues, an so forth. that inevitably downgrades the economic dimension.
now mac bundy's deputy was francis bator, very distinguished economist from harvard but usually not an economist who is the deputy either. so i think having a separate structure, especially given the preoccupation of this president-elect's with economic issues, it would seem to me that having that separate structure makes sense. on the broad issue of temperment, we just have to see what but what i am confident, having watched myself half a dozen national security advisors who successful and unsuccessful close up is, a disputatious personality gets the national security advisor in trouble. sooner or later the cabinet members, beginning with the secretary of state will be in having one-on-one meeting with president saying, we have a problem here. and in most cases if the
president has to choose between a secretary of state and a national security advisor, they choose the secretary of state. so we'll see. this is a, this is an experiment about to occur and we'll see how it turns out. >> of course we have a lot of senior cabinet officials now who do not have experience in the executive branch or government at all, who are used to running their own shows. so it will be, you know, you can see the possibility of conflict on that level. >> just two points on what bob just amplified. one, the only person with some economic background, who was national security advisor other than that walt is sandy berger who did trade law. different perspective. he was one of those very broad people. i would agree fundamentally with the neglect of big economic and
trade issues by the national security system. the way this has been resolved starting actually under clinton is that the key person doing international economic affairs on the nec reported dual hatted and reports to the nsc. mike froman was one of the more stronger and powerful people in that position. he was both deputy. >> right. deputy advisor. >> deputy advisor under obama and was a deputy at the nsc and merged that. one other point on temperment how to think about it, as bob said at the outset, the key cakic you want in a -- characteristic of a national security advisor one that create trust within his cabinet counterparts particularly between the secretary of state and the secretary of defense that their views will be represented fairly on minute to minute basis to the president. the national security advisor of
the job sees the president, you know, every hour, on the hour almost at the beginning of the date and at the end of the day. the secretary of state and secretary of defense and everybody else needs to know that their views are going to be presented fairly, openly, and they need to trust that the moment that breaks down, is the moment when the sim breaks down and it happens. i don't know whether it is 2/3 of the time in the last 50 years, but it happens way too often. brent scowcroft's great skill to be able to be very, very close to the president, probably closer than almost any other national security advisor. here is a guy that writes the memoirs together with the president. the president's memoirs, writes it with the national security advisor yet there is never any doubt he represented jim baker and dick cheney fully and fairly. that is the key to success. >> when ivo and i were doing our project, we organize ad
roundtable of the former national security advisors. of course bret was a member of that group. the big point he made he said when you become national security advisor you have to spend first year, year-and-a-half establishing trust. you have to get, you have to get so the cabinet people believe in you. otherwise they will go around you. either you have a big conflict like henry kissinger under william rogers or zbigniew brzezinski with vance or different administrations. it will not work and it will break down. one very nice aphorism i-jvo used in our book from david epshire, no longer with us, trust is the coin of the realm. you have to run a good organization, good policy. and the george h.w. bush administration was a paragone of trust among the top people and brent scowcroft made this happen.
his son es administration, last, at least in the first few years was not such a paragone and problems arose from that. >> i want to ask our members to join with your questions now. to remind you first of all that the meeting is on the record and i'll call on you and wait for the microphone. if you could state your name and your affiliation and i know i don't have to ask you to speak concisely and limit yourself to one question so that we can get as many as possible. yes, sir, back there, yes? >> hi. cam carrie from the brookings institution on the government study side of the house, formerly of the commerce department. i want to pick up on the theme of how you integrate economic issues into national security council process. i did a paper at brookings last
fall which plugged gratefully, addressing that question, drawing particularly on the experience of the snowden disclosures and the response to that, which was initially treated as a national, purely a national security issue but had enormous reverberations beyond that. and i am, one of the things to look at is the composition of the national security council. the obama administration's psd-1 says that if economic, international economic issues are on the agenda, then the, the advisor for international economic affairs, secretary of treasury, secretary of commerce, other economic advisors, are at the table. but the proposal is you change that he default so that
ordinarily those people are at the table unless those issues are not on the agenda? the presumption is that things have some impact on those issues and i think the notion that, the economic councils are a solution is certainly important but you still need to integrate those issues. so i wonder if you comment a little bit more on how you make sure that economic agencies and advisors have visibility into what's going on but may have an impact on those issues that may not be seen by the people who make up the nsc. >> who wants to take that? >> one, one thing that the clinton administration did when it established the nec was to have a staff of people who were dual-headed and worked for both
the nec and the nsc in charge at international issues. so at staff level you had integration. in the george w. bush administration they elevated that with a deputy assistant to the president who was dual-hatted and did both national security. this helps to integrate at it level. it doesn't wholly solve the problem but it is useful. as ivo pointed out mike froman played this role in the first obama administration. >> karen, could i chime in? i think the, that was an important point that was made, insuring that the economic agencies are right at the center of white house deliberations of foreign policy, especially in an era of geoeconomics when around the world china, russia, the gulf states, others are using
economics for geopolitical purposes. i would add that most secretaries of the treasury are not enthusiastic about involving their issues in an inneragency process. that is the mildness way to put it. and therefore don't come to those meetings lest their colleagues become interested in treasurys issues. my experience at the white house was it was hard to get the secretary of the treasury over to the white house for issues for the reasons i said. >> important just to amplify exactly what bob says. it sometimes isn't the question whether they're invited. it is often the question whether they show up. and at a certain moment the invitation -- there is a lot of meetings that, in fact they don't think their expertise is particularly important and so it gets downgraded who shows up and ultimately nobody shows up.
>> i think that was often the case. >> often the case with the obama administration, there were so many meetings at white house, level of people that attended started to go farther and farther down all the time. john, do you have a question? >> john pellinger, adjunct fellow on international council of foreign relations. i have a question about the nsc staff coordination functions. obviously the staff's primary function is staffing the for the president and pushing the president's priorities. they have to coordinate all the government. you made the point if the president doesn't care about it. staff shouldn't worry about it, let someone else do it. although if you say the president should care about it. the president needs to care about a coordinated government. there is tendency perhaps in republican administrations in particular, i know it started when i moved to the nsc staff in 2001, well, let's hire strong cabinet secretaries let them do their job and nsc staff just staffs the president and stay out of the way.
the problem you really can't do that we have a government that has to got to coordinate with each other. cia has to coordinate with state and defense. defense we saw what happened in the first term of bush administration they have to coordinate with justice. there has to be a coordination function of the nsc staff. the problem is there can also be too much coordination. this is, if every single thing done by every department is sent to the nsc staff for crosshatch and approval drives people crazy. what is the appropriate level of coordination across government at nsc staff should do which really largely goes on below the president's eye level? >> i think it is excellent question. it is sort of a key driver why staffs get larger by the white house. white house is only place that can and does coordinate.
time to ask the question whether that is in fact true? like others in this building, i was an ambassador and i coordinated by deaf anythings? as chief of mission everyone from every different agency part of your coordinating function. it used to be the case, not like coordination is something new that we didn't have to do in the 1960s, but used to be the case that assistant secretaries, very powerful people in the state department or defense department or justice department in fact did much of that coordination at that level. and i think we, we want to go back, seems to me, to a system where political appointees who are senate confirmed, and that so they stand at a higher level, actually have more power to do the job they're supposed to be doing, and that includes the coordinating job. the idea that it can only happen in the white house leads you to
two, three, 400 staff folks. now information flow is one thing. you want to have as much information flow that is happening. but the idea that the only person who can coordinate an interagency process is somebody who sits in the white house is, it is just wrong. there is no reason why the assistant secretary for near, for europe can't coordinate russia policy with folks, including the white house, but actually go to the state department. actually, strange idea, but from the white house to the state department it is actually far coming from the state department to the white house as the white house to the state department. just think about that. you can actually do coordination in a different way. >> what you have to have if you do it that way is an informal, preferably informal group at secretary of state level, may include a defense person, may include a intelligence person, may include a economic person
depending on the issue who are congenial with one another. they will fight with each other about policy but also they will work together and realize, the administration has been able to establish, effective and formal coordination at cabinet and near cabinet level. will be more effective establishing at near assistant level. >> you have to give somebody convening authority and i think the, you mentioned, ivo, about the ipcs, i think the obama administration specifically in their initial directive had a whole paragraph saying ipcs will not be inneragency headed by a department. they will be in the white house, headed by a person on the nsc staff. so i think this sort of control from the white house was in their heads from the start. >> in part because it tries to answer john's question of coordination and the presupposition the only person
who doesn't have the a stake in this is in the white house and therefore is the only person who can convene and control. i'm not sure that is actually true. >> or the person -- >> coordinate with each other. >> if they don't, if there is no coordination, you then you throw it back into, into the nsc written process. but in many cases it does get coordinated. does in country often. >> bob, jump in. a little awkward have you on the screen. >> no, it's fine. it's fine. >> i'm audrey cronin, american university. hi. my question is where do you think u.s. long-term strategy is made beyond the interests of any department, agency, or policy area? or is the concept simply anachronistic? >> [laughter].
>> bob, do you want to take that one? >> if i could be personal, when i was in the white house, last time in george w. bush's administration i was deputy national security advisor for strategic planning and, so i started out as conde had asked to try to do that and the secretary of state colin powell said, forget it. there isn't going to be any strategic planning generated out of the white house. it will come from the agencies and presented to the white house and, it can a amalgamate the vis and our policy in iraq is such a mess and i spent much of the next year in baghdad. [laughter]. so i'm pretty skeptical of strategic planning being generated by this small, nsc staff separate from the national
security advisor himself. perhaps the best example of strategic planning coming out of this process we've been discussing was henry kissinger and, the break, the opening to china and the creation of detente and all the rest, and that was basically out of kissinger and nixon's head, and so, we'll see whether this national security advisor has that capacity. but i don't think it's generated upward, to any significant extent by the nsc staff. >> when henry kissinger was made national security advisor he invite ad distinguished political scientist named bob osgood to join his staff basically to do long-term planning. he treated osgood, unlike a lot
of other staff members with utmost respect and deference. osgood, more or less interviewing him in couple years doing this, he was totally irrelevant. and there was no -- the reason is really a process that is very hard to overcome. issues come, the national security advisor, his or her leverage from the day-to-day issues, managing them for the president. and the are urgent and if you have a president deeply involved in foreign policy those issues tend to drive. the nixon was interesting and impressive exception being able to move strategically but i think as you've said, bob, absolutely right, it comes, it came from nixon and kissinger's heads, not from a staff, not from an institutional procedure. >> yes. >> i'm francis -- work at boston
consulting group. to bob es earlier point that the national security advisor should be able collate policy from the different agencies to the president and implement it, give us briefly an example of when that process worked well? what do you was there a policy you feel well-executed from the beginning to the end. >> give you an example. there is really good point. so after a truly disasterous by two administrations figuring out what to do with bosnia, tony lake led in a process where he asked different agencies to come up with their best ideas about how to resolve it. there was a state department effort and a defense department effort and there was a while at u.n. there was madeleine albright effort and nsc effort and those different effort were put together and in a series of meetings and series of discussions with the
president over a number of days that led to a strategy for trying to get the issue resolved one way or the other the one way or the other was either through negotiation or withdrawing u.n. troops and lifting the arms embargo and striking providing air power. it in fact was using military means in order to get the process, the peace process going. that led to dayton. and then led to the implementation of the of the postdate ton period, not as successful getting to dayton and ending the war. but it ended the war. that was 1996. 1995. it is now 2016,-17, while the situation in bosnia in some ways is not that much different from what it was in 1995, one thing is different, nobody is killing each other.
and in that sense it was a remarkably successful process, run, actually out of failure, which is usually when things happen. i think the surge, iraq surge is the other good example of recognition that the policy wasn't working and then saying, how do we get new ideas together, and that's when the national security advisor, when they play their roles right, really becomes, if you want to do strategists, planners, in order to resolve a particular issue that in the case of bosnia you yaw, it had to be resolved before the 199election. in the case of iraq, a recognition by the president that it wasn't working and we needed a new policy. this was eating up everything that was going on domestically and in our foreign policy and they did. >> steve played a crucial role doing that. >> those are two good examples. and a third is the unification
of germany within nato from april 1989, when eastern europe started vibrating all the way through september of 1990. >> absolutely. >> when germany was unified under, in nato and that was one, not that was born out of failure. it was born out of utterly unanticipated he event which was gorbachev and loosening over control of eastern europe and the consequences. and the president, in this case, the president and brent in the spring of 1989 seeing these events, basically created the policy of going as fast as one could toward german unification and involving gorbachev deeply in that process and helmut kohl and basically it was a
trilateral effort of bush, kohl, and gorbachev and opposed as we recall, thatcher and mitterrand. it was responding to events. there are numbers of good examples when this works, but if you go back to say, well, what, i think, at least in the case i'm most familiar with, which is the one i just mentioned, it was because of the trust in baker and cheney and brent and the president, workedded their way through tactical disagreements without a bump. and, that is what it takes to implement the kind of policy that, and the examples we've been using, and we'll see if the trump administration capable of that.
>> amplify one of the things bob mentioned, that trump went down levels of the administration. you, bob, working with kimet and others and zoellick and that team equally working as well. bringing the interagency process and trust down through the levels of government that is absolutely critical. >> that is one of the problems with the george w. bush administration, certainly in the first term, where you had the enmity among people at top level went all the way down. >> all the way down. >> with people defending their -- >> in the obama administration is that it exists there, that level of confidence and cooperation and trust, actually does go quite far. there is always competition. there is always different views but, but people work together at a various different levels. when that happens, things can, things can move. >> we have only five more minutes. let's try to get in two or three
more questions. way in the back there? >> thank you. hi, i'm audrey kimble from google. could you comment on the dynamic between regional organization and nsc and functional? is it, is it preferred to have cyber as its own entity within the nsc or have cyber expert within the europe bureau or europe directorate who wants to take that? >> just as a large, as a larger issue, the competence in government is not in the white house. it just isn't. you can't have all experts in the white house. if you do, you will take all of the departments. that is where the expertise lies. that is true for regional. true for functional. true for everything. so the people, that you want in the white house, are the people who, who know where the expertise is, and can bring it to bear to the decision-making process. but if you bring it all into the
white house, then the white house becomes a u.s. government. why bother? it is this constant tension, this belief the only way you can coordinate is to have the expertise, that leads to growing staffs. when in fact it is the ability to think through where in the government is this expertise and how do we bring it to bear to the decision-making process. then let them implement it because you're not the ones they're supposed to be implementing. that is the question, that brent scowcroft as he once put it, every morning when i wake up i look in the mirror and says, how can i have one less staff person, not one more, one less. what is it that we're doing in fact somebody else can do better that is the right question. >> the question you raised is sort of a basic dilemma of government. do you give it to the functional expert or give it to the regional expert? really depends on the nature of the issue. if it is predominantly, if it is each issues with china are
predominantly economic and trade issues, you tend to give the issues to the economic people, if they're more security, then you give them to the china people. so it's, but it is not automatic or easy. i think cyber would be an example which in principle is a functional issue, but then as ivo says, that doesn't mean you have to pull everything up into the white house which can create a mess. >> yes, sir? >> good morning. from george washington university. do you all have a view of the role of the u.s. mission in the united nations or coordinated or folded into the national security apparatus? obviously since the ambassador is elevated to a cabinet-level position essentially created another pole of u.s. foreign policy making on that matter. i would be grateful for your views. >> are you -- >> i think the, i think the u.n. ambassador should report to the secretary of state.
like every other ambassador and that's where it belongs and should be instrument of american foreign policy and not a separate entity. so i would move it into the direction of reef integrating it. back into -- i'm as ambassador, you would have loved to be a cabinet member. [laughter]. and i as ambassador to nato would have loved to have been a cabinet member. i don't think either of us would have been as effective if we had been in any principals meeting as an independent actor as opposed to people part of this state or in this my case, state and defense apparatus. and so, the idea that the u.n. ambassador somehow has a separate standing, i know my great friends and colleagues who have been u.n. ambassadors will violently disagree but i believe integrating it back into the place where it belongs which is the state department is probably the right place.
>> i wonder -- here, here. >> if you look at the history of this, look at starting with jean kirkpatrick who was a person of great stature who was brought in by the reagan administration. i think they wanted to have her and her views in the cabinet and i would dare to suggest that since many of the u.n. ambassadors since then have been women, that it allows also, allows the president to have another woman in the cabinet. >> then so, i'm all for -- >> something left -- >> i'm all for having women as secretary of state and secretary of defense. i don't think that is the issue or the way to solve it. >> yeah. >> my name is courtney rogers. committee to protect journalists. we talk aboutdownsizing the nsc i haven't question where you believe human rights belongs and whether it belongs in the nsc? the way we participated in
consultations there are global engagement centers, cult aigs held with civil society organizations broadly, lots and lots of consultations on many issues. talk a little bit about what happens then to the ability to integrate civil society into policy-making processes and where you believe human right belongs at all at the nsc? >> the problem with human rights is tends to be in practice a country issue. it tends to be actions taken, abuses taken by national governments. . .
>> this came up when the jimmy carter administration or president carter was preoccupied with human right during the campaign and the special up is in the white house on that subject. but discovered that he had essentially two different powers is towards every country. the one of the secretary of state and the human rights on his own staff then after a while, the human rights person left in the position with downgraded. but that brings me to this final point about this coordination i've been talking about throughout which is if you're not careful, any administration faces the danger of having
several policies at the same time been articulated to other government and that gets back to the crucial msc advised there to try to be sure on behalf of the president at the president's policy as the president is implemented and there's only one. i was in the reagan administration and especially in the early years than at any given monday there's four or five different foreign policies on any particular issue to 15% by various agencies of the u.s. government and we are basically until colin powell took over as nation security adviser. this is absolutely crucial and it's very hard to do. >> wailers try to get everybody out on time. thank you forward being to our panelists.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we really this year ago right now it's had to edit leaders are holding a briefing this morning for an ethics investigation of congressman tom price talk trade as a member of congress. >> senator biden, ranking member of the finance committee. just this week, house republicans when they came out, they shock the world