Larsen introduces legislation to counter politicization of the National Security Council

Feb 4, 2017 Issues: Supporting our Naval Bases, Veterans

The Islands' Sounder: Larsen introduces legislation to counter politicization of the National Security Council 

After what he described as a “holy crap” moment, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, is introducing legislation to counter President Trump’s politicization of the National Security Council – the chief body responsible for advising the president on matters of national security.

Last week, Trump moved to radically reorganize the National Security Council by removing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the President’s principal military advisor) and the Director of National Intelligence (the President’s chief intelligence advisor) from the influential Principals Committee. In their place, President Trump added White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. This move threatens to undermine the bipartisan principle of striving to avoid political influence on the National Security Council.

“This is indeed a ‘holy crap’ moment,” Larsen said. “Replacing trusted military and intelligence advisors with someone accountable only to the President is extremely reckless. For the sake of national security, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence must have a role on the National Security Council that is at least equal to that of political hires such as Steve Bannon.”

Larsen’s Ensuring Sound Military and Intelligence Advice Act of 2017 would preserve the role of professional military and intelligence advice in America’s most important national security decisions.

Specifically, the legislation would amend the National Security Act of 1947 to ensure that “if any individual whose responsibilities are primarily political is designated as a regular attendee of meetings of the National Security Council or of any body of the National Security Council, including the Principals Committee, then the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall also be designated as regular attendees of such Council or body.”