On Saturday, President Trump signed a memorandum that completely changed the makeup of the National Security Council.
The National Security Act was put into law in 1947, and organized a great amount of the U.S. national security enterprise, including the National Security Council (and the CIA). Set NSC membership by the act includes the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy, US Representative to the UN, Office of Management & Budget Director, and Chief of Staff for the President. Further, there are “traditional” advisory members that include the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (military adviser), the Director of National Intelligence (intelligence adviser), and the National Security Adviser. Any other members can be added by the President, and Trump is now adhering to that.
Trump's memorandum consists of eliminating the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence, and adding the White House chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, instead. The former two, Trump added, would attend "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."
Many are referring to this move as “unprecedented” and “non-traditional.” Just like Sen. Bernie Sanders, for example.
Steve Bannon sitting on the National Security Council is dangerous and unprecedented. He must be removed.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 30, 2017
Further, others who don’t approve of any of Trump’s policies have been referring to Bannon’s Breitbart past.
However, FoxNews quoted Sean Spicer explaining why the change is a positive one.
"He is a former naval officer. He's got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told ABC's "This Week." “Having the chief strategist for the president in those meetings who has a significant military background to help make -- guide what the president's final analysis is going to be is crucial."
This post has been updated to correct an error.