care to help me please!?

What is the role of the Department of Defense in Executive foreign policy making? & What are its most important institutions and how do they work?

what does the question mean by "its most important institutions"

what are the institutions or organizations?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Department of Defense implements the use of military force in US foreign policy. While the Secretary of State nominally controls US foreign policy, at various times during recent history a few institutions either controlled by or intimately familiar with the Department of Defense have had as much or more influence over foreign policy than the Department of State.

    I'm not sure what "its most important institutions" means - perhaps you can explore that with the person who gave you this assignment.

    However, I can think of three institutions that are crucial to the formation of foreign policy and its implementation as it pertains to national defense:

    The National Security Council, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Command Authority.

    - The Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are part, along with the President, of the National Command Authority - the people who make decisions on prompt military responses such as nuclear command and control and delivering orders to the national combatant commands for military action. (1)

    - The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a group of military leaders in the United States armed forces who advise the civilian government of the United States. The JCS is defined by law (the National Security Act of 1947) as:

    a Chairman and

    a Vice Chairman (added by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986) appointed by the President,

    and the Chiefs of service from four of the five branches of the armed services (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps). (2)

    - The National Security Council was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. It was created because policymakers felt that the diplomacy of the State Department was no longer adequate to contain the USSR in light of the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. The intent was to ensure coordination and concurrence among the Navy, Army, Air Force and other instruments of national security policy (such as the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, also created in the National Security Act).

    On May 26th, 2009, President Obama merged the White House staff supporting the Homeland Security Council (HSC) and the National Security Council into one National Security Staff (NSS). The HSC and NSC each continue to exist by statute as bodies supporting the President. (3)

    The National Security Council defines the military aspects of foreign policy in broad strokes.

    The National Security Council is chaired by the President.

    Its regular attendees are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (or National Security Advisor).

    The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence advisor.

    The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are also invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate. (3)

    - the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (or National Security Advisor) has had from administration to administration, very strong influence on day to day military foreign policy due to this advisor's strong knowledge of military organizations and capabilities. Advisors are usually either civilians with strong defense expertise or serving/former military officers with strong defense experience..

    Notably powerful and/or influential National Security Advisors in the past have included

    McGeorge Bundy for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson

    Walt W. Rostow for Lyndon B. Johnson

    Henry Kissinger for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford

    Lt Gen Brent Scowcroft for Gerald Ford

    Zbigniew Brzezinski for Jimmy Carter

    Lt Col Robert C.McFarlane for Ronald Reagan

    VADM John M. Poindexter for Ronald Reagan

    LTG Colin L. Powell for Ronald Reagan

    Lt Gen Brent Scowcroft for George H. W. Bush

    W. Anthony Lake for Bill Clinton

    Samuel R. Berger for Bill Clinton

    Condoleezza Rice for George W. Bush

    While the statutory authority of the National Security Advisor is informal - the Advisor has a modest staff and his office isn't really an institution, the advisors listed above have had very great influence on their Presidents' foreign military policies. (4)

    National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, specifically, have exercised more influence and control over foreign policy during their terms of service than the serving Secretary of State at the time.

    On occasion, National Security Advisors have gone on to hold the office of Secretary of State (Kissinger, Powell, Rice).

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago


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