President Donald Trump has had problems with America’s national security apparatus since before he took office. Now, the commander-in-chief is doing something about it.
According to The Washington Times, the staff roster at the White House National Security Council (NSC) is being significantly trimmed down. Heading the effort is National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who, according to the Times, has been firing and reassigning individuals whose roles have become unnecessary.
“The NSC staff became bloated during the prior administration,” O’Brien said of the cuts.
Doing the job right
At its height under former President Barack Obama, the NSC had “as many as 450 people” on staff, according to the Times. The Trump administration reportedly plans to cut that number by more than 300, leaving less than 120 staffers on the NSC’s payroll by the beginning of next year.
“I just don’t think that we need the numbers of people that it expanded to under the last administration to do this job right,” O’Brien explained.
According to O’Brien, the NSC’s job is one of coordination. The Times reports that he plans to slim his staff by “consolidating positions and returning officials to agencies and departments such as the CIA, the State and Defense departments, and the military.”
“The NSC is a coordinating body,” O’Brien said. “I am trying to get us back to a lean and efficient staff that can get the job done, can coordinate with our interagency partners, and make sure the president receives the best advice he needs to make the decisions necessary to keep the American people safe.”
Trimming the “Deep State”
Former Trump campaign manager and White House strategist Steve Bannon concurred with O’Brien’s assessment of the “bloated” National Security Council, noting that Trump wanted this problem solved from the start.
“The NSC had gotten so big there were over 450 billets,” Bannon said, according to the Times. “We wanted them out… And I think we would have avoided a lot of the problems we got today if they had been sent back to their agencies.”
Indeed, many of Trump’s biggest hurdles have come straight from the “Deep State” itself — from phony allegations of Russia collusion to unsubstantiated rumors about foreign scandals that the media can’t seem to get enough of. These culminated in the impeachment of President Trump by House Democrats on Dec. 18, though the measure hasn’t yet moved to the Senate for trial, according to The Hill.
In an attempt to avoid similar problems caused by the NSC’s web of bureaucracy, the Trump administration is cutting back — and according to NSC spokesman John Ullyot, they’re on the right track.
“We remain on track to meeting the right-sizing goal Ambassador O’Brien outlined in October,” he told the Times, “and in fact may exceed that target by drawing down even more positions.”