In the Shadow of the Oval Office

The Next National Security Adviser

Nowhere in U.S. law is there a provision establishing the position of the assistant to the president for national security affairs. The job is the creation of presidents, and its occupants are responsible to them alone. The position gained prominence after John F. Kennedy's election nearly half a century ago and since then has become central to presidential conduct of foreign policy. Fifteen people have held the job during this time. Some proved successful, others less so. But the post of national security adviser is now an institutional fact. By all odds, it will remain so.

National security advisers have a tough job. They must serve the president yet balance this primary allegiance with a commitment to managing an effective and efficient policy process. They must be forceful in driving that process forward to decisions yet represent other agencies' views fully and faithfully. They must be simultaneously strong and

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