The United States Constitution gives the President limited power regarding policy-making. The Presidency of the United States is constitutionally not a policy-making position (Lillebo, 2006). Instead, it is the President’s constitutional job to carry out the policies of Congress. The duties and responsibilities of the President can be broken down into seven roles. The President is the chief of state and is the face of the nation and speaks on behalf of the people. As the chief executive the President chooses their own officials and advisors that help run the executive branch and decides how laws are enforced. As the chief diplomat the President decides what information diplomats and ambassadors relay to foreign governments and oversees the making foreign policy. As commander-in-chief the President oversees the armed forces. The president decides where troops shall be stationed, where ships will be sent, and how weapons will be used. As Chief Legislator the President has the power to influence Congress in its lawmaking because only Congress has the power to make law. As the chief of party, the President helps members of their political party get elected or appointed to office. And as the chief guardian of the economy the President is expected to help the economy while focusing on unemployment, taxes, and general prosperity (Scholastic, 2018). The President’s many roles each hold a varying weight of influence but all impact the citizens.
The National Security Advisor is the assistant to the President for national security matters. The role of the National Security Advisor varies greatly between administrations. When a new administration takes office, the advisors influence and role depends on the qualities, role and management of the person appointed to the position. In theory the National Security Advisor serves “as an honest broker of policy options for the President in the field of national security, rather than as an advocate for his or her own policy agenda” (States, 2018). The National Security Advisor is usually an affiliate of the administration’s own party and is looked at the provide factual non-bias insight.
The National Security Council is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials (National Security Council, 2018). The National Security Council is chaired by the President and 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. Also invited to the council meetings are: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, the Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. In addition, the Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings relating 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 (National Security Council, 2018). The Council’s purpose is to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President’s central point for managing policies among the different government agencies.
The Presidents leadership style has a direct influence on national security decision making. It is rare for both the House of Representative and Senate to be majority one party with agreeance from non-party members on all topics. Considering this a President who leads while taking in account the other parties thoughts is much more likely to get policies created and passed. Being a leader who seemingly takes into account other point of views has a more impactful influence on national security decisions. The public votes on Congressional members and congress is responsible for making laws. As a result, a leader who follows through with the wants of the people by acknowledging several points of views when making decisions can influence both congress and the people to be in their favor when policy making. Presidents who charm the public are able to work with congress on issues that they deem important.
The many conflict points in the roles of the President, the National Security Advisor and the National Security Council rely heavily on the decisions of the President. The usage of those resources are the Presidents to manage. A huge conflict arises when the National Security Advisor or NSC members present biased personal agendas to the President. The results can be off putting the public and results in a mistrust. Those biases can lead to misinformation or tainted national security agendas and missions. On the other hand, when a National Security Advisor or member of the NSC is presenting relevant information if it is not considered by the President there could also be a conflict and further lead to public mistrust.
A President can be for the people, for business, national security, etc., or a combination of multiple. Most currently Donald Trump, who is the current President has made border patrol an item of interest. Donald Trump requested money from congress to build a wall and increase border patrol initiatives and spending. One of the conflict points in this scenario is the fact that Congress is not aligned with the will of the President. There is not a clear appearance of non-bias information being presented to the public to coincide with the President’s request and that is producing resistance in the Congress. One tactic that is proving to be helpful is the President’s insistence to his party that the request for additional funding be included in other policy’s in the sake of national security. This example serves to prove that if the will of the people is not seemingly included in decisions there could be pushback when creating policies.
Question 2: The Congress
Congress is a national legislative body that was established by the Constitution in 1787 and meets at the Capital in Washington, DC. “Congress and the bureaucracy are critical political actors in the policy process. Congress has a constitutional role, broadened through oversight as well as constraints and reporting requirements it has imposed on the president and national security establishment.” (Sarkesian, 2013). Granted by the constitution Congress has the power to make laws. Congress is compiled of 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election by the people.
In relation to the executive branch, congress has the power to make laws. Congress also provides oversight to the executive branch in matters related to national security by providing approval for the defense budget. Because Congress provides approval for the defense budget they are given information surrounding national security to assist with the process and impact those decisions. Congressional members make, and pass laws related to national security often based on their parties’ interest which may differ from the executive branch. In these cases, the President may veto a bill passed by Congress and encourage changes based on concerns that more align with the interest of the primary party in the executive branch. In that case Congress would need to realign their bill and work across parties to enact a bill.
Due to the checks and balances implemented in the Constitution there is a built-in conflict between the branches. Each branch has limited power and relies heavily on the other for approvals, budget and policies. The checks and balances are set in place to protect the people of the United States from anarchy. These sets of limitations also prevent the President from becoming a tyrant by having the power to both make and implement national security policy. Both the senate and house of representatives are voted on by the people. If the house of representative is majority democrats and the senate is majority republicans this could present a gridlock of difficulties passing bills. Likewise, if a differing party receives approval and passes a bill the President may veto the bill and work to get a bill passed that more aligns with their party views. Between the branches one of the biggest points of contention are party viewpoints and maintaining alignment. Because both Congress and the President are voted in it is important to satisfy the voters and maintain loyalty to party members to receive funding, backing, and votes when it is time to be re-elected.
Question 3: The Intelligence Community
The term intelligence community refers to all of the agencies in the executive branch that deal with intelligence at some level. The United States Intelligence Community is assembled by 17 organizations. The 17 organizations are comprised of two independent agencies: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Eight Department of Defense elements which include: The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and intelligence elements of the four DoD services; the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Also, there are seven aspects of intelligence in other departments and agencies such as: the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence, the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of National Security Intelligence, the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis(Members Agencies, 2018).
Intelligence Community initiatives are administered by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s role is to organize and coordinate the efforts of the intelligence community agencies. Within the 17 intelligence community organizations there are 16 agencies. Those 16 agencies are often broken into three categories such as program managers, departmentals and services (ODNI, 2018). Program Managers are responsible for advising and assisting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in identifying requirements, developing budgets, managing finances and evaluating the intelligence community’s performance (Member Agencies, 2018). Departmentals, work within government departments outside of the Department of Defense and focus on serving their parent department’s intelligence needs (Member Agencies, 2018). Lastly, services encompass intelligence personnel in the armed forces, and they primarily support their own service branch’s needs (Member Agencies, 2018).
The detailed structure of the intelligence community plays a key role in its effectiveness in proper analyzing and relaying of information. Much of the structure that is in place today is due to the intelligence community’s failure to properly communicate information obtained to compile a timely analysis on the potential for the attack on September 11, 2001. “The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were a chilling reminder of the importance of an effective intelligence establishment” (Sarkesian, 2013). One of the biggest contributors to the failure of preventing 9/11 was a break in information sharing. Several agencies at the time had important information that combined who have been a red flag that an attack was going to happen. The FBI had useful information that the would-be attackers had taken lessons to learn how to fly aircraft but never learned how to land the aircraft (HSDL, 2006). Other intelligence agencies had other pieced information such as unconventional web searches and communications from Usama Bin Laden (HSDL, 2006). Although minor breakdowns in communication and information sharing happen, this event was catastrophic and resulted in massive life loss and damaged the image of the United States intelligence community internationally.
The post 9/11 structure having 17 organizations and 16 IC agencies does not eliminate the possibility of miscommunication, but the structures do allow for several streams of data output. Because the intelligence community is heavily ingrained in other organizations and agencies they are able to compile information in various fields with first hand interactions and observations. The leaders of those agencies and organizations have interaction directly with Congress and The President when they are invited to NSC meetings. When compiling analysis, the intelligence community must go through many people before their data is consumed by the highest layer of government. This strenuous process of sending information up protects Congress and the President from discussing concerns that may not be pertinent, but it also results in a delay of action. The CIA and intelligence element within the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of National Security Intelligence likely focus on different areas but they rely on their team to investigate the most compelling security concerns and present their findings to their leadership, that analysis is them scrutinized and discussed higher until it reaches the highest level within the organization. Finally, the most important intelligence findings are presented for consumption of the President. Once an intelligence briefing leaves the hands of the intelligence community it is the responsibility of the President to ask additional questions and make the final decision on what to do on behalf of the nation.