A recent post on the Project on National Security Reform (LinkedIn) by the Interim Director of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) Dr. Christopher Lamb, at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) attempted to answer the following question:
“What reforms will the Obama administration need to undertake to achieve the new organizational capacity articulated by its National Security Strategy?”
Answer: It is good that the new National Security Strategy recognizes “work remains to foster coordination across departments and agencies.” In the list of challenges to coordination across departments that is identified in the NSS, perhaps the most important is “reviewing authorities and mechanisms to implement and coordinate assistance programs”—not just for assistance programs but all interagency missions. As PNSR has previously noted, none of the basic coordinating mechanisms of the national security system has been very successful. In short, there is no consistently effective model of presidentially delegated authority for integrating interagency missions. Thus one absolutely critical reform is a new, empowered integration mechanism which the president can use when circumstances demand. By the way, we are working on that issue here at the Center for Strategic Research and hope to have a useful article on the topic in the not too distant future.