The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says President Trump’s overhaul of the National Security Council (NSC) will not lessen his involvement with the group.
“The recently announced organization of the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council makes it clear the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will fully participate in the Interagency process to provide best military advice to the President and members of his National Security Council,” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said in a statement Monday, according to ABC News.
"I remain honored and humbled to represent the extraordinary men and women of the Joint Force in serving our President and our Nation.”
Trump signed an executive order on Saturday restructuring the NSC as “security threats facing the United States in the 21st Century transcend international boundaries.”
“Accordingly, the United States Government’s decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative,” Trump’s memorandum stated.
Trump added the directive’s reorganization focused on “efficiency and I think a lot of additional safety” regarding the NSC.
The measure added White House chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon to the NSC while removing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.
Both officials will instead “attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”
Bannon was chairman of the far-right Breitbart News before becoming the CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
The conservative’s addition to the NSC has angered Democrats and Republicans alike on the grounds that national security decisions should be made independent of political concerns.
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), for example, called for Bannon’s removal from the NSC earlier Monday, saying his inclusion is “dangerous and unprecedented.”
“We need experienced people who will protect our country on the National Security Council, not an extreme right-wing political operative,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate tweeted.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Bannon’s addition Monday, touting his Navy background and knowledge of “geopolitical affairs.”
“And I think codifying it and putting out there is not something we’re trying to hide,” he said of Bannon’s addition on MSNBC.