On February 23 President Obama signed Presidential Study Directive 1. This sets out a process for the oft-discussed potential merger of the Homeland Security Council with the National Security Council. A pdf of the three pages is available here courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists.
The directive’s language pre-supposes some sort of integration. The President states, “I believe that Homeland Security is indistinguishable from National Security — conceptually and functionally — they should be thought of together rather than separately. Instead of separating these issues, we must create an integrated, effective, and efficient approach to enhance the national security of the United States. The White House must be organized in ways to reflect this reality.”
John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, is leading the study authorized by the PSD. He is to report back within sixty days.
In her testimony yesterday (see immediately below) Secretary Napolitano declined to predict what the study might conclude regarding integration.
I agree that National Security and Homeland Security are tightly related. Just as effective parenting depends on closely coordinated attitudes and actions by a mother and father, we also need conceptually integrated National Security and Homeland Security functions. It has, however, been my experience that the functions can be – and depending on the nature of the risk, should be – meaningfully distinguished.
UPDATE: Karen De Young at the Washington Post scooped the rest of us on getting a copy of Policy Directive 1, the White House document resetting the National Security Council. See her February 27 story: National Security Structure Set. SECOND UPDATE: The text of PD 1 is available here courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists
(My thanks to frequent HLSwatch commentator William R. Cumming for bringing the FAS pdf to our attention.)