Since Sunday we have seen quite a bit of John Brennan. In this Tuesday picture he is briefing the spanking-new Secretary of Health and Human Services. We can guess the topic of conversation.
Mr. Brennan is the Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrrorism. He also holds the title of Deputy National Security Advisor. Mr. Brennan is a long-time intelligence professional who played a prominent role on candidate Obama’s national security team.
The sudden emergence of the H1N1 virus highlights a security domain distinct from the traditional NSC portfolio. The hydra-like challenges of recent days have obscured — perhaps delayed — but have certainly informed the final draft of the report ordered by Presidential Study Directive 1.
I hope Mr. Brennan keeps both of his titles. As I have argued elsewhere, the lessons of this current challenge should be reflected in a reformed and strengthened HSC staff that is effectively coordinated, but remains helpfully distinct from the NSC.