According to the Boston Globe, this afternoon the President announced his long-signaled decision to integrate the White House staff currently assigned to the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council. The HSC and NSC, consisting of cabinet principals and established by statute, will continue. But the staff elements will be combined.
As of 2PM eastern I cannot find other confirmation, Nothing related is showing up on the White House website. But the Globe is a trustworthy source. According to the Globe, here is the full White House announcement:
As President, my highest priority is the safety and security of the American people. That is why, in February, I issued a Presidential Study Directive to look at how the White House should be organized to deal with the critical issues of homeland security and counterterrorism. I have carefully reviewed the findings and recommendations of that study, and am announcing a new approach which will strengthen our security and the safety of our citizens. These decisions reflect the fundamental truth that the challenges of the 21st Century are increasingly unconventional and transnational, and therefore demand a response that effectively integrates all aspects of American power.
Key decisions that I have made include:
The full integration of White House staff supporting national security and homeland security. The new “National Security Staff” will support all White House policymaking activities related to international, transnational, and homeland security matters. The establishment of the new National Security Staff, under the direction of the National Security Advisor, will end the artificial divide between White House staff who have been dealing with national security and homeland security issues.
Maintaining the Homeland Security Council as the principle venue for interagency deliberations on issues that affect the security of the homeland such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters, and pandemic influenza. The Homeland Security Council, like its National Security Council counterpart, will be supported by the National Security Staff.
The establishment of new directorates and positions within the National Security Staff to deal with new and emerging 21st Century challenges associated with cybersecurity, WMD terrorism, transborder security, information sharing, and resilience policy, including preparedness and response.
Retaining the position of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (AP/HSCT) as my principal White House advisor on these issues, with direct and immediate access to me. The security of our homeland is of paramount importance to me, and I will not allow organizational impediments to stand in the way of timely action that ensures the safety of our citizens.
Creating a new Global Engagement Directorate to drive comprehensive engagement policies that leverage diplomacy, communications, international development and assistance, and domestic engagement and outreach in pursuit of a host of national security objectives, including those related to homeland security.
The United States faces a wide array of challenges to its security, and the White House must be organized to effectively and efficiently leverage the tremendous talent and expertise of the dedicated Americans who work within it. The creation of the National Security Staff and the other recommendations from the study that I have approved will help to keep our country safe and our Homeland secure.
As regular readers of this blog know too well, I have been an advocate for keeping the Homeland Security Council staff distinct from the National Security Council staff. The renaming of the National Security Council staff is more of a fig leaf than a substantive shift. But while I regret the decision, I do not question its earnest purpose. I hope the integrated staff will decisively disprove all of my concerns regarding the threat of a national security mindset overwhelming and misdirecting the Homeland Security domain.
I am especially encouraged by the decision to name a Resilience Policy Directorate. This could initiate and shepherd a very helpful and needed strategic shift.
(As of 2:21 Eastern I am receiving several Email confirmations from DHS and others, but nothing yet on the White House website. I am going into a meeting that will keep me offline for at least a couple of hours. Please use the comment function to point readers to news coverage or the White House announcement. I think the Globe was first, Ambinder was second, and HLSwatch was third, all within the same 40 minutes.)