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H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

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Postby TechJunkie on 22 Feb 2017 09:07

H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

McMaster's analysis of the decision-making process that led to one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in US history is the most reassuring thing that I've seen so far about what might happen during the Trump administration.

In 1991, as commander of an armored cavalry troop in the Persian Gulf War, it was clear to me that our unit’s experience was dramatically different from the Vietnam accounts that I had read. The ease with which we could connect our combat mission to strategic objectives that seemed clear and attainable contrasted starkly with combat actions in Vietnam, which seemed to achieve nothing beyond adding more enemy dead to the weekly body count. I wondered how and why Vietnam had become an American war—a war in which men fought and died without a clear idea of how their actions and sacrifices were contributing to an end of the conflict. When I arrived at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1992 to begin my graduate work in American history, I began to seek answers to those questions.

I discovered that the military’s role in Vietnam decision making was little understood and largely overlooked. By law the Joint Chiefs of Staff were the “principal military advisers to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.” That was not the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) during the escalation of the Vietnam War.


In the beginning when he's looking at the early days of Kennedy's administration and his cabinet formation reveals some interesting parallels that I didn't know about before:

[Kennedy] regarded Eisenhower’s National Security Council (NSC) structure as cumbersome and unnecessary. Immediately after taking office, he eliminated the substructure of the NSC by abolishing its two major committees: the Planning Board and the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB). Kennedy resolved not to use the NSC except for the pro forma consultation required by the National Security Act of 1947. In place of the formal Eisenhower system, Kennedy relied on an ad hoc, collegial style of decision making in national security and foreign affairs. He formed task forces to analyze particular problems and met irregularly with an “inner club” of his most trusted advisers to discuss problems informally and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of potential courses of action.
...
Kennedy’s structural changes, his practice of consulting frankly with only his closest advisers, and his use of larger forums to validate decisions already made would transcend his own administration and continue as a prominent feature of Vietnam decision making under Lyndon Johnson.
...
Kennedy and the young New Frontiersmen of his administration viewed the Eisenhower JCS with suspicion. Against the backdrop of Kennedy’s efforts to reform the Defense Department, and under the strain of foreign policy crises, a relationship of mutual distrust between senior military and civilian officials would develop.


Sound familiar?

The very first disaster that this dysfunction led to was the botched Bay Of Pigs invasion. A debacle that can be traced to miscommunication inside of the Kennedy administration, largely due to the new JCS structure.

John Kennedy had not considered the consequences of going forward with the Bay of Pigs invasion. The president’s informal style and structure of decision making did not allow for a systematic review of the planned invasion of Cuba. Under Eisenhower a White House intelligence office closely monitored CIA plans and operations. Eisenhower had approved only planning and preparation for the invasion. When Kennedy abolished the intelligence office of the OCB, he impeded his staff’s ability to gain familiarity with and take control of the Eisenhower administration’s policies and programs. The CIA was able, therefore, to present the plan for the invasion as a decision already made by Kennedy’s predecessor.
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Postby TechJunkie on 22 Feb 2017 23:08

Re: H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

When he arrived in Washington on April 22, Taylor’s first responsibility was to conduct an investigation of the decision to mount the Bay of Pigs invasion. Although he concluded that the Chiefs were “not directly responsible” for the misadventure, he criticized them for not warning the president more urgently of the dangers. When the administration sought military advice on narrow questions about the operation, the Chiefs gave competent answers but offered no overall assessment because “they hadn’t been asked.” Taylor concluded that relations between the commander in chief and the JCS had reached “crisis” level.

To address the problem he drafted a memorandum outlining what the president ought to expect from the Chiefs in the area of military advice. The memo ordered the JCS to initiate advice as well as respond to specific requests.

McMaster, H. R. (2011-03-01). Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Kindle Locations 384-391). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


... according to Mr. Trump’s plans for the National Security Council, neither the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the president’s primary military adviser, nor the director of national intelligence, the president’s primary intelligence adviser, will be a permanent member of the council’s “principals committee,” a core group responsible for formulating policy.

more...


The White House dismissed a senior National Security Council aide on Friday after revelations that he fiercely criticized President Trump and his administration, Politico reported.

Craig Deare, the NSC’s senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, allegedly ripped the Trump administration at an off-the-record event hosted by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center, directing his ire at the chaotic nature of the Trump White House, as well as Trump and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Deare also voiced frustration that senior national security aides do not have a direct line to the president, according to Politico.

more...


Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he's concerned about the fractured national security structure and lack of preparedness within the new Trump administration to handle a crisis.

“The thing that you worry about a great deal, particularly now with the loss of a national security adviser, you don't have somebody in that place,” Panetta said in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press."

“The National Security Council hasn't even met formally,” Panetta said.

Panetta cautioned that the system in place to inform President Donald Trump about national security issues is currently “dysfunctional,” suggesting the critical White House apparatus to handle the nation's security is broken.

“What happens if there's a major crisis that faces this country? If Russia engages in a provocation, if Iran does something stupid, if North Korea does something stupid and we have to respond, where is the structure to be able to evaluate that threat, consider it and provide options to the president?"

“Right now, that's dysfunctional, and that's what worries me a great deal.”

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Postby TechJunkie on 05 Apr 2017 19:04

Re: H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

Bannon's ouster solidifies McMaster's control over the NSC

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster quietly slipped out of the White House grounds last week to seek the counsel of one of his aging predecessors, another three-star general who ran the National Security Council in a time of political turmoil and congressional probes.

McMaster's session with 92-year-old Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, was the clearest indication yet that McMaster, who took the reins of the NSC in February after his predecessor Mike Flynn was ousted, intends to radically depart from the approach taken by Flynn and President Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was removed from his seat on Wednesday.

Trump's directive reorganizing the National Security Council gives McMaster the lines of authority and independence he sought when offered the job and restores the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, as a regular member of the NSC, along with the director of national intelligence, former senator Dan Coats.

An administration official with direct knowledge of the deliberations said the changes are part of broader reforms McMaster is implementing, including reducing the size of the NSC's professional staff, which ballooned to about 450 under President Barack Obama.

It's also seen as a major victory in reviving the so-called "Scowcroft model," in which the national security adviser avoids pushing his own policy agenda in favor of serving as a referee for proposals put forth by NSC staff and the career professionals from national security and foreign policy agencies that also participate in high-level meetings. Scowcroft also established a process in which the national security adviser is heard but rarely seen, his or her influence measured by how much they have the president's ear in private.

“On paper it is the layered committees, an immensely orderly process,” explained Peter Feaver, who served on the National Security Council staff of President George H.W. Bush and now teaches at Duke University. “You decide everything at the lowest possible level so only the really tough decisions get kicked upstairs. And no meeting about you is without you. Everybody who has an equity gets to play and gets their say.”

That is a stark departure from the way Flynn ran the group during his brief tenure as national security adviser.

In his three-week stint, Flynn established a new layer of hand-picked subordinates, was criticized for shutting out career NSC staff from meetings – and for, at one point, making a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to announce that “as of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”

The retired three-star general, who is under investigation by the FBI and Congress for his alleged interactions with the Russian government during the election, was one of the most prominent and hawkish surrogates for Trump during the election campaign – including espousing hard-line views on Islam and leading chants of “lock her up” about opponent Hillary Clinton.

The new NSC organizational directive states, in part, that McMaster, or his sole designee, “shall determine the agenda in consultation with the appropriate committee members.”

It also says that “invitations to participate in or attend a specific principal committee meetings shall be extended at the discretion of the chair, and may include those Cabinet-level heads of executive departments and agencies, and other senior officials, who are needed to address any issue under consideration.”

The biggest change is the removal of Bannon, whose designation as a regular participant in National Security Council meetings was widely seen as a reversal of its apolitical tradition.

"It was not right to have him in that room, in those meetings," said Brian McKeon, who served as NSC executive secretary under Obama.

The role of Tom Bossert, who serves as Trump's homeland security adviser and had been a co-equal with Flynn, was also reduced.

"It is further empowers McMaster," said Laura Holgate, another Obama NSC veteran, who described Bossert, a White House veteran, as "very capable" and highly respected by the NSC staff.

Feaver also said McMaster, who as an Army major wrote a blistering book about White House decision-making during the Vietnam War, appears to be trying to echo another of Scowcroft's characteristics: being seen as an “honest broker, not a policy entrepreneur” in the vein of Flynn or, Feaver suggested, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Nicholas Rostow, who served on the National Security Council staff under President Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, defined the Scowcroft model another way: "Passion for anonymity. In the words of George Marshall, 'If you don't care who gets the credit you can get something done in this town.'"

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Postby LeVeL on 07 Apr 2017 15:09

Re: H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

Reading your post and removal of Steve Bannon (Slamminshaun's homeboi) from the Security Council Post almost gave me faith on this Administration.

But, since they still have this dweeb still calling the shots:

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I have lost faith in this Administration. I am sure our Allies have no faith in this Administration either
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Postby slamminshaun on 07 Apr 2017 15:40

Re: H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

LeVeL wrote:I have lost faith in this Administration. I am sure our Allies have no faith in this Administration either


U.S. Allies in Middle East Praise Trump’s Missile Strike in Syria

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/worl ... .html?_r=0

Trump Lavished With Media and Bipartisan Praise For Bombing Syria

https://theintercept.com/2017/04/07/the ... ing-syria/

Fareed Zakaria wrote:I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night. I think this actually was a big moment.

Brian Williams wrote:They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this air field.
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Postby TechJunkie on 07 Apr 2017 18:00

Re: H.R. McMaster - Dereliction Of Duty

Everybody except the people who elected Trump agree with Trump bucking Russia and punishing Syria for what it did. I see people saying that they're skeptical that Syria really deployed chemical agents against civilians. There is no doubt at this point that Syria deployed military force against civilians. So it doesn't matter that much if your red line for opposing injustice is not necessarily chemical weapons.
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