President Obama plans to merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council in order to bring unity to the White House’s approach to combating threats against the nation, according to The Washington Post.
The White House also will add new offices for cybersecurity, including a “czar” appointed to oversee efforts across a number of fronts including the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Defense (DOD), and ohter agencies. Another office will be added to work on terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, and for ‘resilience’ — a national security directorate aimed at preparedness and response for a domestic WMD attack, pandemic or natural catastrophe, officials said.
Statements from the administration indicate that there will no attempt to manage responses to natural disasters, through FEMA at the White House. Instead, they will focus on improving communication between the executive branch and DHS during such events.
Another sea change that is on the horizon is reported to be a larger role for the FBI and Justice Department in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.
These moves are seen as the boldest depature yet from the Bush administration, and are politcally challenging since Republicans have long dominated public opinion polls when it comes to matters of National Security.
Key Repulican leaders in Congress have already expressed “concern” over the changes which are to be implemented over the next six weeks.