The National Security Assistant: Three role conceptions and their implications
This thesis deals with the National Security Assistant as an actor in the national security decision making process. The diversity of roles he has performed since 1947 raises several analytical questions: What was the role of National Security Assistants in respective administrations? What factors determined their role performances? What are the implications of certain role patterns?; Based on the analysis of the eight post-World War II administrations, three role conceptions are crystallized and made explicit: (1) the subordinate Assistant, (2) the equal Assistant, and (3) the dominant Assistant. The three role conceptions have, respectively, advantages but also shortcomings and limitations. Each of the three conceptions appears to be a viable organizational option an incoming President can choose. The chosen conception should be compatible with his executive style and interests. The Assistant must remain a flexible aide. Formalistic or legalistic statutes would be counterproductive.