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The next administration will face urgent, practical questions of how to organize its National Security Council decision-making process while developing a strong foreign policy strategy. Strategic planning can help to make international success more likely, in part by providing the president with clear, well-informed policy options. Yet no process can work if it does not fit the individual president. To that end, the following essay examines the new president-elect's decision-making style, and then outlines six specific NSC recommendations: 1. Learn from private sector experience, 2. Develop and execute a meaningful national security strategy early on, 3. Restore a proper balance of responsibilities between the NSC and line departments and agencies, 4. Encourage the president's national security adviser to play the roles of honest broker, policy entrepreneur, and presidential agent, 5. Appoint and empower a strategic planning directorate on the NSC staff, and 6. Consider creating an effective strategic planning board. In the end, the case is made that strategy is possible; bureaucratic consensus overrated; and defeatism unhelpful.
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