Trump puts Bannon on security council

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump has restructured the National Security Council (NSC) to include his top political adviser, Mr Stephen Bannon.

In an executive order on Saturday, Mr Trump reorganised the NSC to, among other changes, give the White House chief strategist a regular seat on the principals committee - the meetings of the most senior national security officials, including the secretaries of defence and state.

The order also states the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will sit on the committee only when issues to be discussed pertain to their "responsibilities and expertise".

In the previous two administrations, both were included as regular attendees. The White House thinks the changes will make the NSC more adaptive to modern threats.

Mr Trump said the changes would bring "a lot of efficiency and, I think, a lot of additional safety".

Mr Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative website popular with white nationalists, has emerged as Mr Trump's political consigliere and the keeper of his populist flame.

Mr Bannon is already playing a major role in directing Mr Trump's foreign policy, say administration officials, and joined the President in the Oval Office on Saturday for calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and several other world leaders.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'Trump puts Bannon on security council'. Print Edition | Subscribe