President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday. In doing so, Trump removed chief strategist Stephen Bannon, and downgraded the position of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster now has the responsibility for setting agenda for the NSC or the Homeland Security Council and will delegate that authority to Bossert, at his discretion. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Bannon said “Susan Rice [Barack Obama’s controversial national security advisor) operationalized the NSC during the last administration. I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.” Bannon had sought to have McMaster in the latter’s current role.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again "regular attendees" of the NSC’s principals committee. In a filing with the Federal Register on Tuesday, Bannon was not listed as a regular attendee of the NSC principals committee, as he previously was.
Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council’s principals committee at the beginning of Trump’s presidency drew criticism from Democrats in Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Bannon was chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign, having been brought over from Breitbart News where he was chairman. Bannon has had a varied career in military affairs, banking, finance, and media. In the Navy, Bannon served as a lieutenant on a destroyer and ultimately as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations.
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from his seat on the National Security Council, reversing one of the most controversial decisions of young Trump administration. Having a seat on the principals committee was seen as an unusual downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.
According to NBC, a White House source said that Bannon’s departure from the principals committee was not the result of an internal power struggle but is an effort to restore the NSC to a semblance of how it operated during the era of George W. Bush.