|Executive Summary of U.S. Commission on National Security Report |
Executive Summary of U.S. Commission on National Security Report
Group urges structural, procedural changes to meet new threats: A bipartisan commission set up to evaluate the current national security climate and propose changes needed to meet new threats has issued a report that calls for major changes in governmental structures and processes. Source: Washington File (EUR309) U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C., January 31, 2001.
Included in the report released January 31 by the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century are a proposal for a new, cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency that would combine the Federal Emergency Management Agency with several other agencies, and a prescription for recasting a "crippled" State Department and the Department of Defense.
The 14-member commission, headed by former Senators Gary Hart (Democrat, Colorado) and Warren Rudman (Republican, New Hampshire), includes other former legislators, Executive Branch officials, military leaders and representatives from business, academia and the news media.
Following is the text of the executive summary of the 140-odd page report. The complete report can be accessed at www.nssg.gov (begin text)
After our examination of the new strategic environment of the next quarter century (Phase I) and of a strategy to address it (Phase II), this Commission concludes that significant changes must be made in the structures and processes of the U.S. national security apparatus. Our institutional base is in decline and must be rebuilt. Otherwise, the United States risks losing its global influence and critical leadership role.
We offer recommendations for organizational change in five key areas:
- ensuring the security of the American homeland;
- recapitalizing America's strengths in science and education;
- redesigning key institutions of the Executive Branch;
- overhauling the U.S. government personnel system; and
- reorganizing Congress's role in national security affairs.
We have taken a broad view of national security. In the new era, sharp distinctions between "foreign" and "domestic" no longer apply. We do not equate national security with "defense." We do believe in the centrality of strategy, and of seizing opportunities as well as confronting dangers. If the structures and processes of the U.S. government stand still amid a world of change, the United States will lose its capacity to shape history, and will instead be shaped by it.
Securing the National Homeland
The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack. A direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter century. The risk is not only death and destruction but also a demoralization that could undermine U.S. global leadership. In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures.
We therefore recommend the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security. NHSA would be built upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the three organizations currently on the front line of border security -- the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol -- transferred to it. NHSA would not only protect American lives, but also assume responsibility for overseeing the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure, including information technology.
The NHSA Director would have Cabinet status and would be a statutory advisor to the National Security Council. The legal foundation for the National Homeland Security Agency would rest firmly within the array of Constitutional guarantees for civil liberties. The observance of these guarantees in the event of a national security emergency would be safeguarded by NHSA's interagency coordinating activities -- which would include the Department of Justice -- as well as by its conduct of advance exercises.
The potentially catastrophic nature of homeland attacks necessitates our being prepared to use the tremendous resources of the Department of Defense (DoD). Therefore, the department needs to pay far more attention to this mission in the future. We recommend that a new office of Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security be created to oversee the various DoD activities and ensure that the necessary resources are made available.
New priorities also need to be set for the U.S. armed forces in light of the threat to the homeland. We urge, in particular, that the National Guard be given homeland security as a primary mission, as the U.S. Constitution itself ordains. The National Guard should be reorganized, trained, and equipped to undertake that mission.
Finally, we recommend that Congress reorganize itself to accommodate this Executive Branch realignment, and that it also form a special select committee for homeland security to provide Congressional support and oversight in this critical area.
Recapitalizing America's Strengths in Science and Education
Americans are living off the economic and security benefits of the last three generations' investment in science and education, but we are now consuming capital. Our systems of basic scientific research and education are in serious crisis, while other countries are redoubling their efforts. In the next quarter century, we will likely see ourselves surpassed, and in relative decline, unless we make a conscious national commitment to maintain our edge.
We also face unprecedented opportunity. The world is entering an era of dramatic progress in bioscience and materials science as well as information technology and scientific instrumentation. Brought together and accelerated by nanoscience, these rapidly developing research fields will transform our understanding of the world and our capacity to manipulate it. The United States can remain the world's technological leader if it makes the commitment to do so. But the U.S. government has seriously underfunded basic scientific research in recent years. The quality of the U.S. education system, too, has fallen well behind those of scores of other nations. This has occurred at a time when vastly more Americans will have to understand and work competently with science and math on a daily basis.
In this Commission's view, the inadequacies of our systems of research and education pose a greater threat to U.S. national security over the next quarter century than any potential conventional war that we might imagine. American national leadership must understand these deficiencies as threats to national security. If we do not invest heavily and wisely in rebuilding these two core strengths, America will be incapable of maintaining its global position long into the 21st century.
We therefore recommend doubling the federal research and development budget by 2010, and instituting a more competitive environment for the allotment of those funds.
We recommend further that the role of the President's Science Advisor be elevated to oversee these and other critical tasks, such as the resuscitation of the national laboratory system and the institution of better inventory stewardship over the nation's science and technology assets.
We also recommend a hew National Security Science and Technology Education Act to fund a comprehensive program to produce the needed numbers of science and engineering professionals as well as qualified teachers in science and math. This Act should provide loan forgiveness incentives to attract those who have graduated and scholarships for those still in school and should provide these incentives in exchange for a period of K-12 teaching in science and math, or of military or government service. Additional measures should provide resources to modernize laboratories in science education, and expand existing programs aimed at economically-depressed school districts.
The dramatic changes in the world since the end of the Cold War of the last half-century have not been accompanied by any major institutional changes in the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Serious deficiencies exist that only a significant organizational redesign can remedy. Most troublesome is the lack of an overarching strategic framework guiding U.S. national security policymaking and resource allocation. Clear goals and priorities are rarely set. Budgets are prepared and appropriated as they were during the Cold War.
The Department of State, in particular, is a crippled institution, starved for resources by Congress because of its inadequacies, and thereby weakened further. Only if the State Department's internal weaknesses are cured will it become an effective leader in the making and implementation of the nation's foreign policy. Only then can it credibly seek significant funding increases from Congress. The department suffers in particular from an ineffective organizational structure in which regional and functional policies do not serve integrated goals, and in which sound management, accountability, and leadership are lacking.
For this and other reasons, the power to determine national security policy has steadily migrated toward the National Security Council (NSC) staff. The staff now assumes policymaking roles that many observers have warned against. Yet the NSC staff's role as policy coordinator is more urgently needed than ever, given the imperative of integrating the many diverse strands of policymaking.
Meanwhile, the U.S. intelligence community is adjusting only slowly to the changed circumstances of the post-Cold War era. While the economic and political components of statecraft have assumed greater prominence, military imperatives still largely drive the analysis and collection of intelligence. Neither has America's overseas presence been properly adapted to the new economic, social, political, and security realities of the 21st century.
Finally, the Department of Defense needs to be overhauled. The growth in staff and staff activities has created mounting confusion and delay. The failure to outsource or privatize many defense support activities wastes huge sums of money. The programming and budgeting process is not guided by effective strategic planning. The weapons acquisition process is so hobbled by excessive laws, regulations, and oversight strictures that it can neither recognize nor seize opportunities for major innovation, and its procurement bureaucracy weakens a defense industry that is already in a state of financial crisis.
In light of such serious and interwoven deficiencies, the Commission's initial recommendation is that strategy should once again drive the design and implementation of U.S. national security policies. That means that the President should personally guide a top-down strategic planning process and that process should be linked to the allocation of resources throughout the government. When submitting his budgets for the various national security departments, the President should also present an overall national security budget, focused on the nation's most critical strategic goals. Homeland security, counter-terrorism, and science and technology should be included.
We recommend further that the President's National Security Advisor and NSC staff return to their traditional role of coordinating national security activities and resist the temptation to become policymakers or operators. The NSC Advisor should also keep a low public profile. Legislative, press communications, and speechwriting functions should reside in the White House staff, not separately in the NSC staff as they do today. The higher the profile of the National Security Advisor the greater will be the pressures from Congress to compel testimony and force Senate confirmation of the position.
To reflect how central economics has become in U.S. national security policy, we recommend that the Secretary of Treasury be named a statutory member of the National Security Council. Responsibility for international economic policy should return to the National Security Council. The President should abolish the National Economic Council, distributing its domestic economic policy responsibilities to the Domestic Policy Council.
Critical to the future success of U.S. national security policies is a fundamental restructuring of the State Department. Reform must ensure that responsibility and accountability are clearly established, regional and functional activities are closely integrated, foreign assistance programs are centrally planned and implemented, and strategic planning is emphasized and linked to the allocation of resources.
We recommend that this be accomplished through the creation of five Under Secretaries with responsibility for overseeing the regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, Inter America, and Near East/South Asia, and a redefinition of the responsibilities of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs. The restructuring we propose would position the State Department to play a leadership role in the making and implementation of U.S. foreign policy, as well as to harness the department's organizational culture to the benefit of the U.S. government as a whole. Perhaps most important, the Secretary of State would be free to focus on the most important policies and negotiations, having delegated responsibility for integrating regional and functional issues to the Under Secretaries.
Accountability would be matched with responsibility in senior policymakers, who in serving the Secretary would be able to speak for the State Department both within the interagency process and before Congress. No longer would competing regional and functional perspectives immobilize the department. At the same time, functional perspectives, whether they be human rights, arms control, or the environment, will not disappear. The Under Secretaries would be clearly accountable to the Secretary of State, the President, and the Congress for ensuring that the appropriate priority was given to these concerns. Someone would actually be in charge.
We further recommend that the activities of the U.S. Agency for International Development be fully integrated into this new State Department organization. Development aid is not an end in itself, nor can it be successful if pursued independently of other U.S. programs and diplomatic activities. Only a coordinated diplomatic and assistance effort will advance the nation's goals abroad, whether they be economic growth, democracy, or human rights.
The Secretary of State should give greater emphasis to strategic planning in the State Department and link it directly to the allocation of resources through the establishment of a Strategic Planning, Assistance, and Budget Office. Rather than multiple Congressional appropriations, the State Department should also be funded in a single integrated Foreign Operations budget, which would include all foreign assistance programs and activities as well as the expenses for all related personnel and operations. Also, all U.S. Ambassadors, including the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, should report directly to the Secretary of State, and a major effort needs to be undertaken to "right-size" the U.S. overseas presence.
The Commission believes that the resulting improvements in the effectiveness and competency of the State Department and its overseas activities would provide the basis for the significant increase in resources necessary to carry out the nation's foreign policy in the 21st century.
As for the Department of Defense, resource issues are also very much at stake in reform efforts. The key to success will be direct, sustained involvement and commitment to defense reform on the part of the President, Secretary of Defense, and Congressional leadership. We urge first and foremost that the new Secretary of Defense reduce by ten to fifteen percent the staffs of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the military services, and the regional commands. This would not only save money but also achieve the decision speed and encourage the decentralization necessary to succeed in the 21st century.
Just as critical, the Secretary of Defense should establish a ten-year goal of reducing infrastructure costs by 20-25 percent through steps to consolidate, restructure, outsource, and privatize as many DoD support agencies and activities as possible. Only through savings in infrastructure costs, which now take up nearly half of DoD's budget, will the department find the funds necessary for modernization and for combat personnel in the long-term.
The processes by which the Defense Department develops its programs and budgets as well as acquires its weapons also need fundamental reform. The most critical first step is for the Secretary of Defense to produce defense policy and planning guidance that defines specific goals and establishes relative priorities.
Together with the Congress, the Secretary of Defense should move the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to the second year of a Presidential term. The current requirement, that it be done in an administration's first year, spites the purpose of the activity. Such a deadline does not allow the time or the means for an incoming administration to influence the QDR outcome, and therefore for it to gain a stake in its conclusions.
We recommend a second change in the QDR, as well; namely that the Secretary of Defense introduce a new process that requires the Services and defense agencies to compete for the allocation of some resources within the overall Defense budget. This, we believe, would give the Secretary a vehicle to identify low priority programs and begin the process of reallocating funds to more promising areas during subsequent budget cycles.
As for acquisition reform, the Commission is deeply concerned with the downward spiral that has emerged in recent decades in relations between the Pentagon as customer and the defense industrial base as supplier of the nation's major weapons systems. Many innovative high-tech firms are simply unable or unwilling to work with the Defense Department under the weight of its auditing, contracting, profitability, investment, and inspection regulations. These regulations also impair the Defense Department's ability to function with the speed it needs to keep abreast of today's rapid pace of technological innovation. Weapons development cycles average nine years in an environment where technology now changes every twelve to eighteen months in Silicon Valley -- and the gap between private sector and defense industry innovation continues to widen.
In place of a specialized "defense industrial base," we believe that the nation needs a national industrial base for defense composed of a broad cross-section of commercial firms as well as the more traditional defense firms. "New economy" sectors must be attracted to work with the government on sound business and professional grounds; the more traditional defense suppliers, which fill important needs unavailable in the commercial sector, must be given incentives to innovate and operate efficiently. We therefore recommend these major steps:
- Establish and employ a two-track acquisition system, one for major acquisitions and a "fast track" for a modest number of potential breakthrough systems, especially those in the area of command and control.
- Return to the pattern of increased prototyping and testing of selected weapons and support systems to foster innovation. We should use testing procedures to gain knowledge and not to demonstrate a program's ability to survive budgetary scrutiny.
- Implement two-year defense budgeting solely for the modernization element (R&D/procurement) of the Defense budget and expand the use of mull year procurement.
- Modernize auditing and oversight requirements (by rewriting relevant sections of U.S. Code, Title 10, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations) with a goal of reducing the number of auditors and inspectors in the acquisition system to a level commensurate with the budget they oversee.
Amidst the other process reforms for the Defense Department, the Commission recognizes the need to modernize current force planning methods. We conclude that the concept of two major, coincident wars is a remote possibility supported neither by the main thrust of national intelligence nor by this Commission's view of the likely future. It should be replaced by a planning process that accelerates the transformation of capabilities and forces better suited to, and thus likely to succeed in, the current security environment. The Secretary of Defense should direct the DoD to shift from the threat-based, force sizing process to one which measures requirements against recent operational activity trends, actual intelligence estimates of potential adversaries' capabilities, and national security objectives as defined in the new administration's national security strategy -- once formulate
The Commission furthermore recommends that the Secretary of Defense revise the current categories of Major Force Programs (MFPs) used in the Defense Program Review to correspond to the five military capabilities the Commission prescribed in its Phase II report -- strategic nuclear forces, homeland security forces, conventional forces, expeditionary forces, and humanitarian and constabulary forces.
Ultimately, the transformation process will blur the distinction between expeditionary and conventional forces, as both types of capabilities will eventually possess the technological superiority, deployability, survivability, and lethality now called for in the expeditionary forces. For the near term, however, those we call expeditionary capabilities require the most emphasis. Consequently, we recommend that the Defense Department devote its highest priority to improving and further developing its expeditionary capabilities.
There is no more critical dimension of defense policy than to guarantee U.S. commercial and military access to outer space. The U.S. economy and military are vitally dependent on communications that rely on space. The clear imperative for the new era is a comprehensive national policy toward space and a coherent governmental machinery to carry it out. We therefore recommend the establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Space (IWGS).
The members of this interagency working group would include not only the relevant parts of the intelligence community and the State and Defense Departments, but also the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Commerce, and other Executive Branch agencies as necessary.
Meanwhile, the global presence and responsibilities of the United States have brought new requirements for protecting U.S. space and communications infrastructures, but no comprehensive national space architecture has been developed. We recommend that such responsibility be given to the new interagency space working group and that the existing National Security Space Architect be transferred from the Defense Department to the NSC staff to take the lead in this effort.
The Commission has concluded that the basic structure of the intelligence community does not require change. Our focus is on those steps that will enable the full implementation of recommendations found elsewhere within this report.
First in this regard, we recommend that the President order the setting of national intelligence priorities through National Security Council guidance to the Director of Central Intelligence.
Second, the intelligence community should emphasize the recruitment of human intelligence sources on terrorism as one of the intelligence community's highest priorities, and ensure that existing operational guidelines support this policy.
Third, the community should place new emphasis on collection and analysis of economic and science/technology security concerns, and incorporate more open source intelligence into its analytical products. To facilitate this effort, Congress should increase significantly the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) budget for collection and analysis.
The Human Requirements for National Security
As it enters the 21st century, the United States finds itself on the brink of an unprecedented crisis of competence in government. The declining orientation toward government service as a prestigious career is deeply troubling. Both civilian and military institutions face growing challenges, albeit of different forms and degrees, in recruiting and retaining America's most promising talent. This problem derives from multiple sources-ample private sector opportunities with good pay and fewer bureaucratic frustrations, rigid governmental personnel procedures, the absence of a single overarching threat like the Cold War to entice service, cynicism about the worthiness of government service, and perceptions of government as a plodding bureaucracy falling behind in a technological age of speed and accuracy.
These factors are adversely affecting recruitment and retention in the Civil and Foreign Services and particularly throughout the military, where deficiencies are both widening the gap between those who serve and the rest of American society and putting in jeopardy the leadership and professionalism necessary for an effective military. If we allow the human resources of government to continue to decay, none of the reforms proposed by this or any other national security commission will produce their intended results.
We recommend, first of all, a national campaign to reinvigorate and enhance the prestige of service to the nation. The key step in such a campaign must be to revive a positive attitude toward public service. This will require strong and consistent Presidential commitment, Congressional legislation, and innovative departmental actions throughout the federal government. It is the duty of all political leaders to repair the damage that has been done, in a high-profile and fully bipartisan manner.
From these changes in rhetoric, the campaign must undertake several actions. First, this Commission recommends the most urgent possible streamlining of the process by which we attract senior government officials. The ordeal that Presidential nominees are subjected to is now so great as to make it prohibitive for many individuals of talent and experience to accept public service. The confirmation process is characterized by vast amounts of paperwork and many delays. Conflict of interest and financial disclosure requirements have become a prohibitive obstacle to the recruitment of honest men and women to public service. Post-employment restrictions confront potential new recruits with the prospect of having to forsake not only income but work itself in the very fields in which they have demonstrated talent and found success. Meanwhile, a pervasive atmosphere of distrust and cynicism about government service is reinforced by the encrustation of complex rules based on the assumption that all officials, and especially those with experience in or contact with the private sector, are criminals waiting to be unmasked.
We therefore recommend the following:
- That the President act to shorten and make more efficient the Presidential appointee process by confirming the national security team first, standardizing paperwork requirements, and reducing the number of nominees subject to full FBI background checks.
- That the President reduce the number of Senate-confirmed and non-career SES positions by 25 percent to reduce the layering of senior positions in departments that has developed over time.
- That the President and Congressional leaders instruct their top aides to report within 90 days of January 20, 2001 on specific steps to revise government ethics laws and regulations. This should entail a comprehensive review of regulations that might exceed statutory requirements and making blind trusts, discretionary waivers, and refusals more easily available as alternatives to complete divestiture of financial and business holdings of concern.
Beyond the appointments process, there are problems with government personnel systems specific to the Foreign Service, the Civil Service, and to the military services. But for all three, there is one step we urge: Expand the National Security Education Act of 1991 (NSEA) to include broad support for social sciences, humanities, and foreign languages in exchange for civilian government and military service.
This expanded Act is the complement to the National Security Science and Technology Education Act (NSSTEA) and would provide college scholarship and loan forgiveness benefits for government service. Recipients could fulfill this service in a variety of ways: in the active duty military; in National Guard or Reserve units; in national security departments of the Civil Service; or in the Foreign Service. The expanded NSEA thus would provide an important means of recruiting high-quality people into military and civilian governmentservice.
An effective and motivated Foreign Service is critical to the success of the Commission's restructuring proposal for the State Department, yet 25 percent fewer people are now taking the entrance exam compared to the mid-1980s. Those who do enter complain of poor management and inadequate professional education. We therefore recommend that the Foreign Service system be improved by making leadership a core value of the State Department, revamping the examination process, and dramatically improving the level of on going professional education.
The Civil Service faces a range of problems from the aging of the federal workforce to institutional challenges in bringing new workers into government service to critical gaps in recruiting and retaining information technology professionals. To address these problems, the Commission recommends eliminating recruitment hurdles, making the hiring process faster and easier, and designing professional education and retention programs worthy of full funding by Congress. Retaining talented information technology workers, too, will require greater incentives and the outsourcing of some IT support functions.
The national security component of the Civil Service calls for professionals with breadth of experience in the inter-agency process and with depth of knowledge about policy issues. To develop these, we recommend the establishment of a National Security Service Corps (NSSC) to broaden the experience base of senior departmental managers and develop leaders who seek integrative solutions to national security policy problems. Participating departments would include Defense, State, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, Energy, and the new National Homeland Security Agency -- the departments essential to interagency policymaking on key national security issues. While participating departments would retain control over their personnel, an interagency advisory group would design and monitor the rotational assignments and professional education that will be key to the Corps' success.
With respect to military personnel, reform is needed in the recruitment, promotion, compensation and retirement systems. Otherwise, the military will continue to lose its most talented personnel, and the armed services will be left with a cadre unable to handle the technological and managerial tasks necessary for a world-class 21st century force.
Beyond the significant expansion of scholarships and debt relief programs recommended in both the modified National Security Education Act and the newly created National Security Science and Technology Education Act, we recommend substantial enhancements to the Montgomery GI Bill and strengthening recently passed and pending legislation that supports benefits -- including transition, medical, and homeownership -- for qualified veterans. The GI Bill should be restored as a pure entitlement, be transferable to dependents if desired by career service members, and should equal, at the very least, the median tuition cost of four-year U.S. colleges. The payments should be accelerated to coincide with school term periods and be indexed to keep pace with college cost increases. In addition, Title 38 authority for veterans benefits should be modified to restore and substantially improve medical, dental, and VA home ownership benefits for all who qualify, but especially for career and retired service members. Taken as a package, such changes will help bring the best people into the armed service and persuade quality personnel to serve longer in order to secure greater rewards for their service.
While these enhancements are critical they will not, by themselves, resolve the quality recruitment and retention problems of the Services. We therefore recommend significant modifications to military personnel legislation governing officer and enlisted career management, retirement, and compensation -- giving Service Secretaries more authority and flexibility to adapt their personnel systems and career management to meet 21st century requirements. This should include flexible compensation and retirement plans, exemption from "up-or-out" mandates, and reform of personnel systems to facilitate fluid movement of personnel. If we do not decentralize and modernize the governing personnel legislation, no military reform or transformation is possible. We call for an Executive-Legislative working group to monitor, evaluate and share information about the testing and implementation of these recommendations. With bipartisan cooperation, our military will remain one of this nation's most treasured institutions and our safeguard in the changing world ahead.
The Role of Congress
While Congress has mandated many changes to a host of Executive departments and agencies over the years, it has not fundamentally reviewed its own role in national security policy. Moreover, it has not reformed its own structure since 1949. At present, for example, every major defense program must be voted upon no fewer than eighteen times each year by an array of committees and subcommittees. This represents a very poor use of time for busy members of the Executive and Legislative Branches.
To address these deficiencies, the Commission first recommends that the Congressional leadership conduct a thorough bicameral, bipartisan review of the Legislative Branch's relationship to national security and foreign policy. The House Speaker, Majority, and Minority leaders and the Senate Majority and Minority leaders must work with the President and his top aides to bring proposed reforms to this Congress by the beginning of its second session.
From that basis, Congressional and Executive Branch leaders must build programs to encourage members to acquire knowledge and experience in national security. These programs should include ongoing education, greater opportunities for serious overseas travel, more legislature-to-legislature exchanges, and greater participation in wargames.
Greater fluency in national security matters must be matched by structural reforms. A comprehensive review of the Congressional committee structure is needed to ensure that it reflects the complexity of 21st century security challenges and of U.S. national security priorities. Specifically we recommend merging appropriations subcommittees with their respective authorizing committees so that the new merged committees will authorize and appropriate within the same bill. This should decrease the bureaucracy of the budget process and allow more time to be devoted to the oversight of national security policy.
An effective Congressional role in national security also requires ongoing Executive-Legislative consultation and coordination. The Executive Branch must ensure a sustained effort in consultation and devote resources to it. For its part, Congress must make consultation a higher priority, in part by forming a permanent consultative group composed of the Congressional leadership and the Chairpersons and Ranking Members of the main committees involved in national security. This will form the basis for sustained dialogue and greater support in times of crisis.
The Commission notes, in conclusion, that some of its recommendations will save money, while others call for more expenditure. We have not tried to "balance the books" among our recommendations, nor have we held financial implications foremost in mind during our work. We consider any money that may be saved a second-order benefit. We consider the provision of additional resources to national security, where necessary, to be investments, not costs, in first-order national priorities.
Finally, we strongly urge the new President and the Congressional leadership to establish some mechanism to oversee the implementation of the recommendations proffered here. Once some mechanism is chosen, the President must ensure that responsibility for implementing the recommendations of this Commission be given explicitly to senior personnel in both the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. The press of daily obligations is such that unless such delegation is made, and those given responsibility for implementation are held accountable for their tasks, the necessary reforms will not occur. The stakes are high. We of this Commission believe that many thousands of American lives, U.S. leadership among the community of nations, and the fate of U.S. national security itself are at risk unless the President and the Congress join together to implement the recommendations set forth in this report.