World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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Arriving at the White House: What the National Security Council Really Does


31 years old and newly married, Amb. Quinn and his wife have to forgo a honeymoon so he can report immediately at work at his new position at the National Security Council (NSC) staff at the White House. Having never worked in Washington, Amb. Quinn explains the 3 distinct roles that the NSC plays: first, it is an advisory body comprised of the very top officials in foreign and defense policy who come together to advise the president in person about a most significant decision potentially involving conflict or war; second, the NSC is a policy coordinating process by which the various departments dealing with a foreign affairs issues would submit papers providing their agencies’ views and recommendation on how to deal with a significant problem. Those separate views and recommendations would be compiled into a national security decision memo to be forwarded by the national security advisor to the president for a final decision; third, the NSC is a staff of foreign policy professionals, many of whom are “loaned” to the White House by their parent agency. Housed in the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB), NSC staff members track issues in their area of responsibility, prepare briefing items for the President's Daily Brief which is given to the president each morning, and drafts the information and decision making memos that are sent to the president. In addition, the NSC staff also coordinates high level visits to the president as well as travel by the president or vice president. Amb. Quinn would be the youngest member of just a three person office covering all of Asia and especially Indochina and the war in Vietnam.

© 2024 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.