Did the first George W. Bush Administration have the correct organization, structure, and functions for the National Security Staff? Did the NSC system exercise effective management our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Hadley: To this day the Tower Commission report of 1987 contains the best thing written on the proper role of the National Security Advisor. There is only one thing I would quibble with, and we saw it in the Afghanistan and Iraq situations. Because of Oliver North (and Iran-Contra), the Tower Commission emphasized that the NSC and the National Security Advisor should not get involved in operations, which is absolutely true. But I think one thing we’ve learned since the Tower Commission report is that implementation management is a task for the NSC – not to do the implementation, but to see that it is being done by the appropriate agencies of the government. The NSC system has served our country well in developing a process for raising issues for decision by the President. But once you get a policy decision by the President, the issue is implementation and execution. I think that is a new frontier for the interagency process; not that the NSC is going to run operations, but the NSC has the responsibility to ensure that the policy decisions coming from the President are actually implemented and executed effectively. We spent a lot of time doing that in the Bush 43 administration.