National Security Council Project

Established in 1998 as a collaborative undertaking of The Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland Center for International and Security Studies (CISSM), the National Security Council Project was directed by Ivo H. Daalder and I.M. "Mac" Destler. Its major product was a path-breaking study of presidents’ national security advisers, In the Shadow of the Oval Office: Profiles of the National Security Advisers and the Presidents they Served—From JFK to George W. Bush, published by Simon & Schuster in 2009.

The project conducted scores of interviews, collected reams of data, and produced a series of publications on the role of the National Security Council (NSC), the national security adviser, and the NSC staff in the making of American foreign policy. Much of this was made available here for the first time. The project directors hosted a number of Oral History Roundtables with officials who served in different administrations, to record their recollections of the operations of the NSC under different presidents and discuss its role in issues ranging from arms control to international economic policy to China. The project directors, both individually and together, authored a large number of books, articles, policy papers, and other works on the organization of national and homeland security.

The links below provide direct access to a wide range of NSC-related data collected and organized by the project over the past decade:

Presidential Administrations: