New legislation would anchor NSC in law

Both the Winograd and Shahak C'tees called for strengthening the National Security Council's authority.

eliyahu winograd 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
eliyahu winograd 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The security cabinet is expected to discuss this week proposed legislation that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert circulated to his ministers to anchor the duties and authority of the National Security Council (NSC) into law. The discussion is expected to take place at a meeting to discuss the recommendations made by the Shahak Committee, which was set up to come up with ways to implement the findings of the Winograd Committee's interim report on the Second Lebanon War. The Winograd Committee's report called for "substantial improvement in the functioning of the National Security Council," and the Shahak Committee called for significantly strengthening the NSC's authority. The purpose of the proposed law, according to a draft circulated to cabinet members this week, was to anchor the NSC into legislation and define its duties, authorities, and whom it is answerable to. According to the proposed legislation, the prime minister will use and direct NSC staff, and and the NSC itself will be responsible for determining the security cabinet's agenda, preparing those discussions and ensuring implementation of cabinet decisions. Likewise, the council will be responsible for preparing discussions in other interministerial committees dealing with security issues. The body will also be empowered to draw up national security assessments and recommendations, coordinate staff work at the direction of the prime minister, prepare the prime minister for discussions on the defense budget and run a newly established crisis center in the Prime Minister's Office. The prime minister will appoint the head of the NSC, who will be his National Security Adviser, as well as the adviser's deputy. Both men will have to be approved by the cabinet.