The following are the statutory (a member whose inclusion is mandated by an act of Congress) and regular members of the National Security Council, as well as the statutory advisers. When international economic issues are on the agenda, the regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. 

The Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to any NSC meeting. 

 

Vice President

Mike Pence

The Vice President is a statutory member of the National Security Council.

Before he was Vice President, Michael Pence served as Governor of Indiana, where he spearheaded several controversial initiatives, including the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Prior to taking office as Governor, Pence was a U.S. Representative from Indiana's 6th and 2nd Congressional districts. Pence served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for most of his twelve-year tenure in the House.

 


Secretary of Defense

Jim Mattis

The Secretary of Defense is a statutory member of the National Security Council and a member of the Principals Committee.

Mattis served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 44 years. He commanded units in the Persian Gulf War and later in Afghanistan and Iraq. He went on to achieve the rank of four-star General. From 2010 to 2013, Mattis served as the Commander of U.S. Central Command. After retiring from service in 2013, Mattis became a civilian consultant until he was appointed by Donald Trump to lead the Department of Defense.


Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson

The Secretary of State is a statutory member of the National Security Council and a member of the Principals Committee.

Before becoming Secretary of State, Tillerson was the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. His foreign policy experience comes largely from negotiations on behalf of ExxonMobil with nations such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. He has also been a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

 


Secretary of Energy

Rick Perry (pending confirmation)

The Secretary of Energy has been a statutory member of the National Security Council since 2007. Under President Obama the Secretary of Energy was a member of the Principals Committee, but President Trump removed the position from the Principals Committee.

Perry was Lieutenant Governor of Texas when George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election, and he succeeded Bush as Governor of Texas. He then served three full terms as Governor. Before that, Perry was the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas for eight years and a member of the Texas House of Representatives. He served in the U.S. Air Force for five years.

 


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National Security Advisor

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond "H.R." McMaster (pending confirmation)

The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or National Security Advisor, is the statutory Chairperson for the NSC's Committee on Foreign Intelligence and Committee on Transnational Threats. In practice and subject to presidential directives, the National Security Advisor also chairs the Principals Committee and is a regular attendee of National Security Council meetings.

General McMaster will take the place of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned at the request of the President after it became known that he misled officials about the nature of his communications with Russian diplomats.

Known as a critical thinker, McMaster has served in the U.S. Army for 33 years and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant General. He was deployed in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and he commanded the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from 2004 to 2006. McMaster assisted then General David Petraeus in devising a counterinsurgency strategy to implement in Iraq. In 2010, he was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan. As part of his dissertation for a Ph.D. in American history, McMaster wrote the book Dereliction of Duty, which criticized the U.S. national security leadership for their decision-making during the Vietnam War.

While the position of National Security Advisor in itself does not require Senate confirmation, General McMaster will need to be confirmed by the Senate if he is to keep his 3-star rank of Lieutenant General.

 


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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a statutory advisor to the National Security Council. Under President Obama, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was a member of the Principals Committee. However, Under President Trump, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is no longer a full member of the Principals Committee.

General Dunford has served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 40 years. In 2014, he became the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in May of 2015.


Director of National Intelligence

Dan Coats (pending confirmation)

The Director of National Intelligence is a statutory advisor to the National Security Council. He is also a statutory member of the NSC's Committee on Foreign Intelligence and Committee on Transnational Threats. Under President Obama, the Director of National Intelligence was a member of the Principals Committee. However, Under President Trump, the position no longer has full membership on the Principals Committee.

Coats has been a member of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, representing the state of Indiana. He was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005.


Secretary of the Treasury

Steven Mnuchin

The Secretary of the Treasury is a member of the National Security Council, though his membership is not currently mandated by statute.

Mnuchin worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, heading the bank's Mortgage Securities Department from 1994 to 1998. He was Goldman Sachs' Chief Information Officer before he left the company in 2002 to become a hedge fund manager.


Attorney General

Jeff Sessions

The Attorney General is a regular member of the National Security Council and the Principals Committee, and is statutory member of the NSC's Committee on Transnational Threats.

For ten years, Sessions represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Prior to that, he was the Attorney General of Alabama and a United States Attorney.


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Secretary of Homeland Security

John Kelly

The Secretary of Homeland Security is a member of the National Security Council, though his membership is not currently mandated by statute.

Kelly served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 47 years and attained the rank of four-star General. He commanded the U.S. Southern Command for most of President Obama's second term in office.


United States Representative to the United Nations

Nikki Haley

The U.S. Representative (or Ambassador) to the United Nations is as regular attendee of National Security Council meetings, subject to President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum.

Before becoming the Ambassador to the U.N., Haley was the Governor of South Carolina and a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.


Homeland Security Advisor

Tom Bossert

The Homeland Security Advisor is a regular attendee at NSC meetings and will regularly chair Committee meetings when the topic is homeland security. The National Security Council operates concordantly with what is known as the Homeland Security Council. While the membership is the same, the Homeland Security Advisor fills the role of National Security Advisor when the meetings technically occur as part of the Homeland Security Council.

Bossert served as the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. He has also served in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among other executive agencies.