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The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) is a nonpartisan non-profit organization mandated by the United States Congress to recommend improvements to the U.S. national security system.[1] Advocates of reform of the U.S. national security system contend that the fundamental components of the system, which includes the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, among others, were largely designed via the National Security Act of 1947 in order to combat the Soviet Union. Today's global security environment, largely due to globalization, is much more complex than it was during the Cold War. PNSR argues that government structures need to be more agile and efficient in order to combat new threats such as terrorism, transnational crime, and rogue states.

PNSR issued their final report in December 2008 entitled "Forging a New Shield"[2]. Over 300 national security experts from think tanks, universities, federal agencies, law firms and corporations contributed to the report.[3] PNSR is currently transforming into an advocacy organization for comprehensive reform of the national security system.


National Security Reform

A growing number of national security executives and national security scholars point to a variety of U.S. national security failures as evidence that the current system is broken. A short version of these national security failures is 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina. A longer version could include Viet Nam, Rwanda, Somalia, 9/11, The Torture Memos, WMD Intelligence for Iraq, the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Katrina, North Korea, Iran, and the Afghanistan-Pakistan Taliban. National security reform requires a fundamental reshaping of the definition of national security.


Founded in 2006, the Project on National Security Reform is run by James R. Locher III [4], a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Locher also directed the Congressional staff effort that led to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which reworked the command structure of the United States Military. Current Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair served as PNSR's Deputy Executive Director from 2006 until January 2009.

Guiding Coalition

PNSR is led by a 21-member bipartisan Guiding Coalition that includes former senior federal officials with extensive national security experience. The bipartisan group sets the strategic direction for the Project, examines progress, discusses objectives, and reviews findings and recommendations resulting from PNSR research and analysis. Current and former members of PNSR's Guiding Coalition include:

Connections to the Obama Administration

Key members of PNSR's Guiding Coalition have been appointed by, or linked in the press to, the incoming Obama administration, including General James L. Jones, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, James Steinberg, Michele Flournoy, Ashton Carter, Joseph Nye and Carlos Pascual.


The Project on National Security Reform divided their recommendations to the United States Congress, President Barack Obama, and U.S. government departments and agencies into seven "themes" with 28 specific recommendations. According to PNSR's Final Report, "members of the Guiding Coalition agreed with the general thrust of the integrated set of recommendations and not necessarily every recommendation as expressed."[5][6]


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External links

  • PNSR on the Web
  • Overhaul of National Security System Sought (Washington Post 11/17/08)[3]
  • Naming National Security Team Will Be a Priority for Obama (Washington Post 11/19/08) [4]


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