Establishment of the National Security Coordination Council

DOJ Seal Office of the Attorney General
Washington, DC 20530

March 5, 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF DEPARTMENT COMPONENTS

FROM: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

SUBJECT: Establishment of the National Security Coordination Council

Nearly five months after the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Department of Justice stands at the forefront of President Bush's efforts to secure the American homeland. Throughout the Department, we have made great strides toward fully deploying the arsenal of justice to combat terrorism, and we have done so without compromising our commitment to the rule of law. But there is much work to be done.

The assaults on America that occurred on September 11, and the supreme imperative to prevent further terrorist attacks, mandate a more coordinated effort to combat terrorism and address other national security challenges, both within the Department of Justice, and in the Department's interaction with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Therefore, effective immediately, I hereby establish the National Security Coordination Council (NSCC) of the Department of Justice, which shall be chaired by the Deputy Attorney General. It shall be the principal mission of the NSCC to ensure a more seamless coordination of all functions of the Department relating to national security, particularly the Department's efforts to combat terrorism directed against the United States.

Under the Deputy Attorney General's leadership, the Council will:

(1) Centralize and coordinate policy, resource allocation, operations, and long-term planning of DOJ components regarding counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, and other major national security issues;

(2) Monitor the implementation of Department policy to ensure that components are taking all necessary and appropriate actions to prevent and disrupt the occurrence of terrorist attacks on the United States;

(3) Provide an institutionalized Department forum for crisis management;

(4) Promote coordination and information-sharing within the Department, between DOJ and other federal agencies and interagency bodies, and between DOJ and state and local law enforcement authorities, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to terrorist attacks within the United States;

(5) Frame national security issues for resolution by the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General; and

(6) Ensure that positions advanced by the Deputy Attorney General on behalf of DOJ at interagency meetings of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and other interagency forums reflect input from DOJ national security components.

In addition to the Deputy Attorney General, the NSCC's members will include the following Department officials with responsibility for national security matters:

• Chief of Staff to the Attorney General;

• FBI Director (with appropriate participation by the Executive Assistant Director for Counter-Terrorism/Counter-Intelligence);

• Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division (with appropriate participation by the Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, the Office of International Affairs, and other Division components);

• Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service;

• Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs; and

• Counsel, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.

The NSCC will meet on a bi-weekly basis or more frequently as needed. In addition to the Deputy Attorney General and the permanent members listed above, other senior Department officials -- as well as senior officials from the Central Intelligence Agency and other government agencies -- will be invited to attend NSCC meetings when appropriate. The NSCC will receive staff support from attorneys in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General with expertise in national security matters, and from ODAG administrative personnel. The functions and personnel of the Executive Office of National Security will henceforth be incorporated into the NSCC's operations.

The establishment of the NSCC marks a new chapter in the Department of Justice's commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of the American people. I call upon all Department officials and employees to dedicate themselves to the success of this vital effort.

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