Video On Demand

White House Warriors: A Conversation with John Gans on How the National Security Council Changed the American Way of War

June 13, 2019 • 10:30 – 11:30 am EDT
“John Gans shows us how the staff of the National Security Council has gradually accumulated or been given extraordinary influence over American national security policy. Sharply critical of this development, the author understands and even admires the people whom he believes have, less through ambition than the abdication of others, inadvertently undermined democratic governance. Controversial, compellingly written, and above all an essential read for anyone who wants to know not only why the United States goes to war, but how.”
- Eliot Cohen, professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and author of Supreme Command

Please join CSIS for a conversation on the power and role of the National Security Council in today's foreign policy. From its creation as a small coordination team after World War II, through the overreach of Iran-Contra and the venerated Scowcroft team managing the end of the Cold War, the NSC has come to exert more influence on the President's foreign policy decisions than any other institution or individual. A revelatory history written with riveting DC insider detail, White House Warriors traces the path that has led us to an era of sweeping American engagement abroad. Gans demonstrates through extensive archival research and new interviews that the NSC staff's history is essential to truly understanding American foreign policy.

John Gans was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and served as his principal advisor on planning, positioning, and preparation of remarks. In addition to leading the writing team at the Defense Department, Gans served as senior speechwriter for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. He is currently the Director of Communications and Research at the University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House.

This event is made possible by the general support to CSIS.

Seth Center

Director of Communications and Research, Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania