Security Policy Board, United States

Security Policy Board, United States

An advisory committee created by President William J. Clinton in 1994, the Security Policy Board (SPB) reported to the president through the National Security Advisor on matters of security policy. Its short existence was a troubled one, with critics charging that the board's organizational system was too complex and cumbersome. In 2001 the new administration of President George W. Bush abolished the SPB.

On September 16, 1994, Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 29 ("Security Policy Coordination"), in which he redesignated the Joint Security Executive Committee, established by the deputy Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), as the SPB. The latter included the DCI and deputy Secretary of Defense, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the deputy Attorney General, and deputy secretaries or undersecretaries of State, Energy, and Commerce. Its job was to consider policy directives and to review and propose legislative initiatives and executive orders relating to U.S. security policy. Additionally, it would coordinate interagency agreements and resolve conflicts over these.

In addition to the board itself, there was a Security Policy Advisory Board, a Security Policy Forum, an Overseas Policy Board (formerly the Department of State Overseas Security Policy Group), and their various interagency working groups. The result was an extremely cumbersome system in which, charged Richard Lardner of Government Executive, little was getting done. As of March 1998, the board itself had met only once, in March 1996, and most of its activities took place through various subcommittees and working groups.

The SPB in early 1998 reviewed ties between Commerce Department official John Huang and the Chinese government, and in 1999 severely criticized cost-cutting measures by the Defense Security Service that had resulted in the granting of security clearances to unqualified personnel. On February 13, 2001, Bush dissolved the SPB and other aspects of Clinton's national security structure with National Security Presidential Directive 1, "Organization of the National Security System."



Lardner, Richard. "Keeping Secrets." Government Executive 30, no. 3 (March 1998): 27–29.

Pound, Edward T. "Security Panel Has Opposed Agency's Cost-Cutting Moves." USA Today. (August 20, 1999): 8A.

White, Ben. "Commerce Secretary Unveils New Security Policy." Washington Post. (February 11, 1998): A19.


Security Policy Board Documents. Federation of American Scientists. < > (April 2, 2003).


Bush Administration (2001–), United States National Security Policy
Chinese Espionage against the United States
Clinton Administration (1993–2001), United States National Security Policy
Defense Security Service, United States

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