An insider's look at the management of national security; by Lord, Director of International Communications and Information Policy on the National Security Council (NSC) under Reagan from 1981-83. In tracing the history of the NSC under eight Presidents, Lord offers one major theme: that the NSC, originally conceived as a restraint on presidential power, has come to used as a major tool of that power--a trend that began with the Kennedy Administration and has continued ever since. To the extent that the NSC's power has grown, this has reflected a lack of presidential confidence in the ability of the State Department and the CIA to carry out his policies. It is agencies such as these two that, allied with Congress and the media, often spell trouble for presidential policies. Lord feels that the time has come to make some changes in interagency/presidential relationships in order to unlock the stalemates of the future. What he suggests, basically, is a strengthened White House staff structure and enhanced White House control over the process of interagency policy development and implementation. Very dense, but, still, solid history, diagnosis, and prescription.