Much has been made of the Washington, D.C. "swamp" over the last four years. The vast apparatus of power that is now consecrated in the federal government is certainly immense and a far cry from what the Founders envisioned. It contains programs and agencies that work for both domestic and foreign goals.
The question of how the swamp came to be has no one particular answer. Some can be laid at the feet of the 20th-century Progressives during the Roosevelt-Wilson era. Other expansions of power originated with the New Deal. Certainly, the last quarter-century has seen its fair share of new agencies, policies, and expansions of government. However, one particular moment deserves its own focused attention if we are to truly understand the vast apparatus that is the swamp and the rationale for its creation from a national defense perspective: the National Security Act of 1947.
was post-WW2. The United States under President Truman had challenging
questions to deal with: how do we move forward in a postwar world? How
do we deal with the Soviet threat? What should the role of government
and the military be in a rapidly technologically changing world? To
help deal with these troubles, the National Security Act of 1947 thrust
into existence the National Security Council, the CIA, and with the
first secretary of defense (among other positions, departments, etc.) as
various agencies were morphed, merged, and created anew. In thinking
about national security, the CIA itself was divided into two camps — one
led by Richard Helms, who wanted the agency to be a purely
information-gathering service, and the other led by Frank Wisner, who
wanted covert actions to be used to alter political events to our favor
(Weiner, p. 11). Eventually, it would become both. The
information-gathering, in theory, would help the U.S. no longer be blind
to world events or reliant upon the British to gather intel, thus
allowing the NSC to formulate strategic and tactical planning, and the
remodeled Defense Department would be better equipped to implement those
plans............To Read More.....