National Security Council

Penn Model Congress is pleased to offer the National Security Council special program for this year’s conference. The National Security Council is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Its purpose is to develop a recommended course of action for the President in the wake of a national security crisis. Because these crises can occur at any time, members of the NSC are on-call 24 hours a day.


Each school is invited to select one delegate to sit on the NSC. Participating delegates must be well prepared and be well versed in US policy regarding international relations, military strategy, and national security. Each delegate will be part of a team representing three different government agencies involved in crisis response: the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House. These teams will work to develop response plans to any situations that might arise.

The National Security Council consists of the following members:

  • President of the United States
  • Vice President of the United States
  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Defense
  • White House Chief of Staff
  • Ambassador to the United Nations
  • National Security Advisor
  • Other representatives from the Pentagon
  • Other representatives from the State Department
  • Other representatives from the White House

The first seven individuals listed above are Cabinet officers and Administration officials from the Executive Branch program. Delegates participating in the NSC program fil the final three roles as representatives of either the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or the White House. With the exception of the seven officers named above, delegates may not participate in more than one special program.


Upon arrival at Penn Model Congress, members of the National Security Council will be issued their security clearance credentials. In the event of a national security crisis, the President can convene the NSC, which will meet immediately in the Situation Room to monitor developments and coordinate the President’s response. First, delegates will spend time meeting with their teams to develop a plan that represents the viewpoints of the government agency they represent. These teams are:

  • The Pentagon - headed by the Secretary of Defense - members of the Pentagon team represent the US Military and work to develop military options at the President's request.
  • The State Department - headed by the Secretary of State - members of the State Department team represent US diplomatic interests and advise the President on related issues.
  • The White House - headed by the White House Chief of Staff - members of the White House team advise the President on the domestic political environment and public relations.

Each team will meet with its team leader privately for 20 minutes and work to develop a plan of action. The teams will present those plans to the Council and be rigorously questioned on the practicality and real-world military and diplomatic consequences of their ideas. Each delegate will be given 5 minutes to speak and be questioned. The council will then move to open debate over the proposals, and the President will decide what actions to take.

The National Security Council will not conflict with Committee meetings, although there is no similar guarantee regarding Full Sessions or other conference activities. All delegates will still be expected to write their own bills for debate in their main committees. Participants must be willing to sacrifice more time during the conference to participate in this program.

Final Thoughts

The National Security program will provide participating delegates with the opportunity to create US military and diplomatic policy. We strongly urge each school to participate in the program. You can also visit the real National Security Council's website by clicking here.