National Security Action (NSA) is a left-wing 501(c)(4) advocacy group largely composed of former Obama administration staffers and leadership. NSA works to advance global policies and oppose the foreign policy of the Trump administration.1 NSA provides Democratic candidates for public office with talking points and policy and legal expertise intended to support the Obama administration’s foreign policy consensus.2
National Security Action was established in February 2017 by Ben Rhodes, a former national security advisor in the Obama White House, and Jake Sullivan, a national security advisor to former Vice President Joe Biden. Both Rhodes and Sullivan were key figures in establishing the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. 3 Sullivan later served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.4
National Security Action was designed as an advocacy group that could lobby and engage in political activity. It was created to oppose the foreign policies of the Trump administration. Sullivan and Rhodes have been critical of Trump. Sullivan said: “We have a president who is erratic on the world stage, escalating conflicts and belligerently threatening war – even a potentially catastrophic nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula.”5
NSA co-chair Ben Rhodes has claimed that the group is a temporary organization that plans to dissolve in 2021.
NSA’s leadership is comprised of 60 Advisory Council members. A majority of the Advisory Council and staff have professional or personal connections with the Obama administration.6
Some notable NSA advisory members include Rosa Brooks, a foreign policy writer and former counselor of defense who also sits on board of U.S. Programs for George Soros’s Open Society Foundations; John Bisognano, who served as an NSA senior advisor and former Obama campaign staffer who also works as outreach director for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee; and Nicholas Burns, formerly Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and currently a professor who teaches International Relations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
In 2018, National Security Action spent $100,000 on lobbying and was represented by lobbyist Helen Rebecca Brocato. NSA lobbied for a bill called S.J.RES.54, a joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.7
- National Security Action: Donate. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://secure.squarespace.com/checkout/donate?donatePageId=5a9499f453450a49e98552b9.
- “The Washington Post on National Security Action’s Launch.” National Security Action. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://nationalsecurityaction.org/newsroom-blog/2018/2/27/washington-post-democrats-marshal-a-strike-force-to-counter-trump-on-national-security-in-2018-2020-elections.
- Doran, Michael. “White House Narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.” By Gabriel Schoenfeld. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.hudson.org/research/12498-white-house-narratives-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal.
- Nather, David. “Clinton Names Top 3 Wonks for Campaign.” POLITICO. April 14, 2015. Accessed December 06, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/clinton-names-top-three-wonks-for-campaign-116975.
- Sullivan, Jake. “It’s Time to Shine Harsh Light on Trump’s Leadership Failures.” Mcclatchydc. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/opinion/article202350149.html.
- Gearan, Anne. “Democrats Marshal Strike Force to Counter Trump on National Security in 2018, 2020 Elections.” The Washington Post. February 27, 2018. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-marshal-a-strike-force-to-counter-trump-on-national-security-in-2018-2020-elections/2018/02/26/6b08540a-1b5b-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.bf43167d9d20.
- Willis, Derek. “S.J.RES.54: A Joint Resolution to Direct the Removal of United States Armed Forces from Hostilities in the Republic of Yemen That Have Not Been Authorized by Congress.” How States Handle Drug Use During Pregnancy. August 12, 2015. Accessed December 05, 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/represent/bills/115/sjres54.