Interagency Structure of Economic and Foreign Policy Decisionmaking

ID-83-41: Published: May 12, 1983. Publicly Released: May 17, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the means by which the President receives information on the impact of his foreign policy decisions.

A number of high-level interagency groups have been formed by the administration: seven cabinet councils report to the President and four senior interagency groups operate under the umbrella of the National Security Council (NSC). These groups are used extensively by this administration as policymaking bodies and to assist in decisionmaking. The Senior Interagency Group on International Economic Policy (SIG-IEP) integrates elements of both NSC and the cabinet council systems. Its chairman has the responsibility to ensure that the activities of the various entities dealing with international economic policy issues are fully coordinated and to ensure that those policies are consistent with domestic economic policies. Administration officials stated that the system has been successful in eliciting broad interagency debate on issues that require Presidential decision. However, no one group has been set up by the administration to ensure that domestic and foreign policies are fully consistent and integrated, and the ability of the SIG-IEP to clarify and coordinate the development of international economic policies is the subject of some disagreement.

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