White House officials defended President Trump’s decision to give top political strategist Stephen Bannon a permanent spot on the National Security Council while limiting the role of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“We are instilling reforms to make sure that we streamline the process for the president to make decisions on key, important intelligence matters,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

In a presidential memorandum issued Saturday, Bannon, 63, a former executive at Breitbart News, was given a permanent spot on the NSC’s principals committee, the senior-level interagency group that considers major national security policy issues. Others with permanent seats on the White House policy council include the secretary of state and secretary of defense.

Under the new policy, however, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff will attend only “where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the memo. Both were permanent members under President Obama, but had a similar ad hoc status under President George W. Bush.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday he was concerned that adding Bannon to the council while leaving out Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was a “radical departure.”

The changes also drew sharp criticism from Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who said in a Twitter message that the moves were “stone cold crazy.”

Rice also criticized aspects of the order that would let Vice President Mike Pence chair meetings of the council in lieu of the president, and reduced the role of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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