Key aides from the departments and NSC staff also attend, depending on the subject.
They will settle a number of issues in this body and frame the issues for the NSC itself.
The NSC, FBI, and CIA fully understood at least one of the legal implications of NSCID No. 14.
Victor Cha served on the NSC, dealing with North Korea from 2004 and 2007.
But it turns out the NSC vetted the written testimony in advance and did not object to his stark line.
Imagine if Richard Danzig was Defense secretary and Susan Rice was NSC adviser, as many had expected.
They, along with the NSC Adviser Jim Jones and field commanders like General McChrystal and General Petraeus, are the key players.
So Rice decamped to Turtle Bay, where she bided her time until Jones retired at the NSC.
You could have said something in the NSC meeting in front of the president and the principals.
And yet, Hagel has the backing of those ex-ambassadors, former NSC heads of both parties, and more.