Trump simultaneously removed the Director of National Intelligence (a position now unfilled pending approval of nominee Dan Coats, former Republican senator from Indiana) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, from the principals committee.
Spicer said that including Bannon on the NSC roster is an example of the administration's "transparency".
But critics of Trump's directive say they are anxious about the inclusion of Bannon, a former Breitbart News editor. Sen. He added the president was even planning to amend the order to formally reinstate the CIA as part of the NSC after it was dropped from the council following the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
As mentioned above, this apparent Bannon National Security Council coup involves more than just Donald Trump issuing an order placing Bannon on the Council.
The structure includes the director of national intelligence and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on the NSC's Principals Committee - a senior interagency forum that considers national security policy issues.
Why the president would think that the former publisher of Breitbart is a more important voice on national security matters than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the director of National Intelligence, that's a mystery.
Spicer continued: "They are at every NSC meeting and are welcome to attend the principals meetings as well". John McCainJohn McCainSchumer: Adding Bannon to Security Council "disturbing" Shock and alarm at Bannon's new role Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief working to exempt Iraqis from Trump order MORE (R-Ariz.). "The CIA is in ours and it wasn't in theirs".
Associated Press sources from the White House stated Bannon's addition was "essential to the commander in chief's decision-making process".
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice called the move "stone cold insane".
David Axelrod says he sat in on a few meetings as an observer pertaining to specific issues but was never a member of the Principals Committee.
The White House today took great pains to suggest that reports of a major shakeup at the National Security Council are, quote, "utter nonsense".
There also is concern that the way the Trump administration has presented the changes to the NSC reflects a lack of understanding about how hard it can be to translate broad policy goals into concrete action.
"He's got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now", Spicer said on ABC's This Week. He noted that Karl Rove, Bush's top political strategist, did not attend council meetings. They want another member of the inner circle inside the committee to ride herd on him.
"Mr. Bannon is invited to those meetings but the meetings have been and will continue to be run by our national security experts..." Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs, is a four-star general who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
It's been slightly more than one week since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and he's signed a dizzying number of executive orders including his hyper-controversial immigrant ban. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they get it wrong.