The Man with Six In Boxes

A White House aide rarely gets to write his own job description, but that's what Roger Porter did back in 1980. While teaching government at Harvard, Porter wrote Presidential Decision Making, a book describing a system in which the President designates "honest brokers." These senior aides, unlike Cabinet officers, are not wedded to particular policies or constituencies. The broker's job is to elicit advice from each department that has a stake in a decision. The broker then helps distill the main arguments and options for the President, who ultimately hears a few senior advisers debate head to head.

This model nicely...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!