WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is changing the advisory circle of national security experts in his White House, and the new configuration reflects the sharp rise of his controversial aide Stephen Bannon.

Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is now invited to sit in on all meetings of the National Security Council, while officials like the director of national intelligence and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will participate only when summoned.

The decision is raising questions in national security circles. Bannon is the former head of the right-wing Breitbart News website who said last week that the news media should be considered “the opposition party” in the Trump White House. Bannon was a key link for Trump with the nationalist “alt-right” movement during the presidential campaign.

“Stone-cold crazy,” is how former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice described the decision. In a Twitter post Sunday, she asked with sarcasm, “Who needs military advice or intell to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?” using abbreviations for Islamic State and North Korea.

Trump’s press secretary said Sunday is simply trying to “streamline” the decision-making process and cut down on the bureaucracy.

Bannon is a former Naval officer, Sean Spicer said on ABC. He added that it’s only right for the president’s top strategist to “come in and talk about what the strategy is going forward.”

Bannon has a “tremendous understanding of the world,” Spicer said.

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