The most critical issue in merging the Homeland Security Council (HSC) and the National Security Council (NSC) is one that has received the least attention. Merger advocates emphasize that combining the councils will better integrate domestic and international policymaking. Paul Stockton agrees with the importance of that goal. He argues, however, that the most destructive gaps in policy integration lie between federal, state, and local governments. The HSC was originally supposed to include state and local representatives in its policymaking process. That never happened. The failure to give states and localities a sustained, institutionalized role in shaping the initiatives they implement has produced repeated policy and programmatic failures. Stockton argues that now, regardless of whether the administration merges the HSC and NSC, the time has come to include state and local representatives in their work. In this essay he proposes how to do so and also examines the special challenges that a merged council would face in terms of its span of control and other issues.