An intriguing aspect of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s political consolidation was the establishment of a Central National Security Commission (CNSC; 中央国家安全委员会, Zhongyang guojia anquan weiyuanhui ) at the end of 2013. The CNSC seemingly empowered Xi, who was put in charge of the new body, and through a permanent staff structure, perhaps set the stage for more effective strategic planning and crisis response. Over the last few years, subordinate National Security Commissions (NSCs) have been installed at all tiers of the party structure down to the county level. The CNSC thus sits atop a new organizational hierarchy that strengthens Xi’s ability to set the agenda and improves the party’s ability to coordinate national security affairs. While the system’s political utility for Xi is clear, its role in improving crisis response at the local level could be constrained by several factors.