But Xi said it would deal with both domestic and international security challenges.
"Currently, our country faces external pressures on safeguarding sovereignty, security and development interests, and internal pressure on safeguarding political security and social stability," Xi said in comments carried by the official Xinhua news agency.
The "predictable and unpredictable" risks facing China are increasing dramatically and the country's existing systems are incapable of handling them, Xi said.
"Establishing the national security commission strengthens the concentration and unified leadership of our national security operations and is a top priority," he added.
Experts say the commission is based on the National Security Council in the United States and would increase co-ordination between the various wings of China's security bureaucracy, split now between the police, military, intelligence and diplomatic services.
Possible flashpoints for China overseas include North Korea and the South China Sea.
China says it also faces considerable threats at home, pointing to continued unrest in two regions heavily populated by ethnic minorities which chafe at Chinese rule - Tibet and Xinjiang.