President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker, as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.
Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach, Florida, club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”
The president’s choice further elevated the influence of military officers in the new administration. Trump, who has no military or foreign policy experience, has shown a strong preference for putting generals in top roles. In this case, he tapped an active-duty officer for a post that’s sometimes used as a counterweight to the Pentagon. McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals, in Trump’s inner circle of national security advisers. The White House said Monday McMaster plans to remain on active military duty.
He will take on the challenge of leading a National Security Council that has not adjusted smoothly to Trump’s leadership. The president suggested he does not trust holdovers from the Obama administration and complained about leaks to reporters. His decision to put his top political adviser on the senior committee of the National Security Council drew sharp criticism. On Friday, the head of the council’s Western Hemisphere division was fired after he criticized Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.
Trump said Monday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff. He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity.”
McMaster is viewed as soldier-scholar and creative thinker. He has a doctoral degree in history from the University of North Carolina