Wed, Feb 22, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Trump picks McMaster as national security adviser

OUTSPOKEN:The active-duty general is known for his book criticizing the US government for what he called the ‘lies’ that led to the Vietnam War

AP, PALM BEACH, Florida

New US National Security Adviser Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster, left, speaks, while US President Donald Trump looks on at a news conference at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

US President Donald Trump has tapped US Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond 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 on Monday at his Palm Beach, Florida, club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”

Sitting next to Trump for the announcement, McMaster said he was honored to take on the role and that he looks forward to “doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people.”

The president’s choice further elevates 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 is sometimes used as a counterweight to the Pentagon.

McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, both retired generals, in Trump’s inner circle of national security advisers.

The White House said McMaster plans to remain on active military duty.

Trump also announced that retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, is to serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.

He added that he would be asking former US ambassador to UN John Bolton to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity.”

McMaster is viewed as soldier-academic and creative thinker. He has a doctoral degree in history from the University of North Carolina and has been heavily involved in the US Army’s efforts to shape its future force and its way of preparing for war. He is the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, a sort of military think tank, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Outside of the army, McMaster may be best known for his 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, a searing indictment of the US government’s mishandling of the Vietnam War and an analysis of what he called the “lies that led to Vietnam.”

The book earned him a reputation for being willing to speak truth to power.

McMaster commanded troops in both US wars in Iraq. He later served as a special adviser to the top US commander in Iraq.

It was not clear how closely McMaster’s and Trump’s views align. On Russia, McMaster appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.

In remarks at the US Center for Strategic and International Studies in May last year, McMaster said Russia managed to annex Crimea and intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine “at zero cost” from the international community.

McMaster said Moscow’s broader goal is to “collapse the post-Cold War security, economic and political order in Europe and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.”

US Senator John McCain, an increasingly vocal Trump critic, called McMaster an “outstanding” choice.

“He is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability. He knows how to succeed,” he said in a statement. “I give President Trump great credit for this decision, as well as his national security Cabinet choices.”

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