On Monday, President Trump selected Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor choice. McMaster now stands poised to replace Trump's previous pick, Michael Flynn. You've probably heard of Flynn by now, but if you don't know who McMaster is, now's the time to read up.
Like Flynn, McMaster will bring a wealth of military experience to his new position. (Hopefully, he won't bring Flynn's shady tendencies, though.) McMaster began his military career in school, graduating from Valley Forge Military Academy in 1980 and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1984. His army career has spanned such conflicts as the Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time of his appointment to the Trump administration, McMaster was serving as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and deputy commanding general, futures, of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. In other words, he's a career military officer with three decades under his belt and experience training future military leaders.
McMaster also brings some experience from the civilian world, but it's not without a military context. He earned a Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As part of his dissertation, McMaster wrote a book called Dereliction of Duty, which examines the relationship between the Johnson administration and the military with regard to the Vietnam War.
Over the course of his career, McMaster has been known for his outspoken tendencies. In Dereliction of Duty, he wrote, "The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C." He has challenged the army to take cyber-security seriously and to grow its ranks.
His outspoken nature and his forward-thinking attitude make McMaster an understandable choice for the president. In announcing McMaster's appointment, the Trump administration filled an awkward void: Lt. Gen. Flynn resigned last week after reports surfaced that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his relationship with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyack. Keith Kellogg, the National Security Council's chief of staff, served as interim national security advisor while the country awaited Trump's replacement pick.
McMaster will relieve Kellogg of his interim title. The new national security advisor is a decorated army officer, with a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart that Trump always wanted. Oh, and the H.R. stands for Herbert Raymond.