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Donald Trump names H.R. McMaster as national security adviser

A career military leader, McMaster has previously been critical of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Vietnam.

By
Doug G. Ware
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster was named by President Donald Trump as national security adviser, replacing Michael T. Flynn in the post. McMaster began military service in 1984 and served in multiple posts at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. Photo courtesy DVIDS/EPA
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster was named by President Donald Trump as national security adviser, replacing Michael T. Flynn in the post. McMaster began military service in 1984 and served in multiple posts at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. Photo courtesy DVIDS/EPA

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A week after Michael T. Flynn was ousted as top White House security adviser, President Donald Trump appointed his successor.

The president announced in Florida on Monday that U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster will take over as assistant to the president for national security affairs, a job more commonly referred to as national security adviser.

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Trump made the announcement at his home at Mar-a-Lago, on Palm Beach.

"I just wanted to announce we have been working all weekend very diligently, very hard, that Gen. H.R. McMaster will become the national security adviser," the president said. "He is a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. I watched and read a lot over the last two days ... he is highly respected by everybody in the military. We are very honored to have him."

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The career military expert will now take over a position viewed by some as one of the most difficult in the executive branch.

McMaster, 54, began his Army service in 1984 and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. He led American armed forces in various posts at U.S. Central Command, the unit of the Department of Defense based in Tampa, Fla. that overseas U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.

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Over the weekend, the White House said Trump had narrowed the candidates list down to four -- McMaster, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John R. Bolton, acting adviser Keith Kellogg and Army Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen.

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National security adviser Michael T. Flynn, center, and Senior Counselor to the President Steve Bannon, sit in the Oval Office at the White House as President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on January 28. Flynn resigned on Feb. 13 and Trump on Monday named H.R. McMaster to succeed him in the role. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI

Though Kellogg didn't get the nod, Trump added Monday that he will continue as chief of staff of the National Security Council. The president also noted that he planned to install Bolton in a key administration role, saying that he "has a good number of ideas that, I must tell you, I agree very much with."

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"We will be talking with John Bolton in a different capacity," he said.

A key Army strategist, McMaster graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later earned his master's and doctorate degrees at the University of North Carolina. McMaster subsequently wrote a thesis and a book critical of the Pentagon's performance during the Vietnam War. He was also highly critical of former President George W. Bush's decision to focus militarily on Iraq in 2003.

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Flynn was removed from the role of national security adviser on Feb. 13 following a dust-up over conversations he had with Russian diplomat Sergey I. Kislyak weeks before Trump was inaugurated -- during which the retired Army general may have tipped off the ambassador to potential sanctions coming from President Barack Obama. The president said he asked for Flynn's resignation because he subsequently told Vice President Mike Pence that neither he nor Kislyak had discussed sanctions.

The president first tapped retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward to replace Flynn in the job, but he declined based on concerns of his family.

McMaster's appointment comes amid reports of some dysfunction on Trump's National Security Council, where members have purportedly become increasingly concerned that they're not being consulted on certain administration decisions.

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