President Trump has selected Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to serve as the new National Security Advisor after recently asking for Lt. Gen. Flynn’s resignation.
It’s difficult to find outspoken critics of Lt. General H.R. McMaster in Washington, D.C. Despite his controversy, McMaster seems to be admired similar to how Petraeus is and has been admired and respected. However, some question his political savvy and not in a negative way. You don’t necessarily have to be political in the same vein in DoD politics as you do on the Hill or in the White House. That might be true and serve him well or harm him – or, it could be proved false.
Because of the latest shake-up and the concerns over personnel, many in D.C. are worried that General McMaster’s task is an impossible one, if not a future filled with strife. The concern over the influence of political operations has long since been leaked and reported. The remaining question is, what was the General’s calculation entering this role? It might be a sense of duty and stepping up to the plate when others will not. It could be patriotism far above career, life, and politics, regardless of your political belief that position takes a toll on all of the above.
David Ignatius, a storied and respected political and national security thinker of the Washington Post said this of General McMaster: “He’s the real deal.” Ignatius is a deliberate and measured speaker, and not an advocate of the foreign policy maneuvers of the current White House. His applause of the pick ought to help skeptics sleep at night. McMaster has received equal support from virtually every major news outlet and pundit, alike.
There’s one potential hiccup that might stymie McMaster’s success: National Security Council experience and inability to hire who he wants. Unfortunately, he will have limited HR (Human Resources) quality control at the NSC. That has become abundantly clear after Vice Admiral Harward noted reservations over inability to form a select team if he were to be the National Security Advisor. However, given the amount of respect McMaster wields and his universal praise, he’d be an unlikely target for bullying.
The National Security Council is in a state of duress and low-confidence. McMaster might be the appropriate man for the job. According to the New York Times, McMaster is a “widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days.” Hopefully, the same will be true for the NSC under McMaster’s influence.
Featured image courtesy of NPR.