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Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, USA, shakes President Donald J. Trump's hand after accepting the NSA job at the
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, USA, shakes President Donald J. Trump’s hand after accepting the NSA job at the “Southern White House” in Palm Beach, Fl. (Photo: AP)

By Ward Carroll

President Donald J. Trump has just announced U.S. Army Lt.Gen. H.R. McMaster as his next National Security Adviser.

McMaster is highly regarded within Pentagon circles, known both as a critical thinker on policy matters as well as a combat tested warrior. He first came to prominence after publishing “Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.” The book is a critical look at the mistakes at the highest level of government during the American buildup in Vietnam.

McMaster is a West Point graduate and holds a Ph.D. in American History from UNC-Chapel Hill. He cut his teeth in combat during the now-legendary armored vehicle Battle of Easting during Operation Desert Storm. He commanded the Maneuver Center of Excellence and was most recently Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

McMaster was twice passed over for promotion to brigadier general, despite his reputation as one of “the most celebrated soldiers of the Iraq War.” Though the rationale for promotion board decisions is not made public, it is generally agreed that McMaster was held back because of concerns surrounding his tendency to argue against the status quo.

McMaster follows fellow Army three-star Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Flynn was fired by President Trump after only 24 days on the job because he lied to Vice President Pence in the face of allegations that he’d communicated with the Russians during the presidential transition period. The White House has denied any wrongdoing on Flynn’s part, even as he was removed from his position on the staff.

Experts within the Beltway expressed universal approval of McMasters in the NSA role, but some — like MSNBC military analyst and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs — said they were surprised based on the perceived instability around the White House.

“I can’t imagine Gen. McMaster taking the job without establishing some ground rules,” Jacobs said. “You don’t get a guy like McMaster without giving up something.”

Here’s a must-watch documentary about then-Capt. McMaster’s heroism during The Battle of Easting in 1991:

Ward Carroll is the President of Military One Click. He can be reached at ward@militaryoneclick.com.

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