Trump Picks Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to Replace Flynn as National Security Adviser

President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left / AP
February 20, 2017

President Donald Trump picked Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as his national security adviser on Monday.

Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. that McMaster would replace Flynn as national security adviser.

The president touted McMaster's credentials, saying 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, and we're very honored to have him," the president added.

McMaser called it a "privilege" to be appointed national security adviser.

"I would just like to say what a privilege it is to be able to continue serving our nation," McMaster told reporters. "I'm grateful to you for that opportunity, and I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people."

McMaster, 54, has been regarded as "smart, energetic, and tough" by Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy.

When McMaster was a colonel he served as an advising officer on counterinsurgency operations in Iraq for David Petraeus, who was leading U.S. combat operations in the country at the time.

During the Iraq War, McMaster argued for the U.S. to switch to counterinsurgency operations to secure local populations from the country's insurgent movement, working with Petraeus and others to lead that effort. McMaster is a decorated combat veteran who helped secure the Iraqi city of Tal Afar from Sunni insurgents in 2005 through innovative leadership.

McMaster, who also served in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf War, is currently director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and became deputy commanding general, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, in July 2014.

McMaster received a doctorate in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who was acting national security adviser after Flynn's resignation from the post, will serve as chief of staff on the National Security Council, working with McMaster to advise the president and coordinate the many pieces of the country's national security apparatus.

"That combination is very, very special," Trump said of Kellogg and McMaster.

Trump also addressed on Monday former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who was considered a front runner to replace Flynn by senior White House officials.

"I know John Bolton we're going to be asking to work with us in a somewhat different capacity," Trump said.

Flynn resigned last week after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in December about U.S. sanctions.

Trump had first asked retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward to replace Flynn as his national security adviser, but Harward turned the down job.