H.R. McMaster: Conflict With Trump Could Lie Ahead For National Security Adviser

Donald Trump on Monday named United States Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster — better known as H.R. McMaster — to be his new National Security Adviser, following the departure of disgraced former NSA Michael Flynn, and after Trump's first choice to fill Flynn's caveated post turned Trump down.

Last week, Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward flatly refused Trump's offer to take the generally coveted job of National Security Adviser, reportedly due to the chaos and disarray of Trump's administration. Harvard is said to have told friends the job working for Trump was "a s*** sandwich."

But Trump was able to find a taker in McMaster, a career Army officer who, unlike Flynn and Trump Defense Secretary James Mattis — both of whom were retired generals — remains on active military duty. The 54-year-old McMaster commanded the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Iraq War and also served was stationed in Afghanistan. McMaster's service extends back to the first Gulf War in 1991.

But McMaster would appear to be an unusual pick for Trump, who is known to demand unquestioning loyalty, and over the weekend fired a top official on the National Security Council who, Trump learned, had criticized Trump and his family at a private Washington D.C. think tank event.

From what is known about McMaster and his fierce insistence on independence, the new national security adviser wold appear to be on a potential collision course with his new boss.

Donald Trump National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, Who Is H.R. McMaster, United States Army, Trump cabinet picks
McMaster replaces retired general Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump last week over failure to fully disclose a conversation with the Russian ambassador. [Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]

McMaster is known as an iconoclast and individualistic figure who believes strongly in the authority of military commanders to question and criticize the president and other civilian decision-makers, as well as their own military superiors.

McMaster, who is often described as military "intellectual," in his book Dereliction of Duty gained widespread recognition for blasting the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as Washington politicians and administration officials for what he saw as their gross mishandling of the Vietnam War.

The lieutenant general, who currently serves as director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center in Virginia, also publicly blasted the George W. Bush administration for its strategic decisions in the Iraq War.

According to a report on McMaster by National Public Radio, Donald Trump's new National Security Adviser, McMaster "isn't thought to be one to back down if challenged by anyone in the White House."

In his book Dereliction of Duty, McMaster was harshly critical of "generals who deferred to politicians and regretted it."

The following CBS News video report contains more details of McMaster's hiring by Trump on Monday.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McMaster is also known in the military as an effective counter-insurgency strategist, and is credited with creating the theories put into practice by General David Petraeus that helped change the direction of the Iraq War, shifting in favor of the United States and Iraqi military and away from the insurgent forces which had dominated the war for several years following the initial United States invasion.

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Donald Trump National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, Who Is H.R. McMaster, United States Army, Trump cabinet picks
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster (l) accepts the position if National Security Adviser offered by Donald Trump. [Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]

Petraeus is a close associate of McMaster, and was actually under consideration for the National Security Adviser position by Trump, but withdrew from consideration after Trump refused to grant him the authority to select his own staff.

But according to spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump "gave full authority for McMaster to hire whatever staff he sees fit."

McMaster graduated from West Point in 1984, then received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He married Kathleen "Katie" Trotter in 1985 after a two-year dating relationship. The couple remains married today and have two daughters.

[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]