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White House says H.R. McMaster will become new national security advisor

CNBC with Wires
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

The White House announced Monday that Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster will become new National Security Adviser, replacing Michael Flynn, who was dismissed last week.

President Trump announced the pick at his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, saying McMaster is "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience."

The White House also said retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.

The New York Times reported that President Trump interviewed four candidates on Sunday, McMaster being one of them.

The Times described McMaster as "a highly decorated Army officer," and "one of the military's leading intellectuals."

McMaster, 54, is a West Point graduate known as "H.R.," with a PhD in U.S. history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2014, partly because of his willingness to buck the system.

A combat veteran, he gained renown in the first Gulf War - and was awarded a Silver Star - after he commanded a small troop of the U.S. 2nd Army Cavalry Regiment that destroyed a much larger Iraqi Republican Guard force in 1991 in a place called 73 Easting, for its map coordinates, in what many consider the biggest tank battle since World War Two.

The national security adviser is an independent aide to the president and does not require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The role has varied from administration to administration, but the adviser attends National Security Council meetings along with the heads of the State Department, the Department of Defense and key security agencies.

Trump pushed out Flynn a week ago after revelations that the adviser had misled Pence about discussing sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition. Trump said in a news conference Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence, but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.

— CNBC with Wires

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