Military veteran 'offered security adviser post'

WELL-LIKED: He was a very good and effective bureaucratic player. - MR DEREK CHOLLET, an assistant secretary of defence under the Obama administration, of Mr Harward (above).
WELL-LIKED: He was a very good and effective bureaucratic player. - MR DEREK CHOLLET, an assistant secretary of defence under the Obama administration, of Mr Harward (above).

WASHINGTON • The Trump administration has offered the job of White House national security adviser, vacated by former US intelligence official Michael Flynn, to retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, said two US officials familiar with the matter.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Harward, a former deputy commander of US Central Command who has Navy Seal combat experience, had accepted the offer, according to sources. A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.

Mr Flynn resigned on Monday after revelations that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia with the Russian Ambassador to the United States before President Donald Trump took office.

Mr Harward, a Rhode Island native who went to school in Teheran before the Shah was toppled in 1979, did a tour on the National Security Council under Republican president George W. Bush, working on counter-terrorism.

He also has combat experience on Seal teams and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served under General Jim Mattis, now US Defence Secretary, while at US Central Command.

He is well liked and respected and seen as unpretentious despite his distinguished military service, according to people who have worked with him.

"He was a very good and effective bureaucratic player," said Mr Derek Chollet, an assistant secretary of defence under the Obama administration.

"He understands the role the military plays within the broader tool set of American policy."

When Mr Harward was a commanding officer in Afghanistan, he was known for making his rounds without full body armour to send a message that Afghanistan was safe, said a US official who worked under Mr Harward there.

"He had no ego," the official said, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Military veteran 'offered security adviser post''. Print Edition | Subscribe