President Donald Trump has asked former Vice Admiral Robert (Bob) Harward to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. In Foreign Policy, military author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas E. Ricks says that he expects Harward to be “Scowcroftian” in his approach. This of course is a reference to Brent Scowcroft who I have regularly mentioned (See here, here, and here) as a model for what anyone dealing with the nation’s defense and foreign affairs, should be. Realist and pragmatic.
Read more about Scowcroft in Bartholomew Sparrow’s biography The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security.
I think he would look especially to people he knows from his time working for the George W. Bush NSC from 2003 to 2005. No more Fox News talking heads. Instead, I think he would try to take a Scowcroftian approach to trying to run the interagency policy formulation process — deliberate, rigorous, careful. Just how that will fit with the style of the Twitterer-in-Chief, I don’t know.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see J.D. Crouch and David Trachtenberg appear at the White House gate in the next few days, with Crouch the leading candidate to be Harward’s deputy. Perhaps also Juan Zarate and Mike Singh.
Harward is, like the ousted Michael Flynn, a retired military flag officer. But I think he would be very different from Flynn.
Most importantly, he is not an ideologue, as Flynn seemed to have become in the last few years. Harward thinks of himself as a national security professional — and indeed once served on the NSC staff, during the Bush Administration. Before that, early in the Afghan war, he headed the Special Operations task force in Kandahar.
Harward also would work well with Defense Secretary James Mattis. When Mattis was chief of Central Command, Harward was his deputy. Mattis trusted him enough to put him in charge of planning for war with Iran. Mattis has urged Harward to take the NSA job.
Read more here.