H.R. McMaster chosen as National Security Advisor

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H.R. McMaster chosen as National Security Advisor

Last night as I was playing a video game my screen popped up with a message from CNN.  Usually this annoys me, and I can't quite firgure out how to turn it off.  But in this case, I was super excited because I've been a fan of McMaster since Tom Clancy's Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment came out back in 1994.  I got to meet General McMaster at a TRADOC conference once where there was an open bar, and to my surprise he actually talked to me for like 30 minutes although I was probably a bit star struck and sounded like a moron.  Someone on Facebook said that "McMaster is to what Army guys what Matthis is to the Marines."  That might be slight hyperbole, but only slight.  He's definitely a warriors' warrior, and isn't a "yes" man.  In fact, most of us were shocked when he got a star because he's known as telling commanders just what he thinks about bad ideas. 

But first, from NYT:

President Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days....

Unlike Mr. Flynn, who served as a campaign adviser last year, General McMaster has no links to Mr. Trump and is not thought of as being as ideological as the man he will replace. A battle-tested veteran of both the Persian Gulf war and the second Iraq war, General McMaster is considered one of the military’s most independent-minded officers, sometimes at a cost to his own career.

In fact, it's widely believed that the only reason he advanced in his career is because of General Petreaus, who allegedly flew back from Iraq just to sit on the promotion board.  According to Wiki:

McMaster was passed over for promotion to Brigadier General in 2006 and 2007, despite his reputation as one of "the most celebrated soldiers of the Iraq War." Though the Army's rationale for whether a given officer is selected or not selected is not made public, McMaster's initial non-selection attracted media attention. However, in late 2007, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren requested General David Petraeus to return from Iraq to take charge of the promotion board as a way to ensure that the best performers in combat received every consideration for advancement, resulting in McMaster's selection along with other Colonels who had been identified as innovative thinkers. McMaster's name was subsequently released on the promotion list for Brigadier General in 2008.

But what's always impressed me about McMaster was what he did as a captain, at the battle of 73 Easting, and if you have time to watch a National Geographic Special, you get to see him interviewed about it:

I read the book when it first came out, and it was after reading it I decided to join the Army, specifically hoping to be a Cav scout (19D) or a TOW gunner (11H) because those guys were the ones racking up the kills in the Gulf War.  That dream was dashed by the eye doctor at MEPS who didn't think I should be in the military at all.  Through some begging and a lot of squinting I finally made it passed the eye doctor (who was VERY begrudging) and enlisted as an Infantryman.  

But either way, McMaster is a stud.  His book on Vietnam takes officers to task for not challenging the civilian leadership when they espouse ridiculous and unattainable military goals, so it will be interesting to see how well that translates to this new position.  (It does NOT require Senate confirmation.)

Eiher way, this guy is the real deal.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.