Acting U.S. National Security Advisor Retired General Keith Kellogg arrives for a joint news conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg is on President Donald Trump’s short list to take over as national security advisor, the president said in a tweet Friday.
Kellogg, a career Army officer, stepped in as acting national security advisor after retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn resigned in disgrace Monday. Trump offered the national security advisor role to retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward Monday, but the former Navy SEAL subsequently turned down the offer Thursday.
“General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA — as are three others,” said Trump.
General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA – as are three others.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
The president did not name the other three alternatives, however, there is some speculation that retired Army Gen. and former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus, retired Marine Corps Gen. and former national security advisor Jim Jones, and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander may be on the list.
Petraeus reportedly increased his lobbying efforts for the job after Harward turned down Trump’s offer. Petraeus has an impressive resume, but he is technically still under probation after he was caught lying to federal officials regarding his disclosure of classified information to his mistress. Regardless, Trump has an affinity for the former general and once considered him for the secretary of state position.
Jones served as former President Barack Obama’s national security advisor for just under two years. He spent 40 years in the Marine Corps, including posts as Marine Corps commandant and Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.
Alexander, the former long-time head of the National Security Agency, has significant expertise in intelligence and cyber warfare issues. Trump consistently reiterated the need to improve U.S. cyber capabilities during his campaign.
Kellogg, like the other nominees, had an impressive military career, and was an integral figure in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Trump put Kellogg in charge of defense issues for his transition team after winning the presidency in November. The fact that Kellogg is essentially already fulfilling the duties of the national security advisor may give him an advantage.
“Just to keep clear — it’s not vacant,” said White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Fox & Friends Friday. “Kellogg is doing the job, and he’s an extraordinary man.”
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