Trump’s administration picked former navy Seal, Robert Harward, to replace Michael Flynn, who was asked to resign after an alleged clandestine connection between the national security adviser and Russian ambassador to the US surfaced out. But Robert Harward, who has garnered high marks for his agile management skills, turned down the offer to replace Michael Flynn as the new national security adviser to the president.
Why did Robert Harward deny the offer?
The US national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after intelligence leaks started surfacing out that claimed that he had secretly discussed sanctions of the government with the Russian ambassador to Washington by misleading Vice President Mike Pence and trying to brush conversations under the carpet.
However, Harward’s denial of the offer to replace Flynn, as cited by Harward himself, is attributed to financial and family reasons. He says that although the Trump administration has been both professionally and personally accommodating, his denial of the offer is purely a personal issue.
According to two sources who are closely familiar with his decision, Harward wanted to bring his own team that put him at odds with the president. Harward put forward a few conditions, which need to be fulfilled before he accepted the offer. He wanted a clear command chain with direct reporting to the president and the restoration of the National Security Council’s structure.
The White House couldn’t provide enough assurances to Harward that such autonomy would be granted to him. Despite opportunities to negotiate, Harward decided to stick to his decision after seeing the president’s press conference on Thursday.
Harward’s denial: Good or bad?
Former officials who worked with Robert Harward praised his amicable temperament, lack of discernible ideology, and bureaucratic competence that set him apart from Michael Flynn. They said that Harward would have restored the dominion of the National Security Council (NSC), which is the traditional forum between foreign and security policy-making agencies. The NSC faced constant challenges from competing bodies under the leadership of Flynn.
In fact, both Mattis and Harward come from the same school of thought that considered Iran as a significant threat to national security. But Harward was ideologically less fervent when it comes to Iran, where he spent most of his youth in pre-revolutionary Iran after his father, a navy office, was stationed there. David Patraeus and Keith Kellogg are two other names floating for the position. However, his denial’s effects on the NSC are unknown until the strategies of the next in-coming official shape up.