After the dramatic resignation of its national security adviser (and the explosive scandal that precipitated it), the White House badly needs a more low-key and much less controversial replacement. And Vice Admiral Robert Harward, who is reportedly President Donald Trump's new pick for the position but who has not yet accepted the job offer, certainly fits that description, and would also bring a career's worth of military experience to the task. Harward is a former Navy SEAL who has previously held key positions commanding troops in the Middle East, advising on national security, and leading counterterrorism efforts.
Now 60 years old, Harward retired from the military in 2013 — and you've probably never heard of him. As national political reporter Robert Costas wrote for The Washington Post, he "had a high profile in security circles but a low public profile," during the time he served. This makes him the perfect antithesis to his successor, Michael Flynn. Flynn — who famously led calls for Trump's then-opponent, Hillary Clinton, to be incarcerated for allegedly mishandling classified information — resigned from his post late on Monday amid revelations that he had not provided adequate information to Vice President Mike Pence about alleged discussions with a Russian ambassador in December, regarding sanctions.
Harward, on the other hand, shows no indication that he would be involved in such scandals. As Costas wrote, he "is seen by key players around Trump as a steady pick for the post following the tumult that surrounded Flynn." Essentially, Harward is widely expected to bring all professionalism and no BS to the position he's been offered — if he opts to accept it. And he's truly respected across the aisle: When news broke Tuesday that he had emerged as the frontrunner to replace Flynn, Tommy Vietour, who was the National Security Council spokesman under President Obama, tweeted "Vice Adm Harward is a very impressive (and nice) guy." And current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, under whom Harward has worked, once referred to him in an email as "brilliant (for a SEAL, smile)," Vox reported.
But what accomplishments have earned him such confidence and esteem? According to ABC News, he's the former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, a position he occupied under Mattis. He spent a total of six years commanding troops in Iraq and Afghanistan post-9/11. He was also a member of the National Security Council when President George W. Bush was in office. Now, he is the CEO of Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates, where one of the projects he's overseeing is focused on helping the country establish its own space program.
And his extensive military experience has made him a strong advocate for women's education around the world, as he helped open schools in provinces throughout Afghanistan. On International Day of the Girl in 2013, he published a Huffington Post op-ed explaining why it's so important that girls and women have the opportunity to recognize their educational potential:
When a girl's community invests in her, she is more likely to use her education to bring her community along with her. It's a proven investment: educated women marry later, raise healthier and smaller families, and are two times more likely to send their children to school. A girl who stays in secondary school for just one additional year can earn up to 25 percent more income as an adult, giving her the power to lift her family, her community and her country.
Harward's experience and dedication seem to be exactly what this faltering presidential administration needs — and he's the non-partisan pick the country could use right now.