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Robert Harward Turns Down Job As National Security Adviser

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (left) walks with Vice Adm. Robert Harward (center), the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, and Col. Kelly Martin, the vice commander of 6th Air Mobility Wing, after landing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., in 2013.
Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
/
DoD
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (left) walks with Vice Adm. Robert Harward (center), the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, and Col. Kelly Martin, the vice commander of 6th Air Mobility Wing, after landing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., in 2013.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down the position of national security adviser to President Trump, a White House official tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

Harward was offered the job after Michael T. Flynn, the former general, resigned Monday after just 24 days on the job. Trump said his confidence in Flynn had eroded after Flynn misled then-Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Robert Harward is 60, and though he is retired from the Navy, he is currently the chief executive for Lockheed Martin operations in the United Arab Emirates.

According to ABC News, Harward turned down the president's offer because of his family.

"I was humbled and honored," Harward told ABC News, but "it takes 24 hours a day of focus ... It's a tough sacrifice."

Harward was the deputy director of the U.S. Central Command under now-Defense Secretary James Mattis during the Obama administration. He served on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. Harward was the deputy commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and led Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 in Afghanistan. He also led troops in Afghanistan and Iraq after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.
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