Reports has surfaced that Vice Admiral Robert S. “Bob” Harward Jr. a retired United States Navy SEAL and a former Deputy Commander of the United States Central Command and preferred presidential choice to succeed the former national security advisor Gen Michael Flynn has turned down the offer.
According to reports by the financial Times Vice Adm. Harward “is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality,” quoting a person with first hand knowledge of the discussions between the president and Mr Harward.
FT further reports that people familiar with V.Adm Harward’s decision said that he was skeptical to take on the post due to senior national Security Council staffers that the previous national security advisor have chosen were asked to remain.
Having Vice Admiral Harward serve as the national security advisor would had given much needed stability to the newly elected administration as it has been facing several hurdles ever since president Trump was inaugurated as president.
Vice Admiral Harward is highly respected within the military community and the Defense industry having previously served in key positions within the national Security Council as well as rising to the post of deputy commander at Central Command, which primary area of responsibility is the Middle East and north Africa, with the current Defense Secretary retired general Mattis being his immediate superior.
Who is Vice Admiral Harward?
Harward reported to Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport with follow-on orders to the USS Scott (DDG-995). After completion of a South American deployment in support of Unitas XXIV, he was ordered to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) where he graduated as the honor man of Class 128.
As a Navy SEAL officer Harward was platoon commander of SEAL Team 3, an assault team leader and operations officer at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the executive officer of Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 and then the commanding officer SEAL Team 3. Harward was later appointed Naval Special Warfare task group commander for Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait, Joint Special Operations task force commander for Operation Rugged Nautilus and deputy commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in support of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia.
Harward assumed command of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 in August 2001 and deployed shortly after September 11, 2001, to Afghanistan. He commanded Task Force K-Bar and directed special reconnaissance and direct action missions throughout the country. In October 2002, Harward deployed as Commander, Task Force 561 where he commanded Naval Special Warfare Task Group Central in Iraq. His forces included all the assets in the Naval Special Warfare inventory as well as forces from the Polish GROM, the United Kingdom Royal Marines and the Kuwaiti Navy.
Harward reported to the Executive Office of the President at the White House in August 2003. He served on the National Security Council staff as the director of Strategy and Defense Issues. In April 2005, Harward was assigned to the newly formed National Counterterrorism Center in Washington, as the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff representative to the Senior Interagency Strategy Team.
From June 2006 to July 2008, Harward served as the Deputy Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and has served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. On November 3, 2008, Harward assumed the position of Deputy Commander, United States Joint Forces Command.
In 2011, Harward was reappointed to the rank of Vice Admiral and assigned to the position of Deputy Commander, United States Central Command.In October 2013, he was replaced by VADM Mark I. Fox.
On August 19, 2013 Harward was presented the Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award by the U.S. Naval War College. Established in 1996 by the NWC Foundation, the award honors NWC graduates who have attained positions of prominence in the field of national security.
In January 2014, he became the Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin United Arab Emirates.