Doug Ollivant wrote for Fortune about Lt. Gen. McMaster’s three big challenges:
It is no secret that the Trump administration sees itself in deep discontinuity with not only the preceding Obama administration, but in many ways with all preceding administrations, particularly on matters of international relations. Senior administration officials such as Steve Bannon and Michael Anton have openly called for a serious, even radical, course correction, and one suspects that the President is a fellow traveler on the general theme, if not all the specifics. In this environment, the counsel of the traditional foreign policy establishment—the “blob,” in the words of Ben Rhodes—is, at best, deeply suspect.
In some ways, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who the President appointment as National Security Adviser following Mike Flynn’s controversial departure, has seen this moment before. Full disclosure, McMaster is my personal friend. In his book, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, (which grew out of his Ph.D. dissertation), McMaster documents an earlier time in which the “New Frontiersman” of the Kennedy (and later Johnson) administration saw the senior Pentagon leadership as hopelessly anachronistic, and therefore denied them any real influence in the decision-making leading up to Vietnam.