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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Bolton appoints Ricardel deputy national security adviser

Mira Ricardel has reportedly clashed with Defence Secretary James Mattis in the past

National Security Adviser John Bolton arrives for a press conference. Joe Skipper / Reuters
National Security Adviser John Bolton arrives for a press conference. Joe Skipper / Reuters

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has picked Mira Ricardel, a US government official who served in three Republican administrations, as his deputy.

The White House announced the news Friday saying Ms Ricardel will join the National Security Council senior staff as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser”.

Ms Ricardel served in the Ronald Reagan administration (1986-1989) as deputy director for congressional affairs in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the State Department.

She also worked in the George W Bush administration as deputy assistant secretary of defence for Eurasia and acting assistant of defence for international security affairs. Later, Ms Ricardel moved to the private sector where she worked as vice president of Boeing for nine years.

She returned to the government after Donald Trump assumed office in 2017, working as under secretary of commerce for export administration since last August.

Mr Bolton praised her broad-based expertise.

“I look forward to her joining our team and working together to ensure President Trump’s foreign policy agenda is executed” he said.

The National has learned Mr Bolton is expected to make more staff changes at the National Security Council, including positions that deal with the Middle East.

The appointment could set up Mr Bolton for a new clash with US Defence Secretary James Mattis, however. Last year, Ms Ricardel as a member of Mr Trump’s transitional team reportedly try to block some of Mr Mattis’ appointments at the Defence Department.

Defense News reported last Spring that “sources who support Mr Mattis have grown increasingly vocal about frustrations with Ms Ricardel.”

One US official told the newspaper that the two have directly clashed over nominees such as former senior diplomat Anne Patterson, whom Mr Mattis wanted to appoint as his undersecretary for policy. He later withdrew her nomination under pressure from the White House.

The appointment could add to an already tumultuous relation between Mr Trump's national security adviser and his defence chief. During the White House meetings on Syria last week, Mr Bolton and Mr Mattis disagreed about the appropriate military response against Bashar Al Assad's regime. Mr Mattis advocated a limited restrained action, while Mr Bolton, according to the Wall Street Journal, wanted a harder hit.

Ms Ricardel will be succeeding Nadia Schadlow.