Former defense exec tapped as new national security adviser

A former Reagan administration official and defense executive has been tapped to serve as deputy national security adviser.

Charles Kupperman, a former Boeing and Lockheed Martin executive, is now national security adviser John Bolton’s right-hand man. National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis confirmed to CNN that Kupperman is on the job, but declined to say when he officially started in the role.

“Charlie Kupperman has been an advisor to me for more than thirty years, including during my tenure as National Security Advisor to President Trump,” Bolton said in a statement. “Charlie’s extensive expertise in defense, arms control and aerospace will help further President Trump’s national security agenda.”

Kupperman’s appointment comes just under two months after Bolton’s first deputy, Mira Ricardel, was pushed out of her post following a spat with first lady Melania Trump’s office and an unusually public rebuke from the first lady.

He is just the latest former defense executive to be elevated in the Trump administration. Since Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in protest over President Donald Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw troops from Syria, his deputy Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, has served as acting defense secretary.

Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton’s, joins the administration as Trump is confronting a series of foreign policy issues, including his controversial withdrawal of troops from Syria, which his top foreign policy advisers opposed.

Even as Trump is indulging his non-interventionist instincts in the Middle East with his plans to pullout of Syria and withdraw some troops from Afghanistan — in spite of Bolton and other aides’ opposition — the President’s newest deputy national security adviser is firmly in the mold of more traditional GOP hawks like Bolton.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Kupperman’s hire earlier Friday.

Kupperman, a longtime Bolton associate, served in several positions in the Reagan administration and subsequently served as a space operations executive at Lockheed Martin and in Boeing’s missile defense sector.