NSA’s McMaster puts stamp on new role at agency

Scarcely two weeks into his new role as national security adviser, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is responding to his predecessor by eliminating two positions at the NSA created by Gen. Michael Flynn.

Forced out by President Donald Trump over contacts with Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kysliak, Flynn’s tenure at the NSA lasted 24 days.

According to several sources with knowledge of Gen. McMaster’s decisions, two positions, both “deputy assistant” posts, have been eliminated and personnel serving in those roles have been reassigned.

“McMaster took a look at them and thought he didn’t need the extra layer.  He wanted to go back to the way it had been prior,” said one White House aide with knowledge of McMaster’s decisions.

The two posts, one with responsibilities over the NSC’s regional desks, and a second position with the task of managing transnational issues, were eliminated.

Dave Cattler, who oversaw regional affairs, returned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Mr. Cattler had previously worked at ODNI under former Director James Clapper.

Similarly, Brad Hansell was returned to the role of NSC’s senior director for transnational threats after his position was eliminated.  Akin to Mr. Cattler, Hansell returns to a role he previously filled during the Obama administration.

Both men are career officials and held in high esteem according to sources familiar with McMaster’s moves to reorganize and streamline NSA bureaucracy.