WASHINGTON — The White House has announced Mira Ricardel will be the new deputy national security advisor.
Ricardel, a former Bush era defense official who also worked for Boeing, has been serving as undersecretary of commerce for export administration, where she had a hand in crafting the administration’s new weapon export policies.
Last year, Defense News reported on tensions between Ricardel and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis over personnel. At the time, Ricardel was working in the Office of Presidential Personnel, handling nominations for the Pentagon. Sources said Mattis felt Ricardel was unnecessarily blocking nominees at a time when the Department had not filled a single Senate-comfortable spot.
Ricardel spent the first two years of the Bush administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Eurasia before spending two more years as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
She then left for industry, primarily for a nine-year stint at Boeing, including seven years as vice president of business development for strategic missile and defense systems and two as vice president for international business development related to network and space systems; she becomes yet another high-profile defense official with ties to industry.
Ricardel is the third woman to serve as deputy at the NSC under President Donald Trump. Dina Powell resigned from the deputy role in January and was replaced by Nadia Schadlow, an NSC official who was heavily involved in writing the National Security Strategy. However, Schadlow resigned last week after meeting with new National Security Advisor John Bolton, whose arrival has coincided with a number of individuals leaving the NSC.
While some will say the pick could be seen as setting up a confrontation between Bolton and Mattis, Arnold Punaro, a retired U.S. Marine general and former staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee who worked with Ricardel in the past, praised the choice.
“I am confident she will run the deputies committee with shrewdness and dexterity,” he said.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.