Precedent for the Service of Active Duty Three-Star Generals and Flag Officers as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs [March 2, 2017] [open pdf - 262KB]
"On February 20, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the appointment of U.S. Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond 'H.R.' McMaster, Jr. to serve as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Trump Administration further indicated that Lieutenant General McMaster would remain on active duty status following his assumption of the duties of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs-a position that is also frequently referred to by the title of National Security Advisor. U.S. Presidents have acted in three previous instances to designate three-star active duty U.S. military flag and general officers as the National Security Advisor: U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft in 1975; U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John M. Poindexter in 1985; and U.S. Army Lieutenant General Colin L. Powell in 1987. While Scowcroft retired from active duty military service shortly after his designation as National Security Advisor by President Gerald Ford, Poindexter and Powell remained in their grades as three-star military officers while serving as the National Security Advisor, choices which mandated the involvement of the U.S. Senate. This memorandum proceeds in the following manner. It first explains the National Security Council, the policymaking processes it oversees, and the role of the National Security Advisor within the Executive Branch. It then explores these prior precedents of active duty three-star generals and flag officers serving as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and includes discussions of related statutory provisions."
CRS Memorandum, March 2, 2017
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html