President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped an aide to former President George W. Bush as a top adviser on homeland security issues.
Thomas Bossert was appointed assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism — a role that Trump has elevated in rank to reflect his “unwavering commitment . . . to the safety and security of the nation, its people and territory,” the transition team said.
Bossert will work independently of and alongside the incoming national security adviser, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Those responsibilities in President Barack Obama’s White House are handled by a deputy national security adviser.
Trump is rounding out his administration, including appointing senior staffers. He is expected to name his picks for the remaining positions in his Cabinet — secretaries of the departments of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture — in the coming weeks.
The president-elect also confirmed Tuesday that Jason Greenblatt, a longtime Trump Organization attorney and executive, will be special representative for international negotiations.
Trump said Greenblatt will assist in all types of international deliberations, including trade deals.
Greenblatt, who advised the campaign on U.S.-Israeli relations, is executive vice president and chief legal officer at the Trump Organization.
As assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, Bossert’s focus will include cybersecurity, an area under increased scrutiny amid bipartisan calls to investigate alleged computer hacking by Russian officials.
“We must work toward cyber doctrine that reflects the wisdom of free markets, private competition and the important but limited role of government in establishing and enforcing the rule of law,” Bossert said in a statement distributed by the transition. He also said the internet should reflect U.S. values as a “U.S. invention.”
Bossert was deputy homeland security adviser in the Bush administration. He runs a security consulting business.
Trump said in a statement that Bossert will be an “invaluable asset” to senior White House staff.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said Bossert will deal more exclusively with homeland security and counterterrorism than the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who also oversees the response to natural disasters and other events.
“They’re in the White House, they’re with the president every day, they have direct access,” King said in an interview. “When you call that homeland security adviser, if what you’re saying is important enough, the president is going to hear it right away.”