By: Cory Bilicko
A retired general from Long Beach has been appointed to replace former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned Monday after serving only 24 days in President Donald Trump’s administration.
Retired Army. Lt. Gen. Joseph “Keith” Kellogg Jr. will serve as interim national security advisor until a final replacement is tapped.
However, according to national media reports, Kellogg is on the shortlist to assume that position on a permanent basis. Kellogg was heretofore serving as executive secretary of the National Security Council.
Flynn resigned Monday after reports indicated he had discussed Russia sanctions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite Flynn’s repeated assertion that he had not done so. The retired three-star general, who played a significant role in Trump’s campaign, tendered his resignation, allegedly upon the President’s urging to do so, amid media reports that his talks with Kislyak made him potentially susceptible to blackmail by Russia.
In his Feb. 13 resignation letter, Flynn wrote that, during his transition into Trump’s administration, he had inadvertently briefed then-Vice President Elect Mike Pence and others with incomplete information regarding his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn attributed the indiscretion to “the fast pace of events” during that transition.
“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter. “I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world. As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard-fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.”
Kellogg’s family all have Long Beach ties. His brother, Jeff, served on the Long Beach City Council as 8th-district councilmember from 1988 to 2000 and continues to serve on the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees. His other brother, Mike, is an L.A. County Superior Court Judge, and his sister, Kathie, is a clinical psychologist.
The general served two tours in Vietnam and was commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.
During his military career, he earned the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star and several Bronze Stars. Kellogg later held positions with a number of defense and national security-related firms.
After he retired from the Army in 2003, he was elected to the board of directors of GTSI, a government technology contractor, according to Ballotpedia– The Encyclopedia of American Politics.
GTSI, at that time, provided information technology services to local, state and federal governments around the world. Kellogg also became senior vice president of homeland security solutions for database and technology company Oracle Corp. There, Kellogg’s department was “tasked with addressing the nation’s homeland defense challenges by creating solutions from federal to state and local organizations covering law enforcement and critical infrastructure protection.”
Kellogg took a leave of absence from Oracle Corp. from November 2003 to March 2004 to serve as the COO for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq.
The CPA was the group responsible for forming a new military and rebuilding Iraq after its Saddam Hussein-led army was disbanded subsequent to the 2003 invasion. Following his service with the CPA, Kellogg was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
In January 2005, Kellogg became executive vice president of of research and technology systems for CACI International Inc., an American multinational professional services and information technology company.
In July 2009, Kellogg joined Cubic Defense Applications, Inc., as senior vice president for ground combat programs, leading the company’s ground-combat training business and working to expand its customer base.
In September 2012, Cubic named Kellogg president of Abraxas, a subsidiary company.
National security advisors are senior aides in the President’s executive office in the White House who serve as chief in-house advisors to the President on national-security issues.
They also participate in National Security Council meetings and usually chair Principals Committee meetings with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.
Also on the shortlist to become the permanent national security advisor are former CIA director David Petraeus and retired admiral Robert Harward.