WASHINGTON – Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and incoming White House national security advisor, said America “must and will remain a superpower” under the Trump administration.
“Alliances are one of the great tools that we have and the strength of those alliances magnify our own strengths. One of those strengths is the unapologetic defense of liberty. This is the core element of American exceptionalism and why America must and will remain a superpower,” Flynn said during a speech at the United States Institute of Peace last week.
“America might have its ups and downs, but the assumption has long been that American power would always be there, reliable, strong, present and ready. We have always been the indispensable nation and we always will be,” he added.
To help the U.S. remain an “indispensable” nation, Flynn said he would work to lay out a “long-term” national security strategy and establish the “right processes to review assumptions to determine the validity and meaning that forms our strategy.” He also said there must be a way to measure whether or not the adopted strategy is working along the way, coupled with being “honest and accountable to ourselves.”
“Whether we like it or not, the world needs us and in fact demands it. What has changed is the nature and character of America’s enemies and the new and dangerous technical environment in which they operate – that’s why we are committed to having the National Security Council continue to serve as the fulcrum of national security and national security decision-making in the most effective way possible,” he said.
Flynn also outlined of the specific functions of the National Security Council.
“We will advise the president on national security issues. We will formulate national security policy in coordination with the interagency processes,” he said. “We will monitor how policy is carried out and we will also ensure that the president is property prepared and staffed for the many national security events we are likely to encounter.”
Calling the national security advisor position an “awesome responsibility,” Flynn added that he would help Trump work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle “despite the difficulties that we will face.”
White House National Security Advisor Rice ceremonially “passed the baton” to Flynn after delivering a speech at the USIP.
Rice said she is “extremely proud” of the professional manner in which the transition has been conducted.
She called for the U.S. to protect itself while maintaining the “international order” it helped build.
Rice said it is “no secret” the Obama administration has “profound disagreements” with the incoming administration but pledged to make herself available to Flynn for advice.
“We are all patriots first and foremost. Threats to our security and democracy should be above partisanship,” she said.
Rice mentioned a handwritten letter that former President George H.W. Bush wrote to incoming President Clinton that said, “Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.”
“General Flynn, I am rooting hard for you,” Rice said.