Washington Week

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6 Things to Know About... Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

By Jenna Goff
Washington Week Fellow

The Trump administration is beginning to take shape, as the president-elect recently filled the most influential national security job in government. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a retired intelligence officer with an extensive background in the military, confirmed on Friday that he will serve as Trump’s national security adviser. Here’s what you need to know about Flynn before he heads to the White House:

1. Flynn is a decorated military intelligence officer. He joined the Army in 1981, later serving as commander of a military intelligence battalion in Afghanistan. He then moved on to become director of Intelligence for the US Central Command, which oversees all American military operations in the Mideast.

2. President Obama appointed Flynn to serve as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012. However, he was forced out of the position in 2014 due to concerns about his leadership style.

3. After leaving the DIA, Flynn founded the Flynn Intel Group, Inc., a consulting group that represents international and US clients. The group recently came under fire for its connections to Russia and Turkey. Flynn spoke at a forum for state broadcaster Russia Today, a noted mouthpiece for Russian president Vladimir Putin, and lobbied for a company with connections to Turkey’s authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

4. Flynn is a registered Democrat. He grew up “in a very strong Democratic family,” but feels that the party is not what it used to be. And while he threw his support behind Trump in February, Flynn has admitted he is “about as centrist as possible.” In an interview in July, he even said he supported a woman’s right to choose, although he flip-flopped the next day, describing himself as a “pro-life Democrat.”

5. Flynn would likely help Trump enforce his anti-Muslim rhetoric; he believes that Islamist militancy poses a real threat to the US. In February, he tweeted a link to a video with the caption: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions…” And as the president-elect’s national security adviser during his campaign, Flynn convinced Trump that the country is in a “world war” with Islamist militants and pushed working with allies in the fight, including Putin.

6. Flynn holds an undergraduate degree in management science from the University of Rhode Island, an MBA and a degree from the US Naval War College. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Lori, for more than 34 years, and has two sons, Michael and Matt.

See how Trump's administration is taking shape: 

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Chief strategist: Stephen Bannon
Chief of staff: Reince Priebus
National Security adviser: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Education secretary: Betsy DeVos
UN ambassador: Nikki Haley
Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao
Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross
Defense secretary: Gen. James Mattis(link is external)
Energy secretary:
Homeland Security secretary:
Housing and Urban Development secretary:
Secretary of state:
Interior secretary:
Treasury secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Veteran Affairs secretary:
EPA administrator: