Retired Army Colonel Michael Bell has been promoted to the top Middle East adviser on the National Security Council, two White House officials said.
Bell, who was most recently the NSC director of Persian Gulf affairs, is now the senior director for the Near East.
He succeeds Derek Harvey, who was dismissed last week by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, as the three-star Army general continues to overhaul an NSC he inherited from his predecessor, Michael Flynn.
Bell had stepped in to temporarily fill Harvey’s role until a replacement could be found. But he has now been tapped for the job on a permanent basis, one of the White House officials confirmed.
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Bell was the chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. During his Army career, Bell served in the Middle East, Europe and on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. He is a 1983 graduate of West Point.