PALM BEACH, Fla. — John Bolton, the new national security adviser to President Trump, is moving quickly to shape his team, naming a top Commerce Department official, Mira R. Ricardel, as his deputy on Friday, the White House announced.
Ricardel previously worked at Boeing and also worked at the Pentagon in the George W. Bush administration, and she ran Trump's transition team at the Defense Department.
Ricardel “has a track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues,” Bolton said in a statement.
Yet some news reports suggested that Ricardel clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over high-level personnel decisions that left key jobs vacant for months. The delay in filling senior positions, as Mattis sought to bring in trusted staff, slowed the department's ability to make decisions and hindered the ability of the Pentagon's civilian staff to shape policy, some officials said.
Mattis's spokesmen denied the reports of friction between them.
Ricardel is now undersecretary for export administration at the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security. During the Bush administration, she worked on issues at the Pentagon related to Russia, Eurasia, NATO, nuclear weapons and arms control.
Since Bolton formally replaced Gen. H.R. McMaster last week several National Security Council staff members have departed, including McMaster's deputy, Nadia Schadlow, and agency spokesman Michael Anton. Bolton accompanied Trump to his two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here at the Mar-a-Lago resort this week.
Bolton has taken over at a crucial time, with a key decision for the Trump White House next month on whether to formally exit the Iran nuclear deal and a potential summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by early June.