Ricky L. Waddell

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Ricky L. Waddell
Lt. Gen. Ricky Waddell.jpg
Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Assumed office
May 2018
LeaderJoseph Dunford
Mark A. Milley
Preceded byPhillip Churn
United States Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
c. 19 May 2017 – 15 May 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byK. T. McFarland
Succeeded byMira Ricardel
Personal details
Born (1959-10-31) 31 October 1959 (age 59)
Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Corpus Christi College, Oxford (BA)
Webster University (MPA)
Columbia University (PhD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1982–present
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
AwardsDefense Superior Service Medal
Bronze Star (with oak leaf cluster)
Meritorious Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster)
Joint Service Commendation Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters)
Army Commendation Medal {(with 2 oak leaf clusters)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal (with oak leaf cluster)
Combat Action Badge
Air Assault Badge

Ricky Lynn Waddell[1] (born 31 October 1959)[2] is a Lieutenant General in the United States Army Reserve who served for a year during 2017–2018 as a Deputy National Security Adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump. Waddell currently serves as the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[3] His promotion to lieutenant general was authorized by the U.S. Senate on 26 September 2019.[4]

Early life[edit]

Waddell attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1982 with a degree of Bachelor of Science.

Military career[edit]

Wadell's official photo for the Southern Command


He became an Engineer Officer with 15th Engineering Battalion, then the 9th Infantry Division as a Platoon Leader and Battalion Maintenance Officer. With Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano (Palmerola) Air Base, Comayagua, Honduras, he served as the JTF Engineer. In the 35th Engineer Battalion, he served as the Commander C Company. He returned to the United States Military Academy as an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences. He subsequently served as Director for European Security Affairs on the National Security Council.

South America[edit]

Waddell spent 17 years working in South America. His roles included:

During this period, he lived for 12 years in Sao Paulo, Brazil.[5]


Waddell ran the Keystone, Capstone, and Pinnacle programs as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C..

U.S. Army Reserve[edit]

Waddell has been an Active Reserve officer, filling the following roles:

Deputy National Security Advisor[edit]

In early May 2017, Waddell was reportedly named as the White House’s Deputy National Security Adviser, following K. T. McFarland, to serve under Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, National Security Adviser.[6][7] Waddell's appointment was blocked, initially, by White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.[8] The announcement was made official on 19 May 2017.[9]

On 12 April 2018, the White House announced that Waddell would leave in the coming weeks.[10] His departure happened shortly after John R. Bolton's appointment as National Security Advisor.[11] Waddell was one of several officials who left at Bolton's request.[12]

Decorations and awards[edit]

U.S. military decorations
Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg
Defense Superior Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with Oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with Oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal with three Oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with two Oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Achievement Medal with Oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal with Oak leaf cluster
U.S. badges, patches and tabs
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
AirAssault.gif Air Assault Badge


Waddell has received the following degrees:[13]


Waddell has written four historical military books, dealing with his Latin America and Army experiences:

  • Wars Then & Now
  • In War's Shadow: Waging Peace in Central America
  • The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
  • In War's Shadow - At the Edge of the Cold War

Waddell has also published various journal articles, including:


  1. ^ "Ricky Lynn Waddell". West Point Association of Graduates. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Mr Rick L. Waddell". publicProfile. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Maj. Gen. Ricky L. Waddell > Joint Chiefs of Staff > Article View". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. ^ "PN937 — Maj. Gen. Ricky L. Waddell — Army". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b On Trump’s Latin America team, LAGG, 25 March 2017 (updated 8 May 2017), accessed 11 May 2017.
  6. ^ Ricky Waddell named White House deputy national security adviser, Tara Palmeri, Politico.com, 10 May 2017.
  7. ^ Army Reserve major general named deputy national security adviser, Charlsy Panzino, ArmyTimes.com, 10 May 2017.
  8. ^ Washington Loves General McMaster, But Trump Doesn't -- The national security adviser has lost sway. The White House says everything's fine., Eli Lake, Bloomberg, 9 May 2017, accessed 11 May 2017.
  9. ^ Newsroom America Feeds (19 May 2017). "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Kathleen Troia ("K.T.") McFarland to be the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore". newsroomamerica.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Trump's Deputy National Security Adviser To Leave White House". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  11. ^ "McMaster's No. 2 to leave White House amid Bolton overhaul". www.politico.com. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  12. ^ Swan, Jonathan (12 April 2018). "Scoop: Ricky Waddell is leaving the White House". Axios. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Major General Ricky Waddell". U.S. Army Reserve. Retrieved 11 May 2017.

External links[edit]