Ogden native and retired Air Force general Brent Scowcroft was selected by President-elect George Bush on Wednesday to be his national security adviser - the same job he held in the Ford administration.
Scowcroft, 63, who was praised for his moderate views on foreign and military affairs, is widely respected by both Democrats and Republicans for his pragmatism and expertise.Bush told a press conference that he has "extraordinary confidence" in Scowcroft. He described him as "a trusted friend" who "understands the White House, the way (Capitol) Hill works and the community as well."
Bush said, "Because of his tremendous experience, obviously he will convey to me, unvarnished, his own view on policy matters of tremendous importance."
He added that the "national security adviser has to have access, day and night. I will be one who takes a keen interest these matters. I have a lot of ideas; they need to be tempered by his experience and judgment."
Scowcroft said he agrees with Bush that "the future holds for the United States tremendous challenges and also opportunities. I'm looking forward to helping him cope successfully with the challenges and to take full advantage of the opportunities."
Scowcroft will return to a much-changed National Security Council, which was reformed after the Iran-Contra scandal. He was part of a three-man presidential commission _ along with former Sens. John Tower and Edmund Muskie _ that proposed some of those changes after investigating the Iran-Contra affair.
He said about the reforms, "I am very pleased. I think that Gen. (Colin) Powell and Secretary (Frank) Carlucci before him have left the NSC staff in really excellent condition, and it will be a joy to assume responsibility for the system the way it is operating now."
Mary Jane Collipriest, a press secretary for Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, said the senator has worked with Scowcroft on numerous issues through the years _ including Scowcroft's research on the SALT 2 agreement and his report on intercontinental ballistic missile modernization.
"Sen. Garn has great respect and enormous confidence in him," she said. Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, said upon hearing of Scowcroft's appointment, "I'm absolutely delighted. I've known him for years. I admire him greatly, and feel he is very competent."
Scowcroft rose to national prominence in the Ford administration, and later served on President Jimmy Carter's arms control and advisory committee. His experience in arms control prompted Scowcroft to criticize President Reagan's approach to arms control as "flawed and unrealizable."
In 1987, Scowcroft also voiced disagreement over the U.S.-Soviet agreement to ban intermediate-range nuclear weapons. "It does very little for us, and potentially is harmful, harmful in a way that's difficult to measure," he said at the time.
Bush was asked about Scowcroft's reputation for caution in dealing with the Soviets.
"Do I share the caution he has sometimes signaled? The answer is yes," Bush said. "That doesn't mean there won't be forward progress."
Most recently, Scowcroft served on the Tower Commission, a blue-ribbon committee that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal. The Iran-Contra scandal could have more far-reaching ramifications than the Watergate scandal, he said.
Scowcroft has a reputation as a hard worker who arrives at work before others and remains at work long after the others have gone home.
Scowcroft first joined the White House in February 1972 as a military adviser to President Richard Nixon. A year later, Scowcroft, then a colonel, replaced Alexander Haig as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs and as deputy to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Kissinger's role as head of the National Security Council.
Scowcroft was appointed by Gerald Ford as national security adviser in 1975 _ at the same time Bush was appointed to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Nixon promoted Scowcroft to brigadier general in 1972 and to major general in 1973. A month after Ford moved into the White House, Scowcroft was promoted to lieutenant general.
Scowcroft earned master's and doctoral degrees in international relations from Columbia University.
He attended West Point, graduating in 1947. He then trained as an Air Force pilot, but that pursuit was cut short when his plane crashed. Scowcroft was hospitalized for two years with a broken back and head injuries. It was during his hospital stay that he met Marian Horner, an Army nurse who later became his wife.
The Scowcrofts have a daughter.