Mr Trump has praised Herbert Raymond McMaster as “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience” who is “highly respected by everybody in the military”.
Gen McMaster served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is known as a thoughtful, if straight-talking, military strategist, the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool reports from Washington.
He does not appear to have close ties to Moscow, and was recently commissioned to study the ways the US could counter some of Russia’s military advances, our correspondent adds.
Gen McMaster is no stranger to questioning authority. In a 2014 interview, he said: “The commanders that I’ve worked for, they want frank assessments, they want criticism and feedback.”
Time magazine named him as one of its 100 most influential people in the world in 2014, saying he “might be the 21st Century Army’s pre-eminent warrior-thinker”.
He criticised the US military’s involvement in the Vietnam War in his book Dereliction of Duty.
He has a PhD in US history from the University of North Carolina.
Gen McMaster has said it is “a privilege… to be able to continue serving our nation” and that he looks forward to joining the national security team.
What will his role as national security adviser involve?
The role involves serving as an independent adviser to the president on issues of national security and foreign policy.
It is one of the most senior roles in the US government. Observers say the role’s influence varies from administration to administration, but the adviser is seen as one of the president’s key confidantes.
The adviser attends the National Security Council, and may act as a broker between different government departments.
The role is not subject to US Senate confirmation.