Friday, October 8, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust - National Security Advisor Quitting

Man, no one wants to be around the President right now. Rumors of Gibbs quitting, Rahm left, and now this guy.

Fox News: Gen. James Jones is calling it quits as President Obama's national security adviser, Fox News has confirmed. His resignation will be effective in two weeks.

Tom Donilon, the deputy national security adviser, will succeed Jones, Fox News has learned.

President Obama will announce the change on Friday afternoon in Rose Garden ceremony with Jones and Donilon.

While Jones' resignation is not unexpected, he is the latest high-profile official to leave Obama's administration following Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's departure last week.

Last month, Christina Romer stepped down as Obama's top economic adviser and Larry Summers announced he would leave as director of the president's National Economic Council at the end of the year. Budget Director Peter Orszag left the administration in July. Dennis Blair resigned as the nation's intelligence director in May.

More leadership changes are expected as Obama nears the two-year mark of his term and the grueling pace of the White House takes a toll.

Jones, who retired from active duty in February 2007 after more than 40 years of uniformed service, had planned all along to leave the national security adviser's post within two years, said one official.

But K.T. McFarland, who served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, told Fox News that there could be more to Jones' departure than meets the eye after Bob Woodward published a book revealing deep divisions among Obama's national security team.

"I'm wondering if this is the first step we're seeing in some kind of a policy shake up because the news out of Afghanistan has not been good," she said.

Donilon, who was widely considered the front runner to replace Emanuel, will now get a chance to leave a bigger mark on Obama's foreign policy. He will not need Senate confirmation because the position is considered a White House job.

As deputy national security adviser, Donilon has pushed what he calls a "re-balancing" of U.S. foreign policy to rapidly disengage American forces in Iraq and to focus more on China, Iran and other emerging challenges.

In the review of the Afghanistan war, Donilon argued that the U.S. could not engage in what he called an "endless war" and has strongly defended Obama's decision to declare that troops will start leaving Afghanistan next summer.

Donilon has overseen the coordination among deputy chiefs from across the security apparatus and is known for bringing an understanding of domestic policy and politics to the job.

Jones, meanwhile, has kept a generally low public profile. White House aides say he put his stamp on Obama's major foreign policy decisions over the last 20 months, including a reinforced troop presence in Afghanistan, a winding-down of the war in Iraq and a retooled relationship with Russia.

Jones served as the 32nd Marine Corps Commandant from July 1999 to January 2003. After leaving the post, he became the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander of the U.S. European Command, holding the positions until December 2006. Besides combat experience in Vietnam, Jones served tours of duty during Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq and Turkey as well as during operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.

Administration officials said they expect him to go into a semiretirement in which he will likely serve on boards and offer counsel to the White House.

No comments: