Obama Praises Jones’ Tenure as National Security Advisor

WASHINGTON — Retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones is step­ping down as Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor and will be replaced by his deputy Tom Donilon, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma announced at the White House today.

Oba­ma praised Jones for his patri­o­tism, intel­lect and steadi­ness.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple owe Jim and his fam­i­ly an unbe­liev­able debt of grat­i­tude for a life­time of ser­vice,” Oba­ma told reporters gath­ered in the Rose Gar­den for the announce­ment. “As a Marine in Viet­nam, he risked his life for our coun­try and was high­ly dec­o­rat­ed for his courage.”

Jones served as the com­man­dant of the Marine Corps, then as Supreme Allied Commander—Europe — the first Marine to hold that office. Oba­ma said Jones drew on all of his mil­i­tary expe­ri­ences in his White House job.

“We have with­drawn 100,000 troops and end­ed our com­bat mis­sion in Iraq,” Oba­ma said. “We’re refo­cused on the war on al-Qai­da and sub­ject­ed its lead­er­ship to relent­less pres­sure.” Jones helped to for­mu­late a new strat­e­gy that pro­vides the resources need­ed in the fight against extrem­ism in Afghanistan and Pak­istan, the pres­i­dent said. Jones also was instru­men­tal in re-set­ting U.S. rela­tions with Rus­sia and nego­ti­at­ing tough new sanc­tions against Iran for its nuclear pro­gram, Oba­ma said.

Mean­while, Amer­i­ca has some chal­lenges ahead, he said.

“We remain a nation at war,” the pres­i­dent said. “And we will not rest in our efforts to dis­rupt, dis­man­tle and defeat al-Qai­da.

“Above all,” he con­tin­ued, “we are com­mit­ted to forg­ing the kind of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship that can shape the world in the 21st cen­tu­ry, just as we shaped the world in the 20th –- a world of greater peace, a world of grow­ing mar­kets and expand­ing pros­per­i­ty, a world of shared secu­ri­ty, a world where Amer­i­can lead­er­ship enlists the sup­port of old allies and new part­ners while advanc­ing the val­ues that help keep us safe and make Amer­i­ca a bea­con to the world.”

Dur­ing his remarks Jones salut­ed the efforts and sac­ri­fices of U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers and their fam­i­lies.

“We think of our troops, our men and women in uni­form and their fam­i­lies, and the incred­i­ble sac­ri­fice and exam­ple they set for us every day around the world,” he said. “They are the future of our coun­try. They are the future lead­ers; they are the future entre­pre­neurs; they are the future sci­en­tists. And they will car­ry us into the 21st cen­tu­ry.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden also praised Jones in a state­ment released today.

“I am grate­ful to Jim Jones for his ser­vice to this admin­is­tra­tion — and to our nation,” Biden said. “In a time of extra­or­di­nary chal­lenge and change, he led our nation­al secu­ri­ty team with a steady hand, sound judg­ment and gen­uine decen­cy. Jim nev­er sought the posi­tion he is leav­ing; instead he answered once again the call to ser­vice. Like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, I am thank­ful that he did.”

The vice pres­i­dent also voiced his sup­port for Jones’ suc­ces­sor.

“Tom Donilon has been my friend and advi­sor for near­ly 25 years,” Biden said. “These past two years, he has been at the heart of our for­eign and nation­al secu­ri­ty poli­cies. He brings to his new respon­si­bil­i­ties a remark­able depth of knowl­edge about the chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties our coun­try faces around the world. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and I are for­tu­nate to be able to rely on his coun­sel and lead­er­ship.”

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanked Jones for his ser­vice and lead­er­ship. He said Jones was always acces­si­ble for con­sul­ta­tions.

“On a per­son­al lev­el, I know I have ben­e­fit­ted great­ly from his wis­dom, expe­ri­ence and men­tor­ship -– espe­cial­ly as we have labored togeth­er to pros­e­cute two wars and meet a host of secu­ri­ty com­mit­ments around the world,” Mullen said. “I am proud to call him a friend.”

Mullen wished Donilon well, say­ing he is a known and respect­ed nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cial.

“I have enjoyed work­ing with him these past two years, found him equal­ly ded­i­cat­ed to our nation­al secu­ri­ty, and look for­ward to an even clos­er rela­tion­ship mov­ing for­ward,” the chair­man said. “He will con­tin­ue to have my com­plete sup­port and that of the Chiefs.”

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said he thor­ough­ly enjoyed work­ing with Jones.

“And I have, and have had, a very pro­duc­tive and very good work­ing rela­tion­ship with Tom Donilon,” Gates added, not­ing that he looks for­ward to work­ing with Donilon in the future.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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