WASHINGTON (CN) – National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones is retiring and Deputy Adviser Tom Donilon will step into his position, President Obama announced in the Rose Garden Friday afternoon.
Obama said Jones was a “steady voice” in the past two years in meetings in the Situation Room and elsewhere as part of planning the end of the combat mission in Iraq, the fight against extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the signing of a new START treaty, toughening sanctions on Iran, and renewing Middle East peace talks. Obama said Jones’ position was “one of the most difficult” in government.
The retired U.S. Marine Corps general served as a Marine in Vietnam, Commandant of the Marine Corps and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe before he was appointed national security adviser by the Obama administration.
Jones will be replaced as head of the presidential security team by his deputy, Donilon, whom Obama called “one of my closest advisers.”
Obama said that over the past two years, there is “not a single critical national security issue that has not crossed Tom’s desk.”
Obama lauded Donilon’s work ethic, joking that “it’s one that depends on a seemingly limitless quantity of Diet Coke.”
Donilon’s wife, Cathy, is Jill Biden’s chief of staff.