National Security Adviser Jones Leaves; Sucessor Has Clashed With Military

BY News Desk  October 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM EST

President Obama hosted yet another farewell for a top aide Friday, bidding adieu to National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

The resignation of Jones, a former Marine general, had been anticipated as part of a White House mid-term White House reshuffle, but comes at a time of increasing violence in the Afghan war effort.

Mr. Obama hailed Jones as a “dedicated public servant and a friend to me.” The president turned over the job to Tom Donilon, Jones’ deputy and a workhouse figure in the White House who has a long background of Democratic politics and diplomacy.

In remarks Friday outside the White House, President Obama issued a reminder of the country’s ongoing wars, saying the U.S. remains committed to shaping the 21st century to be a “world of greater peace, growing markets, [and] expanding prosperity” with old allies and new partners.

Just a week after Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel left the White House to run for Chicago mayor, the president said that Jones had planned to leave within two years.

Other high-profile national security and military changes could be in the works as well. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signaled intentions to resign sometime next year. Adm. Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, is also expected to retire, Reuters reported.

Donilon’s appointment elevates “a skeptic of the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan to coordinate a major review of the war,” Reuters reports:

“Those of us who support the war effort maybe should be a wee bit concerned,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

At a Pentagon briefing, Gates tried to play down suggestions of tensions with Donilon, after he was quoted as saying in a new book that he would be a “disaster” as national security adviser.

“I have and have had a very productive and very good working relationship with Tom Donilon, contrary to what you may have read, and I look forward to continue working with him,” he said.