jones james Obama Adviser Gen. James Jones Resigning

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Gen. James Jones is resigning as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, CBS News has confirmed.  CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports that Jones’ successor will be deputy national security adviser Thomas Donilon.

Mr. Obama will announce the change in a Rose Garden ceremony on Friday with both men.

Jones’ resignation will take effect in two weeks.

The move, though expected, is the latest high-profile departure among Mr. Obama’s leadership team.

Jones is the fourth high-level White House aide to resign, says CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller. He follows Office of Management & Budget director Peter Orszag; Dr. Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel – and Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House National Economic Council, is soon to follow.

Jones, a retired Marine four-star general, was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command (2003-2006), and was special envoy for Middle East Security. Jones was a critic of the Bush administration’s execution of the war in Afghanistan.

White House aides say Jones put his stamp on Obama’s major foreign policy decisions over the last 20 months, included a beefed-up troop presence in Afghanistan, a winding down of the war in Iraq and a retooled relationship with Russia.

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.

The decision on Jones’ replacement may raise eyebrows. Donilon (a longtime Washington insider with ties to Vice President Joe Biden and the State Department) has played a leading role in the policymaking process that tees up the national security decisions for the president. He 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.

He has also been criticized: According to the new book by Bob Woodward, Donilon is known for his “impulsive statements and snap judgments.” In “Obama’s Wars,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he thought Donilon would be a “disaster” as National Security Advisor.

Yet there were also a number of Obama administration officials who expressed their scorn for Jones. Woodward writes that Jones privately referred to the president’s political aides as “the water bugs,” the “Politburo,” the “Mafia,” or the “campaign set.”

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 United States European Command, holding the positions until December 2006. Besides his 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.

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.

© MMX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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