May 8th, 2009
09:04 AM ET

Family ahead of career for National Security Chief

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Greg Clary

Many of us suffer from working long hours away from our families, but National Security Adviser James Jones says he wants to try and make sure that doesn't happen as much to his employees.

"I am very much intent on getting the right number of people working on the National Security Council so that we don't operate in a crisis mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Jones said, "and we recognize that there are moments in our lives that are irreplaceable and if you miss them, you just don't get them back."

The sixty-five-year-old former Marine says being one of the oldest people working in the West Wing of the White House has given him "the benefit of looking back on the years" and learning from mistakes.

"When I was a gung-ho Major and a gung-ho Lieutenant Colonel, I did sacrifice my family for the career and I see these great young men and women who are 20 years younger than I am doing the same kinds of things that I did at their age," Jones said.

Jones spoke at the Military Spouse of the Year event in Washington, D.C. where he says maintaining military families and families in general is critical for the "defense of our society" and national security as a whole.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jim Jones • Raw Politics
December 1st, 2008
08:53 PM ET

Jim Jones and Barack Obama have more in common than meets the eye

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Jamie McIntyre | BIO
Senior Pentagon Correspondent

Probably the biggest unknown factor in the president-elect Barack Obama's national security team is the retired four-star general tapped to be national security advisor: former Supreme NATO commander and Marine Corps Commandant Jim Jones. CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre has known Jones for years, traveled with him around the world, and offers his inside take on how Jones is likely to carry out his challenging new assignment.

One stark difference between the President-elect and his new National Security Advisor: unlike Barack Obama, Jim Jones is not a dynamic public speaker.

He stops and starts a lot in his sentences, and he’s not given to emotional or rhetorical flourishes.

It makes it easy to underestimate him.

But Barack Obama sees the qualities in Jones that served him well in his stellar 40-year career in the U.S. Marines.

As the former Marine Corps Commandant and Supreme Allied Commander, Jones combines experience as a military commander with demonstrated diplomatic skills.

I first met Jones back in 1997, when he was three-star military assistant to then Defense Secretary William Cohen.

The job had traditionally been held by a one-star general who would serve as a glorified aide to the defense chief.

But Cohen, who had known Jones since he was a young major serving as a legislative liaison on Capitol Hill, wanted someone with more juice to cut through the Pentagon bureaucracy.

“Jones knew where all the bodies were buried, and made sure mine wasn’t one of them,” Cohen told me recently.

As National Security Advisor, Jones’ role is to get the rest of the team to work out differences and minimize the number of problems the president personally has to solve.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Jamie McIntyre • Jim Jones • Raw Politics