Obama Selects Gen. James Jones for National Security Adviser

Retired Marine General seen as boosting Obama's foreign policy credentials.

ByABC News
November 26, 2008, 5:12 PM

Dec. 1, 2008 — -- The post of National Security Adviser will be the latest in a string of high-profile positions that retired Marine General James L. Jones has served in during and after a distinguished 40-year military career.

Jones, 64, President-elect Barack Obama's latest intelligence pick, comes from a family that has long served in the Marines, beginning in 1938, when his uncle joined the Marine Reserves. Ironically, when his own son, Greg, told Jones he was going to join the Marines, he was hesitant. Jones had seen hundreds of men die and had nearly lost his own life on one bloody night in Vietnam. He did not want to lose his son.

During his four decades in the Marine Corps, Jones rose from a platoon commander in Vietnam to Commandant of the Marine Corps and later served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

Jones is often referred to as a poster boy Marine: 6-foot-4 and lean, with piercing blue eyes, he commands instant respect.

When Jones' son, Lt. Greg Jones, was deployed in Iraq in 2003-04, ABC News asked him if it was hard serving when all the other Marines knew his father was a four-star general. He laughed and said, "No, not really."

But then he recounted how when his father had visited Iraq, he had pulled his son aside.

The younger Jones had put on a bit of weight because of the high-calorie content in the dining facilities. His father had clearly taken note, saying, "Son, they don't promote chubby Marines."

Lt. Jones said he started cutting back on the high-calorie meals the next day.

The younger Jones has since left the Marine Corps. His father said last year that for the first time in 70 years no member of the family is on active duty.

Since retiring last year as a four-star general, he has served as the Bush administration's special envoy for Middle East security and chaired the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, a blue-ribbon panel appointed by Congress that assessed the readiness of Iraqi troops.

He has also served as the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.