December 1st, 2008
05:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Gen. Jim Jones talks about achieving consensus

 Jones was named Obama's pick for national security advisor Monday.

Jones was named Obama's pick for national security advisor Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The new National Security advisor, Gen. Jim Jones, says the challenge he will face in working with high-profile Cabinet members - including the new secretary of state, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - will be to achieve consensus among the disparate members of President-elect Barack Obama's national security team.

In taking the job and in the name of consensus, Jones also had to temper his own opinion on withdrawing from Iraq.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Jones said he needs to ensure the president-elect's vision is achieved.

"At the end of the day, (on) the major issues, he will make the decision and everyone will salute smartly and carry it out," Jones said in a phone interview soon after the official announcement in Chicago of Obama's national security team. "I think the national security advisor can make certain that the president's priorities are clearly understood and articulated and carried out so that we actually arrive to some conclusion that is well understood and well supported."

Jones himself was in disagreement with Obama about the senator's proposal to withdraw troops from
Iraq within 16 months of taking office as president.

In a 2007 hearing, Jones was asked by Arizona Sen. John McCain about a time frame for withdrawal.

"I think deadlines can work against us. And I think a deadline of this magnitude would be against our national interest," Jones said in testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But Jones said that the recent Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government diminished that difference of opinion.

"We have talked about it privately," Jones said. "The new SOFA agreement, as the president-elect explained this morning, gives us a pathway to work in. So I don't know of anything that would put us at odds."

Jones said his role as national security advisor will be to bring together all the different elements of national security so that the president "can make an informed decision based on the input from all elements that should be involved in the decision."

"I do believe that we are looking at a different sort of national security approach. It is much more comprehensive. ... So we are going to have to be more familiar with not just (Defense Department) issues and state issues, but also with outside energy issues and figure out how you coordinate this thing," he said.

"If it takes some articulation, I am certainly happy to do it. But my role, my goal, is to be as supportive as I can and see how that works out."

Jones' decision to once again enter public service came after talking it over with his family over the long holiday weekend.

"I think it is really important to be able to respond in the affirmative if you are asked to serve," he said. "Once I got my family organized and talked about it over Thanksgiving. ... I received their encouragement and support."

- CNN's Adam Levine contributed to this report

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (61 Responses)



    LOOK AT HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!



    December 1, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Peter TX

    i can see clearly now that the rain is gone.......

    December 1, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Lisa, MN

    I like this guy. He served honorably and now he's willing to serve again. Great–we are in good hands.

    December 1, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. gallimimus

    Seems like he has a decent head on his shoulder

    December 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    Semper Fi mate !

    December 1, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. Penny

    Since my husband spent 28 years in the Marine Corps – we really like having a former Commandant advising President-elect Obama.

    December 1, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. silver bells


    December 1, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    I'm proud of the good job Obama is doing. This country is headed in the right direction, only wished some people/posters take those blinders off and post with a pure heart instead of hate.

    December 1, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. This is not what I voted for?.?

    Obama's caving on bringing the troops home anytime soon.
    How many times will it take for us not to trust anything these people say?
    I really think Ron Paul was our best shot. the man truly puts the Constitution before himself. He would have tried to restore a sound money system as well. We blew this one. (again)

    December 1, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Nevada Mom

    This team is really shaping up to be something impressive.

    This is one voter who feels like she's getting just what she hoped for from Obama... an independant thinker who will make pragmatic choices in the leaders he chooses to help him guide this nation.

    December 1, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Christian Sgt USMC

    OORAH SIR! Lead the Marine Corps in tradition of honor courage and commitment by serving as NSA. By abiding and carrying out the orders of your/our Commander-In-Chief. I know and am confident that you will use Marine Corps tact when confronting disagreements and disputes to resolve respectfully. We are all counting on you, don't fail us like Gen. Peter Pace did in regard to tact and respectability.

    December 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. TFJ

    The gold standard? A sound money system? Don't make me laugh.

    The Federal Reserve is far from flawless, but a fiat money system is better in the grand scheme of things than the gold standard.

    December 1, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. gregg

    this has nothing to do with who got what,,, people , its the freakin holidays,, so u cant eat,, dont fat your nutrinist,, my goodness,, a fat chick to take care of another fat chick... and , all the others,, im eatin pintos in a can,,, cold... so stop whining.. obama , your god,, aint gonna save you.l............ genesis 4.3 obama was raised as your god,, he will feed you.. cloth you ,, birth you,, good luckm,,,,,,,,,,,, i like food from the can

    December 1, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Kim J

    I agree about Ron Paul being our best shot.

    December 1, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. Ricky

    So the Republicans keep on complaining but if McCain would of named these exact people they would be lovin it....funny.

    Excellent job President Obama!

    December 1, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |

    General... I for one welcome you aboard... perhaps you were on board befor I was... but it wasn't know to me... I appreciate that you will give to President Obama, after he takes the oath of office ,the very best, candid, and informed advice that you and you staff can accumulate.

    You are a General of the Marine Corp. You have gained and deserved the honor of wearing four stars, you can eclipse your military career
    and the honour you have gained for same by being the best National Security Advisor possible to the Next President of our United Statres.

    Thank you and.. God Speed General...


    December 1, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Always Bet On The Smartest Guy In The Room

    Obama is an Excellent Chief Executive / Manager. This is why we picked the smart guy!

    With this guy, Gen Jones and Rahm Emmauel .... stuff is going to get done ... and it will be the stuff Obama wants done, not what some BIG EGOs might have in mind .... there won't be any "going rogue" with NO DRAMA OBAMA.

    No disrespect intended to Hillary or John McCain but based on how poorly their campaigns were executed, do we REALLY think either of them would be operating this crisply ... or this quickly?

    Mr. President, we've got your back!

    December 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Chad (Gainesville, VA)

    Obama is learning fast that he know everything there is to know. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that is never reported and you have to do what is best based on information that only you know about.

    He has made several decisions (or non decisions) now that are in line with what Bush was doing. He has already swayed away from what he campaigned on towards Bush so much that you realize that anyone elected are just puppets for the real people in charge.

    December 1, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. Paul

    Market made a record drop today, does this mean that wall street is reacting to Obama's choices today?

    December 1, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    Now this is the mark of a leader.... Barack Obama has chosen people who are intelligent, logical, and thoughtful.

    I like this man's attitude about his role in the administrational team. 🙂

    December 1, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    Steve A., I hate to show my ignorance.... but what is this Semper Fi stuff? 🙂 If I am not being rude to ask?

    December 1, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. peakarack

    Bobby Jindal 2012!


    December 1, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. peakarack

    Bobby Jindal 2012!

    December 1, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Proud American

    Get with the program people... the elections are over Obama won. Put the thoughts of Ron Paul and the past to rest. Lets move forward here. Give Obama a chance, so far he gets an A+.

    December 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    A distinguished Marine Corps General advising the President? I like it........I like it a lot. This man will bring the kind of leadership into the White House that it hasn't seen in a very long time. Obama is putting together the best leadership team this country has ever known. Good things are in store for the U.S. in the coming years.........

    December 1, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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