General James L. Jones, Jr.
Executive Chairman Emeritus, Atlantic Council Board of Directors
Chairman, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
TopicsInternational Security, NATO and its Partners, US Energy Policy
RegionsEurope, United States
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December 14, 2018The Atlantic Council’s outgoing interim chairman, retired US Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., implored policymakers and citizens to embrace the need for change in a rapidly transitioning world. “You rise and fall based on your ability to change…
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Jones graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and was commissioned into the Marine Corps in January 1967. He served in Vietnam, serving as rifle platoon and company commander. On returning to the US, he pursued a career in the Marines, attending the Amphibious Warfare School in 1973 and the National War College in 1985, and serving as Marine Corps liaison officer to the US Senate. He was also commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Northern Iraq and Turkey on Operation Provide Comfort; chief of staff, Joint Task Force Provide Promise, for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia; and commanding general, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic. He also served as military assistant to the secretary of defense from 1997 to 1999. He became the 32nd commandant of the United States Marine Corps in July 1999.
During his NATO assignment from 2003 to 2006, he advocated energy security and the defense of critical infrastructures as a core part of NATO's future missions. With the Chamber, Jones worked to unite energy consumers and producers for a common goal - to increase the variety of the US energy supply and associated infrastructures, to advance international cooperation on energy issues, to protect national energy security, and to promote better understanding of changes to the global climate and its effects on the environment.
Upon retirement in February 2007, the combat veteran became the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy and, in 2008, served as the State Department's Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security. From 2009 until 2010, he served as President Obama's national security advisor at the White House.
Upon Jones' retirement, President Obama said, "Jim has always been a steady voice in Situation Room sessions, daily briefings and with meetings with foreign leaders...the American people owe the general a debt for making the nation safer."