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Obama Adviser Gen. James Jones Resigning

Last Updated 1:25 p.m. ET

After nearly two years as national security adviser, Gen. James Jones is resigning.

President Barack Obama announced Friday that Jones "has decided to step aside" and will be replaced by Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. Mr. Obama praised Jones as a "dedicated public servant and a friend to me," and thanked him for his service.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the president said he has relied every day on Jones' advice and counsel, and that during his tenure Jones reformed the White House national security staff.

"Reflecting the new challenges of our time, he put new emphasis on cyber security, development, and climate change, and made sure that Homeland Security is fully integrated into our efforts," Mr. Obama said.

Jones' resignation will take effect in two weeks.

Jones' successor, Donilon, is a longtime Washington insider with ties to Vice President Joe Biden and the State Department.

Donilon 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.

President Obama praised Jones' successor for his "probing intellect and a remarkable work ethic, although it's one that depends on a seemingly limitless quantity of Diet Coke."

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.

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.

There were also a number of Obama administration officials who expressed their scorn for Jones.

In his latest book, "Obama's War," Bob Woodward writes that Jones privately referred to the president's political aides as "the water bugs," the "Politburo," the "Mafia," or the "campaign set."

Donilon has also been criticized: According to Woodward's book, Donilon is known for "impulsive statements and snap judgments," and was critiqued by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said he thought Donilon would be a "disaster" as National Security Advisor.