In Transition

Candidates for Obama's National Security Adviser

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gen. James L. Jones

Current job: President and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy

Credentials: Forty years of active duty in the Marine Corps; supreme allied commander in Europe, 2003-2007; former commandant of the Marine Corps; senior aide to former defense secretary William S. Cohen.

What he offers: Jones, 64, has a lifetime of military service and in the private sector serves as an adviser on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2007, he advised Congress about the readiness of the Iraqi security forces. He was named as a special envoy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Palestinian and Israeli security issues.

Quote: "Make no mistake, the international community is not winning in Afghanistan. Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak, with regional and global impact."

Susan E. Rice

Current job: Member of Obama's transition advisory board.

Credentials: Senior foreign policy adviser in Obama's campaign; senior national security adviser for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004; assistant secretary of state for African affairs, 1997-2001; special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, 1995-1997; director for international organizations and peacekeeping at the National Security Council, 1993-1995.

What she offers: Rice, 44, has eight years of experience in the White House and the State Department. As the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, she saw war zones in Angola, Liberia, Mozambique and Rwanda and developed a familiarity with al-Qaeda after the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Quote: "Americans understand that our security is enhanced when the United States is trusted and respected in the world. Unfortunately, our standing in the world has diminished in the last several years. This has hampered our ability to work cooperatively to confront global challenges. Americans are hungry for change, both at home and in our relations with the rest of the world."

James B. Steinberg

Current job: Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin

Credentials: Former law clerk to appellate judge David L. Bazelon; former chief of staff for the State Department and director of the State Department's policy planning staff; deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department; deputy national security adviser to President Bill Clinton.

What he offers: Steinberg, 55, brings more than a decade of foreign policy experience as a former White House and congressional military policy adviser. He played a key role in the Clinton administration's responses to crises in Kosovo and East Timor. While working at the Brookings Institution, he became an expert in information technology.

Quote: "There is no more perilous time for a new administration than the much ballyhooed first 100 days. . . . More often than not, missteps of omission and commission during the early months bedevil incoming presidents, wreaking havoc with their attempts to gain control of the powers of the presidency . . . [and] to sustain the nation's security."

-- Julie Tate

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