Yesterday in Chicago, President-Elect Obama introduced his national security team – the individuals that will lead us through the challenges posed by two complicated wars, rising nuclear threats, unrest in the Middle East, and persistent dependence on oil, among others.
For his National Security Advisor, Obama named General James L. Jones, a familiar face that spoke as our keynote speaker this year at our Annual Conference at Asilomar. And, more famously, a decorated combat veteran and polished diplomat who served the United States in the Marine Corps for more than 40 years. He served as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2003 to 2006, and since retiring in February of last year, is now the president and CEO of the Republican-dominated U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.
Obama chose General Jones for his understanding of the connection between energy and security, and chiefly because of their shared desire to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Jones’ time in the White House will be spent coordinating defense and foreign policy among the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence agencies and others – and most of this will likely relate to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with little time left for energy policy. Jones’s history indicates that he will support a national energy policy advocating for more of all kinds of power, and renewable energy will be just one part of the solution, not the central focus.A point that some observers believe will lead to disagreements between Jones and more pro-green revolution types in the new administration.
Mr. Obama hopes that General Jones’ strong position in both diplomacy and security will help the new administration better integrate efforts across sectors, and enable him to mediate between rivals. We look forward to seeing what role he plays in integrating our security policy with energy policy in the coming years.