President Obama is expected to announce today that White House National Security Adviser retired Gen. James Jones is resigning, according to multiple newspaper reports. His deputy Thomas Donilon is expected to assume the post.
There has been buzz around Washington since the early summer that Jones would leave his position. At one time, Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was seen by many within the defense community as one of the leading candidates for the job.
In August, InsideDefense.com reported that should the White House name Cartwright national security adviser, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz would be a leading candidate for the vice chairman position.
Air Force and defense officials are bracing for a cascade of senior service leadership moves that could open the door for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz to become the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to active and retired Air Force general officers.
Time magazine reported Aug. 12 that National Security Adviser retired Gen. James Jones may step down soon after the Nov. 2 midterm elections, and that Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright is a candidate to replace him. That could open up a spot for Schwartz.
Senior Pentagon officials have been eying Schwartz for about a month to fill the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff position, current and retired Air Force general officers with knowledge of the discussions tell InsideDefense.com. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli -- who in his last assignment served as Defense Secretary Robert Gates' senior military assistant -- is also on the short list for the vice chairman position, according to these sources.
But over the last month, talk of Cartwright's ascension to the White House post has dwindled and a number of defense officials have said he and Schwartz are likely to eventually retire in their current positions.
A number of Air Force senior leadership moves detailed in the Aug. 13 article have since come to fruition.
One scenario under discussion has Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements (A3/5), becoming the vice chief of staff. Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle -- commander of 13th Air Force and a former head of the service's legislative liaison division -- could fill Breedlove's slot on the Air Staff. Current Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Howie Chandler is expected to retire.
Last month, Chandler announced his retirement and the Pentagon nominated Breedlove for the vice slot and Carlisle to the top A3/5 position on the Air Staff.