Obama's security adviser calls for energy action

James Jones, incoming national security adviser, is a retired general who advocates for a diverse energy supply and clean-energy technologies in the name of national security.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read

President-elect Barack Obama's choice of James Jones as national security adviser brings a retired Marine general who advocates a comprehensive overhaul to U.S. energy policy in the name of national defense.

Jones was announced on Monday as part of the Obama administration's national security team. He has been president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The group last month published a detailed set of recommendations on energy policy, written as a memorandum to Obama. (Click here for PDF.)

James Jones, incoming national security adviser Institute for 21st Century Energy

In the transition paper, Jones says "our country urgently requires a balanced and enduring strategy to meet our growing needs. America stands at a defining moment where the decisions made today will influence the economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and national security of future generations."

The policy recommendations cover a broad swath, including support for clean technologies, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as further investments in climate science.

The plan argues for increased domestic oil and gas drilling, a commitment to so-called clean-coal technology, and increased use of nuclear energy. It also calls for an upgrade to the U.S. power grid electricity distribution network.

The briefing is meant to form the basis of a more strategic and comprehensive energy policy, which the Institute for 21st Century Energy argues can improve national security and economic competitiveness.

From the memo:

"What is needed instead is a more strategic and comprehensive approach to address the broad underlying trends in energy markets--some long standing, some only recently emerging--that are and will remain significant challenges unless we muster the will to adopt a sound enduring energy policy. A sluggish economy teetering on, if not in, a recession and the recent crisis in the financial markets makes tackling these challenges all the more pressing, not less so, because at its most fundamental level, energy security is a critical underpinning of a healthy economy."

Since being elected, Obama has said that energy and environmental policy will be one of the top priorities when his administration comes into office.

Tempering expectations over bold clean-energy initiatives is the poor state of the economy.