General James L. Jones, 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, was born on 19 December 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated in 1966 from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a Bachelor of Science degree, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in January 1967. Upon completion of The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, in October 1967, he was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a Platoon and Company Commander with Company G, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines. While overseas, he was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1968.

Returning to the United States in December 1968, 1stLt Jones was assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as a Company Commander until May 1970. He then received orders to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., for duties as a Company Commander, serving in this assignment until July 1973. He was promoted to captain in December 1970. From July 1973 until June 1974, he was a student at the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico.

In November 1974, he received orders to report to the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa, where he served as the Commander of Company H, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, until December 1975. From January 1976 to August 1979, Capt Jones served in the Officer Assignments Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. During this assignment, he was promoted to major in July 1977. Remaining in Washington, his next assignment was as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer to the United States Senate, where he served until July 1984. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1982.

He was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, D.C., and following graduation in June 1985, was assigned to command the 3d Battalion, 9th Marines. In August 1987, LtCol Jones returned to Headquarters, Marine Corps, and served as Senior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to colonel in April 1988, and became the Military Secretary to the Commandant in February 1989.

During August 1990, he was assigned as Commanding Officer, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and participated in Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq and Turkey. He was advanced to brigadier general in April 1992, and assigned during July 1992 as Deputy Director, J-3, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. During this tour of duty, he was reassigned as Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Provide Promise, for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.

Returning to the United States, he was advanced to the rank of major general in July 1994, and was assigned as Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. MajGen Jones next served as Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, during 1996, then as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. He was advanced to lieutenant general on 18 July 1996.

His next assignment was as the Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He was promoted to general on 30 June 1999, and became the 32nd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps on 1 July 1999. He served in this capacity until 13 January 2003.

General Jones assumed duties as the Commander of U.S. European Command on 16 January 2003, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe on 17 January 2003. From the Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe, Mons, Belgium, Gen Jones led Allied Command Europe (ACE), comprising NATO's military forces in Europe. As COMUSEUCOM, Gen Jones commanded five U.S. components: U.S. Army, Europe; U.S. Navy, Europe; U.S. Air Forces, Europe; U.S. Marine Forces, Europe; and Special Operations Command, Europe.

General Jones retired from the Marine Corps 1 February 2007 after 40 years of service.  On 1 December 2008, President-elect Barack Obama named Gen Jones to the post of National Security Advisor for his incoming administration.

General Jones' personal decorations include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with four gold stars, Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", and the Combat Action Ribbon.

 Commandants of the Marine Corps