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updated 10/8/2010 1:44:29 PM ET 2010-10-08T17:44:29

In an afternoon statement in the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will name Tom Donilon to be his next National Security Adviser, replacing retiring Gen. James Jones.

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Jones, who is 66, was long expected to step down after about two years in the position. His resignation will take effect in about two weeks.

Obama hailed Jones, a lifelong military man before his White House post, as a "dedicated public servant and a friend to me."

Donilon has previously served as deputy national security adviser, overseeing the coordination among deputy chiefs from across the security apparatus.

On Friday, the president praised his new pick for the post for his work as a "very capable deputy" with a "remarkable work ethic." Donilon will play a key role in the upcoming Afghanistan strategy review later this year.

Earlier Friday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tried to dispel perceptions on Friday that he has a contentious relationship with Donilon, alluding to journalist Bob Woodward's claim that Gates believes promoting Donilon would be "a disaster."

"I have had a very productive and very good working relationship with Tom Donilon, contrary to what you may have read," Gates told reporters. "And I look foward to working with him."

Jones was appointed to the top security position in January 2009. He previously served as Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1999-2003, the Commander of US and NATO forces in Europe, and as the State Department's Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Jones resigns national security post


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