President Obama is overseeing a review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, with his top general in that country, some other military leaders and opposition Republicans pressing him to act quickly to increase the present 68,000-troop level by up to 40,000 troops.
"This is a strategic moment," Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, said of the review that included a three-hour meeting of top Cabinet officials, generals and other advisers last week. Additional meetings are planned for the coming week.
In March, Obama announced a plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to provide security for a national election. That followed what Obama and others call years of under-resourcing in Afghanistan due to the previous administration's focus on Iraq.
The Obama strategy was based on a counterinsurgency mission intended to both defeat terrorists based in Afghanistan while winning local support and helping with development.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who took over as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan four months ago, has submitted an assessment in which he reportedly says he needs additional forces to successfully carry out the counterinsurgency strategy. Otherwise, McChrystal reportedly warns, the mission could fail, bringing a return of power to the Taliban.