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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009
Profiles: Obama's team so far



Since winning the US presidential election, Barack Obama has been assembling a team to help him govern.

Cabinet appointments remain subject to vetting and Senate confirmation.

SECRETARY OF STATE: HILLARY CLINTON

Mrs Clinton, first lady from 1993 to 2001, lost a close race against Mr Obama for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton
She will now have to step down as senator for New York.

Mrs Clinton will be able to hit the ground running, given her wide experience and international contacts.

Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton clashed on some foreign policy issues during the primary campaign, and with incoming Vice-President Joseph Biden also well-versed in foreign policy, there is scope for friction within the Obama team.

Mr Obama has also decided to give his ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a seat in the cabinet.


DEFENCE SECRETARY: ROBERT GATES

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates will remain in charge of the Pentagon when Barack Obama takes office, at least for the first year of his administration.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates

Robert Gates, 65, is a former director of the CIA and was appointed Defence Secretary by President Bush in 2006. He has promoted the military surge in Iraq that has been credited with stemming violence there.

Mr Obama opposed the surge but both men are agreed on a greater focus on Afghanistan.

Mr Gates is seen as a moderate and is widely respected among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

His appointment would also fulfil Mr Obama's pledge to include a Republican in his Cabinet.

TREASURY SECRETARY: TIMOTHY GEITHNER

The 47-year-old head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy Geithner, was instrumental in shaping the US government's response to the banking crisis.

Timothy Geithner

He played a pivotal role in the intense negotiations which took place before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and also helped forge the deals involving AIG and JP Morgan.

He regularly speaks about the need for major reforms in the financial system in order to avoid further turbulence.

Before joining the Federal Reserve of New York, Timothy Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund.

He was also the Treasury's under-secretary for international affairs from 1999 to 2001.

HEALTH SECRETARY: VACANT

This post is still to be filled after former senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination on 3 February following revelations that he had failed to pay some $130,000 in taxes.

Reforms to the US healthcare system are likely to be one of the top domestic priorities of the Obama administration.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ERIC HOLDER

Eric Holder occupied the number two position in the Justice Department in Bill Clinton's administration.

Eric Holder

He was a senior legal adviser to Mr Obama's campaign team and co-chaired the vice-presidential selection committee.

If confirmed, he would lead the administration's efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, a move Mr Obama has singled out as a priority.

Mr Holder, 57, would be the first African-American to occupy the position of attorney general.

One issue that may surface during confirmation hearings is Mr Holder's controversial advice on pardons to President Clinton in 2000, on the last day of his administration.

Mr Holder told the outgoing president that he was "neutral, leaning towards favourable" about pardoning fugitive financier Marc Rich.

HOMELAND SECURITY: JANET NAPOLITANO
Janet Napolitano

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has been picked for the post of secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

This post was created in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

As a governor of a state bordering Mexico, Gov Napolitano has wide experience on immigration issues.

She served as US attorney for Arizona and was also state attorney general.

UN AMBASSADOR: SUSAN RICE

Susan Rice
Barack Obama's UN ambassador, Susan Rice, will hold cabinet rank, in a sign of Mr Obama's plan to work more closely with UN member states than the administration of George W Bush has over the last eight years.

Ms Rice worked in the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2001 but backed Mr Obama for the Democratic nomination because of his opposition to the Iraq war.

She is also an advocate of tough action to end the killing in Darfur.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2007, she supported the idea of military action to force the Sudanese government to halt the massacres.

ENERGY SECRETARY: STEVEN CHU

Dr Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be Energy Secretary
Barack Obama has picked leading scientist Dr Steven Chu as his energy secretary.

Dr Chu is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which pioneers work to find scientific solutions to global warming.

In 1997, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for his research into supercooled atoms.

As energy secretary, he will have responsibility for maintaining America's stockpile of nuclear arms, and for modernising its electrical supply grid.

He will also be able to direct efforts to find alternative energy sources.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR: LISA JACKSON

Lisa Jackson (file picture)
Lisa Jackson will head the Environmental Protection Agency under Mr Obama.

She worked for the EPA under Bill Clinton in the 1990s, before moving to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, first as an officer and then, in 2006, as its head.

She was recently picked by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to be his Chief of Staff.

She would be the first African-American EPA administrator.

HOUSING SECRETARY: SHAUN DONOVAN

SHAUN DONOVAN
Mr Obama used his weekly radio address on 13 December to announce he had chosen Shaun Donovan as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - the department that helps provide affordable housing to Americans.

Mr Donovan, a Harvard-educated architect, is currently New York City Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development.

In that role - which he has held since 2004 - Mr Donovan has managed a $7.5bn plan designed to put a half-million New Yorkers in affordable housing by 2013.

During the Clinton administration, Mr Donovan was deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing at the department he is now to head.

EDUCATION SECRETARY: ARNE DUNCAN

Arne Duncan
Arne Duncan has been in charge of Chicago's public schools system since 2001, so Barack Obama - as a senator from Illinois - has had plenty of opportunities to study his work close up.

The Windy City's schools have improved on his watch, with SAT results improving, and a number of failing schools closed or overhauled.

He is well-liked by teachers, despite his embrace of some of the education reforms that teachers' unions oppose.

Mr Obama hinted at support for some of these reforms - like merit pay and charter schools - on the campaign trail, and Mr Duncan's popularity within the education community may be an asset if the incoming president wants to change America's schools.

INTERIOR SECRETARY: KEN SALAZAR

Ken Salazar
Interior Secretaries - with their responsibility for overseeing the lease of drilling rights to energy companies - often hail from the mineral-rich Mountain West, and Mr Obama's first pick for the job is no exception.

Ken Salazar has been a Colorado senator since 2004, before which he served as the state's Attorney General.

Environmentalists have raised eyebrows at some of his ties to oil and farming lobbyists, but Mr Salazar voted against oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

He is Mr Obama's second Hispanic cabinet pick, after Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: TOM VILSACK

Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack, as a former governor of the agricultural state of Iowa, is no stranger to farming.

Indeed, some environmentalists have expressed concern that he is too friendly with the farming lobby and therefore unlikely to reform America's heavily subsidised agricultural sector.

Mr Vilsack will be the fourth of Mr Obama's former rivals for the Democratic Party's 2008 preseidential nomination to join his inner circle, after Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson.

Mr Vilsack embarked on a brief presidential run in 2007, but dropped out before the first selection contests. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

CIA DIRECTOR: LEON PANETTA

Former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta is set to to head the CIA, according to Democratic officials.

Leon Panetta serving on the Iraq Study Group in a file photo from 2006

Mr Panetta, 70, has little direct experience in intelligence matters and may face a tough confirmation hearing on that account. But he is regarded as a good manager who knows government operations well.

He was chief of staff from 1994 to 1997, headed the Office of Management and Budget, is a former eight-term member of Congress, and most recently was a member of the Iraq Study Group.

Mr Panetta has publicly criticised the CIA's harsh interrogation methods, such as waterboarding.

He would report directly to the director of national intelligence. Former Navy Admiral Dennis Blair is Mr Obama's choice for this post, reports say.

COMMERCE SECRETARY: GARY LOCKE

Former Washington state Governor Gary Locke is President Obama's third choice Commerce Secretary after his first two picks - Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg - withdrew their names from consideration.

Gary Locke

Mr Locke was the first Chinese-American governor of any US state, and if his nomination is approved, he would be the third Asian-American member of Mr Obama's cabinet.

He will bring his experience as a governor to the Commerce Department, which has oversight over the telecommunications industry, and responsibility for promoting economic development.



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