Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Cabinet thus Far; 12/7 Update; 12/11 Update

For your information, I have set up a list of all the official cabinet appointments thus far (plus the director of the National Economic Council Director). I have also included the introductory paragraph(s) of their wikipedia entries and a link to their wikipedia page under their picture. Each position also has a link to their official web page.

Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle

Thomas Andrew Daschle (born December 9, 1947) is a former U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader from South Dakota. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services in Obama's Cabinet.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Eric Shinseki

Eric Ken Shinseki (born November 28, 1942) was the 34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, serving from 1999 to 2003, and is President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to become the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is the first Asian American in U.S. history to be a four-star general and the first to lead one of the five U.S. military services. During his tenure, Shinseki initiated an innovative but controversial plan to make the Army more strategically deployable and mobile in urban terrain by creating Stryker Interim-Force Brigade Combat Teams. He conceived a long term strategic plan for the Army dubbed Objective Force, which included a program he designed, Future Combat Systems.

Shinseki is famous for publicly clashing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the planning of the war in Iraq over what troop levels would be necessary once the Iraqi regime was defeated. Many believe General Shinseki correctly estimated that far more troops would be needed than in Rumsfeld's plan. Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee that "something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would probably be required for postwar Iraq. Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz publicly disagreed with his estimate, Wolfowitz insisting that General Shinseki was "wildly off the mark". Over time, it has become almost universally accepted in U.S. political circles that Shinseki was correct. General Shinseki retired as scheduled from the military in June 2003, just three months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After making his critical comments, Shinseki's influence on the Joint Chiefs of Staff was reported to have been significantly reduced.

Treasury Secretary
: Tim Geithner, President of the NY Federal Reserve Bank,

Timothy Franz Geithner [pronounced /ˈgaɪtnər/] (born August 18, 1961) is the 9th president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that role he also serves as Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Geithner is President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to succeed Henry Paulson as United States Secretary of the Treasury.

Secretary of State
: Sen. Hillary Clinton,

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is the junior United States Senator from New York and President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for United States Secretary of State. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. She is married to Bill Clinton—the 42nd President of the United States—and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

After moving to New York, Clinton was elected as senator for New York State in 2000. That election marked the first time an American First Lady had run for public office; Clinton is also the first female senator to represent New York. In the Senate, she initially supported the George W. Bush administration on some foreign policy issues, which included voting for the Iraq War Resolution. She has subsequently opposed the administration on its conduct of the war in Iraq, and has opposed it on most domestic issues. She was reelected by a wide margin in 2006. In the 2008 presidential nomination race, Clinton won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, but after a long campaign, she narrowly lost to Senator Barack Obama, who became the party's presumptive nominee in June 2008, and Clinton endorsed and campaigned for him. She is the first First Lady to be subsequently appointed to the Cabinet in any Presidential administration.

Attorney General
: Eric Holder,

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. (born January 21, 1951), is a former Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, United States Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He is currently a senior legal advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, a position he also held in Obama's campaign. He was one of three members of Obama's vice-presidential selection committee.

On December 1, 2008, Obama announced that Holder would be his nominee for Attorney General in the incoming administration. If confirmed, he will be the first African-American Attorney General of the United States.

Secretary of Defense: Robert Gates, Sec. of Defense in Bush administration,

Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is currently serving as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense. He took office on December 18, 2006. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Before he joined the CIA, he served with the United States Air Force (USAF). After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates also served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University.

Gates accepted the nomination as Secretary of Defense position on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people. In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. President-elect Barack Obama has offered Gates the continued position as Defense Secretary under his administration, and Gates has accepted. Gates will be one of the few people to hold a Cabinet-level position under two Presidents of different parties.

Homeland Security Secretary: Gov. Janet Napolitano (Arizona),

Janet Napolitano (born November 29, 1957) is the current governor of the U.S. state of Arizona, and a member of the Democratic Party, originally elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. Napolitano was chair of two state Governors' associations and named by Time as one of the top five Governors in 2005.

She is President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.

National Security Adviser: Retired Marine Gen. James Jones,

General James Logan Jones Jr. (born December 19, 1943) is President-elect Barack Obama’s selection for national security adviser. He is the former supreme allied commander, Europe (SACEUR) (2003–06), and the commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM) (2003–06. He served as the 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps (July 1999–January 2003). Jones retired from the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 2007, after 40 years of service.

In 2007, Jones served as chairman of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, which investigated the capabilities of the Iraqi police and armed forces. In November 2007, he was appointed by the U.S. secretary of state as special envoy for Middle East security.

He is currently chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Commerce Secretary: Gov. Bill Richardson (New Mexico),

William Blaine "Bill" Richardson III (born November 15, 1947) is a Democratic politician and the current Governor of New Mexico. Prior to being elected governor, Richardson served in the Clinton administration as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary. Richardson has also served as a U.S. Congressman, chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. On December 3, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama designated Richardson for appointment to the cabinet-level position of Commerce Secretary.

National Economic Council Director: Lawrence Summers, former treasury

Lawrence Henry "Larry" Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist and member of President-elect Barack Obama's Transition Economic Advisory Board. On November 24, 2008 he was named the next head of the White House's National Economic Council.

Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is the 1993 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics and was Secretary of the Treasury for the last year and a half of the Bill Clinton administration.

Summers also served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. In three instances during his time as Harvard president, Summers made remarks that touched on political "hot-button" controversies. Environmentalists, affirmative action advocates, and many women and those concerned with women's issues took offense and brought increasing pressure on Harvard, contributing to his resignation. Summers also proposed reforming undergraduate education and requested that professors take greater responsibility in teaching their undergraduate classes, as opposed to delegating to teaching fellows.

Office of Management and Budget Director: Peter Orszag, director of Congressional Budget Office,

Peter R. Orszag (born December 16, 1968) is an American economist and was until recently Director of the Congressional Budget Office. He is President-Elect Barack Obama's choice for Office of Management and Budget Director.

There are many positions left to fill, and since Obama plans to go on an extended vacation, there will be many announcements coming up (and many updates to this post).

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