According to Democratic officials, Obama is also expected to name Eric Holder, who served as deputy attorney-general in Bill Clinton's administration, as attorney-general and Janet Napolitano, Arizona's governor, as homeland security secretary.

The selections would mean a third of the 15 cabinet posts would have been filled less than a month after Obama was elected.

He is also expected to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the cabinet - Susan Rice, his campaign foreign policy adviser, as UN ambassador, and retired General James Jones as national security adviser.

Last week, he named key members of his economic team, including Timothy Geithner, the president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as treasury secretary.

'Moving backwards' 

Critics have told Al Jazeera that the appointments were a move backwards.

"What we're seeing here is that Barack Obama is once again taking us back to the 1990s in terms of the people he's assembling," said Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater.

"It's the old guard people who have been so wrong about so much from the beginning."

However, some say that the old guard blamed for past mistakes have gained valuable experience from those very errors said to have put the US in its current tenuous financial and military situation.

"There's a hope that he is using very experienced people with centrist credentials to drive a very bold, progressive programme," said Robert Borosage of Campaign for America's Future.