[QODLink]
Americas
Obama nominates US national security team
US president announces major reshuffle in the country's national security team amid challenges at home and abroad.
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2011 14:16
Obama, left, announced the nominations of his new national security team on Thursday [AFP]

Barack Obama has announced a major reshuffle of the US national security team aimed at ensuring leadership continuity.

The US president on Thursday nominated Leon Panetta to replace Robert Gates as the defence secretary following his planned retirement this year.

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were named as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief and US ambassador to Afghanistan, respectively.

The Senate has to approve the changes, which come as the US administration confronts numerous national security challenges at home and abroad.

"These are the leaders that I've chosen to help guide us through the difficult days ahead," Obama said in the White House with Gates, Panetta, Petraeus and other top officials by his side.

"I will look to them and my entire national security team for their counsel, continuity and unity of effort that this moment in history demands."

Long-anticipated move

Panetta is the current CIA director while Petraeus currently heads military operations in Afghanistan.

The long-anticipated changes is expected to place a long-standing Democratic Party figure at the head of the Pentagon as Obama presses forward with politically delicate policies in Afghanistan and Libya.

The administration and congress also face mounting calls for defence spending cuts as the US looks for ways to narrow the US budget deficit, which stands at $1.4tn this year.

Gates was appointed by former president George Bush, a Republican, and has proved to be an outspoken on key issues under both administrations.

Gates, himself a former CIA director, had made it clear that he would step down as defence chief this year.

Panetta is a former US representative from California who served as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He was former president Bill Clinton's budget director, then chief of staff.

Petraeus is credited with pulling Iraq from the brink of civil war after the 2003 US invasion before he assumed command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Before word of the reshuffle broke, some Washington insiders suggested the White House wanted a prominent position for Petraeus to ensure he would not be tapped by Republicans to challenge Obama next year.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list