Special Report: Team Obama

Special Report: Team Obama

in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gates will contend with conflicts with Iran and Russia.

Name: Susan Rice
Position: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Past Positions: Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Clinton administration)
Value: One of Obama’s leading foreign policy advisers during the campaign, Rice offers breadth of experience in foreign policy and the global economy. Hers will be a powerful voice against acts of genocide such as those in the Darfur region of Sudan, among other issues.

Name: Janet Napolitano
Position: Secretary of Homeland Security
Past Positions: Two-term Governor of the state of Arizona; Attorney General of Arizona
Value: Lauded as one of the nation’s best governors, Napolitano has been a leading advocate for federal protection of the nation’s borders. In her new role, she will utilize her leadership skills to overhaul a sprawling agency charged with securing institutions against terrorism and responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Name: Eric K. Shinseki
Position: Secretary of Veteran Affairs
Past Positions: Chief of Staff of the Army
Value: In his previous post, this Vietnam War veteran developed revolutionary programs to modernize the Army as well as make soldiers more effective in urban terrain. He presciently advocated an increased deployment of troops in Iraq–a position that led to his public clash with then Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Name: James L. Jones
Position: National Security Adviser
Past Positions: Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Value: Jones possesses a diplomatic management style and a knack for coalition building that served him well as commander of all NATO military forces. During the campaign, it was Jones, a four-star general, who briefed Obama on the status of American and allied involvement in Afghanistan.


Name: Eric Holder
Position: Attorney General
Past Positions: Partner, Covington & Burling L.L.P.; Deputy Attorney General (Clinton administration)
Value: The first African American to serve as the nation’s top cop, he’s well-versed in the operations of the Justice Department. In his previous role, he focused on healthcare fraud, computer crimes, software piracy, and investigation of high-level federal officials.

Name: Arne Duncan
Position: Secretary of Education
Past Positions: Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools; Director, Ariel Education Initiative
Value: Since 2001, he’s overseen the nation’s third-largest school system that services more than 400,000 students. Through his consensus-building management style, he’s increased state test scores, boosted graduation rates, opened new schools, and built strong relationships with teachers’ unions.


Steven Chu
Position: Secretary of Energy
Past Positions: Lab Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Value: Chu, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997, built a solid reputation for the management of research teams on climate change, advanced biofuels, solar power, and energy efficiency. To develop and fund such projects, he created successful public-private partnerships.

Name: Ken Salazar
Position: Secretary of the Interior
Past Positions: Democratic senator from Colorado; Colorado Attorney General
Value: Cited for his political pragmatism, Salazar will seek to strike a balance between focusing on the preservation of public land and endangered species and the creation of new energy sources and climate change.

Name: Tom Vilsack
Position: Secretary of Agriculture
Past Positions: Two-term Governor of Iowa
Value: Another candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Vilsack is an expert