President Obama's Cabinet

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As the President's closest and most trusted advisors, members of President Obama's Cabinet attend weekly meetings with the President.

The Constitution does not directly mention a "Cabinet," but the Constitutional authority for a Cabinet is found in Article II, Section 2. The Constitution states that the President "may require the opinion, in writing of the principle officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices." The Constitution does not say which or how many executive departments should be created.

President Obama's Cabinet in order of succession to the Presidency

According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, if the President of the United States is incapacitated, dies, resigns, is for any reason unable to hold his office, or is removed from office (impeached and convicted), people in the following offices, in this order, will assume the office of the President, provided they are qualified as stated by the Constitution to assume the office of the President, which means they have to be must be at least 35 years old, must be a natural-born U.S. citizen, and have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.

Vice President of the United States - Joseph R. Biden 

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Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four siblings. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Then, at age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.

As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, Biden has been a leader on some of our nation's most important domestic and international challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues including the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

Department of State - Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Secretary Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 26, 1947 to Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham.

She attended local public schools before graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. In 1974, Secretary Clinton moved to Arkansas, a year later then married Bill Clinton and became a successful attorney while also raising their daughter, Chelsea. She was an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law, and after working to strengthen the local legal aid office, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corporation, which she later chaired. 

Secretary Clinton is the author of best-selling books, including her memoir, Living History, and her groundbreaking book on children, It Takes A Village. She and President Clinton reside in New York.
 
Department of the Treasury - Secretary Timothy F. Geithner

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Secretary Geithner graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor's degree in government and Asian studies in 1983 and from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a master's in International Economics and East Asian Studies in 1985. He has studied Japanese and Chinese and has lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China, and Japan.

Before his nomination to the Treasury, Secretary Geithner served as the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he began on November 17, 2003. In that capacity, he served as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the group responsible for formulating the nation's monetary policy.

Department of Defense - Secretary Robert M. Gates

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Dr. Robert M. Gates was sworn in on December 18, 2006, as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. Before entering his present post, Secretary Gates was the President of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university.

Secretary Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. Secretary Gates is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.
 
Department of Justice - Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.

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Eric H. Holder Jr. was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 by Vice-President Joe Biden. President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Mr. Holder on December 1, 2008.

In 1997, Mr. Holder was named by President Clinton to be the Deputy Attorney General, the first African-American named to that post. Prior to that he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Mr. Holder, a native of New York City, attended public schools there, graduating from Stuyvesant High School where he earned a Regents Scholarship. He attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1976.
 
Department of the Interior - Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar

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Ken Salazar, a fifth generation Coloradan, was confirmed as the 50th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on January 20, 2009, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate. 

Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as Colorado's 35th United States Senator, winning election in November 2004 and serving on the Finance Committee, which oversees the nation's tax, trade, social security, and health care systems. He also served on the Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources, Ethics, Veterans Affairs, and Aging Committees.

Department of Agriculture - Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack

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Tom Vilsack was sworn in as the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 21, 2009. Appointed by President Barack Obama, Vilsack received unanimous support for his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Secretary Vilsack has served in the public sector at nearly every level of government, beginning as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1987, and then as state senator in 1992. In 1998, he was the first Democrat elected Governor of Iowa in more than 30 years, an office he held for two terms.

Department of Commerce

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was nominated to become commerce secretary but a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors forced him to withdraw.

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg from New Hampshire was nominated for Commerce secretary but he withdrew after deciding he could not support President Obama's economic policies.

Department of Labor - Secretary Hilda L. Solis

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Congresswoman Hilda Solis, now the Secretary of Labor
First elected in 2000, Congresswoman Hilda Solis was serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 32nd Congressional District of California.

Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served eight years in the California state legislature. As a California State Senator, she led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. In August 2000, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues in California.

She is the Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and serves as a Senior Whip, as well as a Regional Whip for Southern California. She is also serving her third term as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Task Force on Health and the Environment.  Solis is a lifetime resident of the San Gabriel Valley and currently resides in the city of El Monte with her husband Sam, a small business owner.

Department of Health and Human Services

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President Obama had nominated Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2008.  Daschle withdrew his name on 3 February 2009, after revealing that he owed over $128,000 in back taxes which he hadn't paid until the time of his nomination.

Breaking News - On March 2, 2009, President Obama nominated the Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, as his Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor Sebelius serves on the National Governors Association's Executive Committee and is co-chair of the National Governors Association's initiative, Securing a Clean Energy Future. Sebelius is the immediate past chair of the Education Commission of the States and as past chair of the Democratic Governors Association, she currently serves on the DGA Executive Committee.

Married to husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge, for 34 years, they have two sons: Ned and John. Both Sebelius boys are products of the Topeka public school system, pre-kindergarten through high school. Ned is a law student, and John is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Sebelius is the first daughter of a Governor (John Gilligan, Ohio, 1971-1975) in U.S. history to be elected to that same position.

Department of Housing and Urban Development - Secretary Shaun L.S. Donovan

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On January 26, 2009, Shaun Donovan was sworn in as the 15th United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. He has devoted his career to ensuring access to safe, decent, and affordable housing nationwide, and will carry on that effort in the Obama Administration. Secretary Donovan believes that America's homes are the foundation for family, safe neighborhoods, good schools, and solid businesses, and that housing represents and confers stability - a base from which to raise America's children. He joins HUD with the commitment to make quality housing possible for every American.

Department of Transportation - Secretary Raymond L. LaHood

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Before becoming Secretary of Transportation, LaHood served for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 18th District of Illinois (from 1995-2009).  During that time he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and, after that, on the House Appropriations Committee.  Prior to his election to the House, he served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Robert Michel, whom he succeeded in representing the 18th District, and as District Administrative Assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback.  He also served in the Illinois State Legislature.

Before his career in government, Secretary LaHood was a high school teacher, having received his degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.  He was also director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau and Chief planner for the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission in Illinois.

Department of Energy - Secretary Steven Chu

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Steven Chu was recently selected to be the Secretary of Energy by Barack Obama. Chu, Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Professor in the Physics Department at the University of California, Berkeley was previously 'the Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. Professor Chu's research is in atomic physics, polymer and biophysics.

His thesis and postdoctoral work at Berkeley ...  was the observation of parity non-conservation in atomic transitions in 1978. This experiment was one of the earliest atomic physics confirmations of the Weinberg-Salam-Glashow theory that unifies the weak and electromagnetic forces.

Chu was co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light".

Department of Education - Secretary Arne Duncan

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Prior to his appointment as secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley, from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country.

As CEO, Duncan's mandate was to raise education standards and performance, improve teacher and principal quality, and increase learning options. In seven and a half years, he united education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening over 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.

Department of Veterans Affairs - Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

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Secretary Shinseki served as Chief of Staff, United States Army, from 1999 to June 11, 2003, and retired from active duty on August 1, 2003. During his tenure, he initiated the Army Transformation Campaign to address both the emerging strategic challenges of the early 21st century and the need for cultural and technological change in the United States Army. 

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he led the Army during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and integrated the pursuit of the Global War on Terrorism with Army Transformation, successfully enabling the Army to continue to transform while at war.

Department of Homeland Security - Secretary Janet A. Napolitano

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Napolitano's homeland security background is extensive. As U.S. Attorney, she helped lead the domestic terrorism investigation into the Oklahoma City Bombing. As Arizona Attorney General, she helped write the law to break up human smuggling rings. As governor, she implemented one of the first state homeland security strategies in the nation, opened the first state counter-terrorism center and spearheaded efforts to transform immigration enforcement. She's also been a pioneer in coordinating federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts, and presided over large scale disaster relief efforts and readiness exercises to ensure well-crafted and functional emergency plans.

Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in 1979, where she won a Truman Scholarship, and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school she served as a law clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining the law firm of Lewis and Roca.

Other Key Positions in the Obama Administration: 

Central Intelligence Agency - Director Leon Panetta

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Early in his career, Mr. Panetta served as a legislative assistant to Senator Thomas H. Kuchel of California, special assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, and executive assistant to Mayor John Lindsay of New York. He also spent five years in private law practice. He served as an Army intelligence officer from 1964 to 1966 and received the Army Commendation Medal.

Mr. Panetta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a law degree, both from Santa Clara University. He was born on 28 June 1938 in Monterey, where his Italian immigrant parents operated a restaurant. Later, they purchased a farm in Carmel Valley, a place Director and Mrs. Panetta continue to call home. The Panettas have three grown sons and five grandchildren.

From July 1994 to January 1997, Mr. Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Clinton. Prior to that, he was Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the House Budget Committee. Mr. Panetta represented California's 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to Budget Committee chairman during his final four years in Congress.

National Security Agency - Director LTG Keith B. Alexander

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He was born in Syracuse, NY, and entered active duty at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Previous assignments include the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS, G-2), Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC; Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, VA; Director of Intelligence, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL; and Deputy Director for Requirements, Capabilities, Assessments and Doctrine, J-2, for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. LTG Alexander has served in a variety of command assignments in Germany and the United States. These include tours as Commander of Border Field Office, 511th MI Battalion, 66th MI Group; 336th Army Security Agency Company, 525th MI Group; 204th MI Battalion; and 525th MI Brigade.

United Nations - Ambassador Susan Rice  

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Dr. Susan E. Rice served most recently as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign while on leave from the Brookings Institution where she is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development Programs. Rice currently serves on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board. From 1997-2001, she was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Prior to that, Rice served in the White House at the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping. Rice was previously a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. She received her B.A. in History with Honors from Stanford University and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

White House Chief of Staff - Rahm I. Emanuel

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Rahm Emanuel is the White House Chief of Staff. Prior to joining President Barack H. Obama's administration, Emanuel served in the House of Representatives, representing the fifth district of Illinois, and was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. As an advocate for Chicago's working families, Emanuel served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, and Medicare issues.

Appointed by then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Emanuel served as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 cycle. Under his leadership, Democrats gained 30 seats in the House without losing a single incumbent, and ushered in a new Democratic majority for the first time in more than a decade.

In January 2007, the new majority elected Emanuel to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair, the fourth-highest-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership. As Chair, Emanuel led the Democratic Caucus in fulfilling its campaign promise to pass legislation reflecting the values and priorities of the American people.

Source: Executive Departments .gov Sites
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