Barack Obama's second-term Cabinet begins to take shape

Barack obama

President Barack Obama has begun to reshape his Cabinet at the start of his second term, elevating four of his long-time advisers to key positions.

More changes are still to come, as officials step down after long tenures through stressful periods at top jobs.

Obama has faced criticism for his choices, in part because of past policy decisions and statements some have made, but also because he has so far named four white men to a Cabinet once lauded for its diversity.

Following is a list of nominations thus far - all of which require Senate confirmation - along with some Cabinet members who the White House has confirmed are staying on, and some important positions that are vacant or may soon become vacant.

NOMINATIONS

* State - John Kerry, the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been nominated to replace Hillary Clinton.

* Treasury - Jack Lew, Obama's chief of staff and a two-time White House budget director, would take the top economic job at a time when the White House faces another round of tough negotiations on deficit issues with Congress. He would replace Timothy Geithner.

* Defense - Chuck Hagel is a former Republican senator and a decorated war veteran who fought in Vietnam. Hagel faces a tough confirmation battle because of past controversial comments about Israel and gays. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is retiring.

* CIA director - John Brennan was Obama's counterterrorism adviser, and has worked for the CIA as officer, analyst and administrator. He would replace David Petraeus, who resigned in November over an extramarital affair.

STAYING PUT, FOR NOW

* Justice - Attorney General Eric Holder, who is part of an Obama task force looking at how to reduce gun violence, will stay on. There had been widespread speculation he would not serve more than four years, a rare long term for an attorney general.

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