Chicago -- President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their national security team today: nominating Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, selecting Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense, nominating Eric Holder as Attorney General, nominating Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, nominating Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations and selecting General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret) as National Security Adviser.
"In this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning -- a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world," said President-elect Obama.
"It is an honor to be a part of this team, led by the President-elect -- a team that will see to it that America can lead the world not only by the example of our power, but also by the power of our example. I believe we have assembled a national security team that is poised to recapture the totality of America's strength," said Vice President-elect Biden.
The national security team members announced today are listed below:
Senator Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Over nearly four decades in public service, as an attorney, First Lady, Senator, and presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has become one of the nation's foremost champions for children and families and advocates for women's rights and human rights. During the Clinton Administration, she transformed the role of First Lady, fighting for universal health care and helping to lead successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and provide health care to millions of children through the Children's Health Insurance Program. As a representative of the United States, she championed American interests as well as the rights of women and girls in more than eighty countries around the world. In November 2000, Senator Clinton became the first First Lady elected to public office and the first woman elected independently in New York State; she has since won reelection. In the Senate, she has continued to advocate for equal access to health care, education, and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Clinton has fought for and secured in law improved health care for members of the National Guard and Reserves and worked to bring our troops home safely and responsibly from Iraq. She also serves as the only Senate member of the Transformation Advisory Group to the Joint Forces Command, working to modernize our military. And Senator Clinton has continued to fight for quality, affordable health care for every American, working to strengthen the Children's Health Insurance Program and expand the use of health information technology. Most recently, as a groundbreaking candidate for President of the United States, Senator Clinton became the first woman ever to win a presidential primary, receiving more than 18 million votes as an advocate for working families and a voice for millions of Americans who have felt invisible to their government.
Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense
Dr. Robert M. Gates was sworn in on December 18th, 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. Prior to assuming the presidency of Texas A&M on August 1st, 2002, he served as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001. 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 20th, 1989, until November 6th, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush. Secretary Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. Secretary Gates received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, his master's degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.
Eric Holder, Attorney General
Mr. Holder is a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. During his professional career, Mr. Holder has held a number of significant positions in government. Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, he moved to Washington, DC and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was confirmed by the Senate and his investiture occurred in October of that year. Over the next five years, Judge Holder presided over hundreds of civil and criminal trials and matters. In 1993, President Clinton nominated Mr. Holder to become the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was confirmed later that year and served as the head of the largest United States Attorneys office in the nation for nearly four years. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the United States Department of Justice. He became the first African-American to serve as Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Holder briefly served under President Bush as Acting Attorney General pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft. Mr. Holder attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. Mr. Holder then attended Columbia Law School from which he graduated in 1976. While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division.
Governor Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Named one of America's Top Five Governors by Time magazine and one of America's top women leaders by Newsweek, Janet Napolitano stands out as a leader in developing innovative solutions to some of our country's greatest challenges. As Governor of Arizona, she's fought for quality schools, affordable healthcare, sensible economic development, a safe homeland, a secure border, and a government that is run efficiently and responsibly. She led the successful effort to create a new grade level in public school by offering voluntary full day kindergarten to every Arizona family. She raised teacher pay, expanded access to health insurance, and saved seniors millions on prescription drugs. Her homeland security background is extensive: as U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Napolitano led the Arizona portion of the domestic terrorism investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing; as Attorney General, she helped write the law to break up human smuggling rings; and as Governor, she implemented the first state homeland security strategy in the nation and opened the first state counter-terrorism center. She is a leader in coordinating federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts, having presided over large-scale disaster preparedness exercises to ensure well-crafted and functional emergency plans. Napolitano was the first governor to call for the National Guard to assist at the U.S. -- Mexico border at federal expense, and is a leading national voice for comprehensive immigration reform. The past chair of the National Governors Association -- the first woman in history to hold this position -- Janet Napolitano was re-elected in 2006 in a landslide victory as Arizona's 21st Governor. Prior to her election as Governor of Arizona, Napolitano served one term as Arizona Attorney General and four years as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations
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.
General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), National Security Advisor
General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret) is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy. From July 1999 to January 2003, Jones was the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps. After relinquishing command as Commandant, he assumed the positions of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM), positions he held until December 2006. During this final assignment, he encouraged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to regard global energy as a security issue and advocated that the alliance consider the defense of critical infrastructures as a 21st century collective security mission. Jones retired from active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps February 1st, 2007, after more than 40 years of service. In addition to having been awarded national and international military awards, Jones received a bachelor of science degree (1966) and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (2002) from Georgetown University. In June 1985, he graduated from the National War College in Washington, D.C.
Standing order at the press conference (L-R): General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret); Governor Janet Napolitano; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Vice President-elect Joe Biden; President-elect Barack Obama; Senator Hillary Clinton; Eric Holder; Dr. Susan Rice
Speaking order at the press conference: President-elect Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, Secretary Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Governor Janet Napolitano, Dr. Susan Rice, General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), Vice President-elect Joe Biden