Obama Introduces National Security Team

image8.jpgPresident-elect Barack Obama introduced his National Security team on Monday.


President-elect Barack Obama unveiled his national security team today, including formally announcing his intention to nominate his onetime rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, as the next secretary of State.

Obama also announced his intention to keep current Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his post, likely for at least a year in the new administration. The president-elect also said he would nominate Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations, retired Marine Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security director and Eric Holder as attorney general.


“The national security challenges we face are just as grave, and just as urgent, as our economic crisis,” Obama said during a Chicago news conference where he was surrounded by his newly chosen team. “We are fighting two wars. Old conflicts remain unresolved, and newly assertive powers have put strains on the international system. The spread of nuclear weapons raises the peril that the world’s deadliest technology could fall into dangerous hands. Our dependence on foreign oil empowers authoritarian governments and endangers our planet.”

Obama said he, his security team and the American people believe “now is the time for us to regain American leadership in all of its dimensions” as he sought to strike a balance between “maintaining the strongest military on the planet” and employing “the wisdom of our diplomacy.”

All of Obama’s nominees appeared in Chicago as did the vice president-elect, Joe Biden.

The nomination of Clinton comes only months after a hard-fought and often caustic Democratic primary in which the former first lady, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned Obama’s experience on the world stage and his credentials to become commander in chief in contrast to herself and Republican nominee John McCain.

But Obama called Clinton “a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel” and “a tough campaign opponent.”

“She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence, who knows many of the world’s leaders, who will command respect in every capitol, and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world,” Obama said, adding that her appointment was “a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances.”

Clinton said it was “very difficult” to leave her Senate seat of eight years but said her service prepared her for the job since “New Yorkers aren’t afraid to speak their minds and do so in every language.”

She called Obama’s election a signal that the American people have demanded not only a new direction on domestic affairs, but in foreign relations as well, in which “vigorous diplomacy” is balanced with military might.

  1. February 8th, 2012
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