Pentagon openings give Obama options

Monday - 11/8/2010, 6:20pm EST

The Pentagon leadership is about to go through more sweeping changes. President Obama is expected to name a new defense secretary as well as several top generals and admirals in the coming months.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he plans to retire next year, while the terms of four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are scheduled to end.

The New York Times calls the appointments an opportunity for the president to strengthen his relationship with the military. The people who fill these key posts will likely to have an impact beyond the next election and will also almost certainly face heavy scrutiny in the new Senate.

Among the buzz of names to replace Secretary Gates include two respected veterans of the Pentagon, both with bipartisan credentials and hands-on experience. John Hamre served as a deputy defense secretary from the Clinton administration and now leads the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), who lost his seat last week as well as the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee.

The White House said the president is not yet prepared to announce any decisions.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.