President Obama looks set to announce a radical shake-up of his national security team prompted by the impending retirement of Defence Secretary Robert Gates.
Leon Panetta, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is in line to get the defence portfolio.
Panetta, an experienced cabinet official, knows the workings of the Obama administration and has strong links with both the White House and Capitol Hill.
General David Petraeus, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, is favourite to step into Panetta’s shoes as CIA director.
Petraeus is a high-profile military man with extensive knowledge of intelligence gathering in both Iraq and Afghanistan.