Who Joe Biden picked to fill his Cabinet

Updated Jan. 19 at 9:58 a.m.
The Latest: On Friday, Jan. 15, Biden announced he would nominate Eric Lander to be his presidential science advisor, a role he will elevate to the Cabinet.

President-elect Joe Biden has made his selections for his incoming Cabinet and top White House positions. Cabinet positions — with the exception of the vice president and White House chief of staff — will require Senate approval, which may face significant delays.

[Tracking Biden's progress filling nearly 800 key positions in government]

Biden promised to be “a president for all Americans” and build a Cabinet that reflects the country’s diversity. If confirmed, his Cabinet will be more racially diverse than not only Trump’s Cabinet, but also Obama’s.

VP + 15 Cabinet heads

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Biden Cabinet selections more diverse than those of predecessors

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Trump’s first Cabinet

Obama’s first Cabinet

Obama’s first Cabinet did not include the director of national intelligence or the heads of the CIA and Small Business Administration. Biden will not include the CIA director in his Cabinet.

Biden has faced criticism for installing women of color in mostly lower-level Cabinet positions while giving some of the most influential positions to White men with long Washington résumés. And for the first time in 20 years, there will no Asian American or Pacific Islander secretary, something lawmakers have expressed repeated concerns about, though Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, a daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, will be part of the Cabinet and first in the line of succession.

While Biden’s Cabinet would include some appointees who have served in Republican administrations, it does not include a high-profile member of the opposite party or holdovers from the previous administration, as Trump and Obama’s Cabinets both did.

Here’s who Biden has selected to fill his Cabinet and other top positions in his administration.

Secretary of Agriculture

Currently: Sonny Perdue

The Trump administration has authorized tens of billions of dollars in direct payments to American ranchers and commodity row crop farmers. Federal payments to farmers hit a record $46 billion in 2020, with trade mitigation payments and pandemic relief flowing swiftly to President Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest. Trump’s other signature USDA initiatives have been regulatory policies aimed at reducing the number of Americans eligible for food assistance.

[Tom Vilsack faces new challenges as he returns to old job]

It is likely Biden would reverse erosions of SNAP and other food assistance programs, as well as restoring more rigorous school nutrition standards that were the centerpiece of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! effort. Biden has said he would support beginning farmers, pursue “smarter pro-worker and pro-family-farmer…policies,” and reward sustainable farming practices that reduce atmospheric carbon.

Named

Tom Vilsack

Former agriculture secretary and Iowa governor

During the Biden campaign, former Iowa governor Vilsack was a top rural and agriculture policy adviser. Since 2017, Vilsack has been chief executive of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, prompting some critics to argue he is too closely tied to agribusiness. Vilsack recently told The Post that climate change initiatives such as carbon credits provide a range of new revenue streams for American farmers as “more and more consumers and companies are interested in where their food comes from and how it's being sustainably produced. Farmers are in a position to provide help and assistance, but they shouldn't be asked to foot the bill for this.” Fun fact: This year Vilsack was a $150,000 Powerball prize winner of the Iowa Lottery.

Reported by Laura Reiley and Seung Min Kim.

White House chief of staff

Currently: Mark Meadows

The chief of staff is often considered the president's gatekeeper, shaping his schedule and presidential access. They serve as a close adviser and also oversee White House staffing. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

[Biden’s choice of Ron Klain to run White House signals rejection of Trump-era chaos]

Named

Ronald A. Klain

Biden's vice presidential chief of staff from 2009 to 2011

Klain was appointed by then-President Barack Obama to serve as the White House's "Ebola czar" to coordinate the administration's response to that epidemic and most recently was a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. He was also chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.

Reported by Kate Rabinowitz.

Secretary of Commerce

Currently: Wilbur Ross

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross led the department to take an active role in President Trump’s trade wars. He championed an expansive interpretation of U.S. trade law, enabling Trump to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in response to alleged national security threats. The so-called Section 232 tariffs were deeply controversial and alienated major U.S. trading partners, including Canada. Commerce also was a key player in the president’s confrontation with China. The department put prominent Chinese corporations such as Huawei on an export blacklist, all but severing them from critical American-made components, an important step toward decoupling the world’s two largest economies.

[Biden to name Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor]

The Biden administration is unlikely to immediately roll back the Trump tariffs. But the department may put a greater emphasis on export promotion and, through its management of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, take a more proactive stance on climate change. Commerce, customarily considered a business community outpost, is unlikely to be among the first department jobs filled and the ultimate pick may depend on the demographic and political makeup of the rest of the Cabinet.

Named

Gov. Gina Raimondo

Governor of Rhode Island

Raimondo has been Rhode Island's governor since 2015 and previously served as the state's general treasurer. Raimondo, who has often been at odds with major labor unions, also previously worked in venture capital.

Reported by David J. Lynch and Amy B Wang.

Secretary of Defense

Currently: Christopher C. Miller (acting)

A Biden presidency is expected to strike a relatively steady course at the Pentagon, seeking to restore stability in military decision-making while reemphasizing alliances and pressing ahead with efforts to respond to China’s rise. Analysts expect Biden to continue troop cuts in Afghanistan, where violence is surging as diplomats seek to advance peace talks. But while the Trump administration has sent mixed messages about whether it will withdraw all troops in coming months in line with a U.S.-Taliban deal, Biden’s campaign has suggested it would opt to leave a small force to counter al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

[Gen. Lloyd Austin, defense secretary nominee, brings deep combat experience and a connection with Biden]

Promising a break with often chaotic foreign policy, the new administration is expected to strike a less adversarial stance against Iran, which Trump has depicted as a chief American adversary.

Named

Lloyd J. Austin III

Retired Army general and U.S. Central Command chief

Austin rose to become a four-star general before retiring in 2016 as the chief of U.S. Central Command, from which he oversaw U.S. military operations across the Middle East for three years. His tenure there included the rise of the Islamic State, which began seizing cities in Iraq in 2014, and the U.S.-led military intervention to stop it. Austin’s selection could run into strong opposition from lawmakers who want to ensure civilian control of the military. As a recently retired military officer, he would have to gain a waiver from a law that states that any service member must be out of uniform for seven years before becoming defense secretary. If confirmed Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief.

Reported by Missy Ryan and Seung Min Kim.

Council of Economic Advisers chair

Currently: Tyler Beck Goodspeed (acting)

Under Trump, the chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers was removed from the president's Cabinet. Biden will reinstate the position, filled by the president's chief economist, to the Cabinet.

[Unveiling economic team, Biden pledges, ‘Help is on the way’]

Named

Cecilia Rouse

Princeton labor economist

A Princeton University labor economist, Rouse has spoken about the need for an urgent government response to the pandemic. She was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama and would be the first woman of color to chair the council.

Reported by Jeff Stein and Kevin Uhrmacher.

Secretary of Education

Currently: Betsy Devos

Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has rolled back some civil rights protections as well as Obama-era efforts to hold for-profit colleges accountable for poor outcomes. She has promoted alternatives to public schools and tried to slash federal funding for education. Biden is expected to reverse all of that, with more money for K-12 and higher education, new and revived civil rights protections and a focus on racial equity.

[Biden picks Miguel Cardona, Connecticut schools chief, as education secretary]

Named

Miguel Cardona

Connecticut commissioner of education

Cardona, a former fourth grade teacher, was named Connecticut’s education commissioner last year. Previously, he served as co-chairman of a state task force examining achievement gaps. A low-profile pick, he has pushed to reopen ­pandemic-shuttered schools and is not aligned with either side in the education policy battles of recent years.

Reported by Laura Meckler.

Secretary of Energy

Currently: Dan Brouillette

The Energy Department has been one of Trump's numerous fronts in rolling back environmental regulations. Under Biden, the department would likely move to tighten energy efficiency standards across industries and products and invest heavily in renewable energy. During the campaign, Biden introduced a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change that included pledges to eliminate carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2035, impose stricter gas mileage standards and fund investments to weatherize millions of homes and commercial buildings.

[Granholm reported to be Energy Secretary nominee]

Named

Jennifer Granholm

Former governor of Michigan

Granholm, a CNN contributor and former two-term Michigan governor, is an advocate for renewable energy jobs who led the hard-hit industrial state during the Great Recession.

Reported by Juliet Eilperin.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator

Currently: Andrew Wheeler

Biden is planning for a complete reversal of recent federal environmental policy after the Trump administration undertook a dramatic rollback in environmental protections. Over 100 environmental safeguards were removed across the past four years. Biden plans to impose stricter environmental standards on industry, a job that would be overseen by his next EPA administrator.

[Biden picks top North Carolina environmental official to run EPA]

Named

Michael S. Regan

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

In his current position, Regan oversees a state agency tasked with protecting North Carolina's environment and natural resources. He previously worked with the EPA's air quality and energy programs during the Clinton and Bush administrations. He has also served as the Associate Vice President of U.S. Climate and Energy and the Southeast Regional Director of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Reported by Dino Grandoni, Juliet Eilperin, Kate Rabinowitz and Steven Mufson.

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Currently: Alex Azar

The Department of Health and Human Services, one of the government’s largest, has been the Trump administration’s main vehicle to weaken the Affordable Care Act and shift health policy in a more conservative direction in other ways. The department has sought to let states require some people on Medicaid to work or prepare for jobs, a move blocked by the courts. It has restricted federal funding of research that uses human fetal tissue.

[Biden picks Xavier Becerra as nominee for health and human services secretary]

Though a Republican Congress failed to repeal the ACA, HHS took many steps though executive action. It slashed funding to help boost enrollment in the insurance marketplaces created under the law, ended one type of subsidy for insurers, and widened the availability of inexpensive health plans that can bypass the law’s rules for insurance benefits and consumer protections. In contrast, the ACA is the basis of plans President-elect Biden has advocated for helping more Americans get affordable health coverage. He says that federal insurance subsidies should expand to help more middle-class families. He wants ACA health plans to be given to poor residents of a dozen states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs under the law. Biden also has proposed lowering from 65 years old to 60 the age for people to join Medicare, the vast federal insurance programs for older Americans. All these changes would require Congress to adopt them.

Named

Xavier Becerra

California’s attorney general

Former congressman Becerra is the attorney general of California. An unorthodox pick, he has led a multistate lawsuit to preserve the Affordable Care Act. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately hit Black and Hispanic populations, he would be the first Latino to run HHS.

Reported by Amy Goldstein and Yasmeen Abutaleb.

Secretary of Homeland Security

Currently: Chad Wolf (acting)

Under President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security’s focus shifted notably from counterterrorism to immigration and border enforcement. Trump turned the nation’s third-largest federal entity into a powerful tool of domestic policy and electoral politics, using DHS to carry out a wide-ranging immigration crackdown and quell street protests in American cities.

[Biden picks Alejandro Mayorkas, a son of Jewish Cuban refugees, to lead the Department of Homeland Security]

Created after the Sept. 11 attacks to reassure the American public and project stability, DHS went through unprecedented leadership turmoil under Trump, with five secretaries in four years. Biden is expected to try to stabilize the department by returning its focus to a broad range of threats, including counterterrorism, cyber threats and the pandemic response.

Named

Alejandro Mayorkas

Former Obama immigration and homeland security official

Currently an attorney at the D.C. law firm WilmerHale, Mayorkas served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during President Obama’s first term, and was promoted to DHS deputy secretary under Jeh Johnson for Obama’s second term. Born in Cuba and raised mostly in Los Angeles, Mayorkas’s experience navigating the politics of immigration enforcement and border security could be an asset to Biden if the issue remains a topic of intense partisan focus. Mayorkas’s nomination could run into trouble over a 2015 report by the DHS inspector general faulting him for inappropriately helping several companies obtain employment visas. Mayorkas refuted those findings. He would be the first Latino and first immigrant to run that department.

Reported by Nick Miroff.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Currently: Ben Carson

Under the Trump administration, the agency gutted Obama-era fair lending and fair housing laws. The new secretary is expected to restore these laws and be a key player in carrying out Biden's campaign promises to expand affordable housing, increase the availability of Section 8 vouchers and tackle racial bias in housing.

[Fudge says she will prioritize dignity as HUD secretary ]

Named

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D)

Congresswoman from Ohio

Fudge has served as the congresswoman for Ohio's 11th District since 2008 and was previously mayor of Warrensville Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.

Reported by Kate Rabinowitz.

Secretary of the Interior

Currently: David Bernhardt

Under Trump, the Interior Department opened public lands and waters, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for fossil fuel extraction and logging. Biden pledges to reverse those efforts, aiming to restrict fossil fuel exploration on public lands and waters and expand conservation efforts.

[With historic picks, Biden puts environmental justice front and center]

Westerners have occupied the post for more than 120 years, with the single exception of Rogers Morton, who served under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Named

Rep. Deb Haaland (D)

Congresswoman from New Mexico

Haaland has served as congresswomen of New Mexico's 1st district since 2018. But picking her would be historic. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, would be the first Native American to run the department charged with overseeing federal and tribal lands.

Reported by Dino Grandoni, Juliet Eilperin, Kate Rabinowitz and Steven Mufson.

Attorney General, Department of Justice

Currently: William Barr

The Justice Department in the Trump administration most notably drew criticism for its leaders apparently bending to political pressure from Trump and getting involved in criminal cases involving the president's friends. Biden's Justice Department would probably seek to change that, restoring the department's historic independence on criminal matters.

[Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland as his attorney general]

Biden's Justice Department also is likely to focus more on forcing reforms at police departments through court and other actions. The Justice Department in the Trump administration had largely abandoned those efforts, positioning itself as defending the police from unfair criticism.

Named

Merrick B. Garland

Federal appeals court judge

Garland has served as a judge on the federal appeals court in D.C. since 1997 and was elevated to chief judge in 2013. He is best known for being nominated to the Supreme Court in 2016 by President Barack Obama – but Senate Republicans refused to give him a hearing, and the high court opening was eventually filled the following year by President Trump’s choice, Neil M. Gorsuch. Garland was nominated to the appeals court by President Bill Clinton, after a stint as a senior Justice Department official in which he oversaw the prosecution of the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.

Reported by Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, Matt Viser and Amy B Wang.

Secretary of Labor

Currently: Eugene Scalia

Under Trump, the Department of Labor has taken a largely employer- and industry-friendly approach that has frustrated worker advocates, labor unions and Democrats, and drawn particularly vocal outcry during the pandemic. The DOL passed rules that exempted large numbers of workers from the paid sick leave requirements in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and issued strict guidelines for unemployment insurance payouts to gig and self-employed workers that many saw as restrictive.

[Biden to name Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor]

Its workplace safety division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has declined to institute ironclad safety standards for the coronavirus, issuing only recommendations for employers instead of an enforceable set of rules. Before the pandemic, the Department took moves to restrict the ability of workers told hold joint employers accountable for wage and hour violations, and reduced the number of workers who were eligible for mandatory overtime payments.

Named

Marty Walsh

Boston mayor

Walsh, who got his union card in 1988 when he joined Laborers Local 223, has a long history in organized labor, most recently as the head of Boston Building Trades before he became mayor. He also served as a state representative for 16 years.

Reported by Eli Rosenberg.

Office of Management and Budget director

Currently: Russ Vought

The White House budget office acts as the nerve center of the government, an elite career workforce that prepares and helps administer the annual spending plan and helps set fiscal and personnel policy for federal agencies.

[Biden’s pick to lead White House budget office emerges as lightning rod for GOP]

Named

Neera Tanden

President, Center for American Progress

Tanden, president of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, was a key player in passing the Affordable Care Act. Her outspoken critiques of Republicans on Twitter have drawn outcry from some in the GOP. She would be the first woman of color to oversee the OMB. She would be the first woman of color to oversee OMB.

Reported by Lisa Rein and Jeff Stein.

Director of National Intelligence

Currently: John Ratcliffe

The director of national intelligence serves as the president’s primary intelligence adviser and leader of the U.S. intelligence community. The DNI historically hasn’t been a political role, but under Trump, it has been held twice by loyalists who used their authority to advance Trump’s claims that he was the target of a conspiracy by intelligence officials. Under Biden, the DNI is expected to revert to the norm and act as a manager and setter of priorities for the agency.

[Biden to nominate Avril Haines as next director of national intelligence; she would be the first woman to hold the position]

Named

Avril Haines

Former deputy national security adviser

Haines served as deputy national security adviser during President Obama’s second term and before that as the first female deputy director of the CIA. She also was deputy counsel for national security affairs in the White House Counsel’s Office in the Obama administration. She would be the first woman to head the intelligence community.

Reported by Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima.

Presidential science adviser

Biden has elevated the presidential science adviser, who counsels the president on a broad range of scientific and technological topics, to be a member of the Cabinet. The adviser leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

[Biden will elevate White House science office to cabinet-level]

Named

Eric Lander

MIT and Harvard University Professor

Lander, a mathematician and geneticist, co-chaired the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology under Obama and helped map the human genome. His background in life sciences is unusual for heads of OSTP, who have typically been physicists, able to advise the president on issues related to nuclear weapons and related technologies. His nomination suggests the importance of biology expertise in the midst of covid-19 pandemic.

Reported by Kate Rabinowitz and Sarah Kaplan.

Small Business Administration head

Currently: Jovita Carranza

The agency, which supports small-business owners and entrepreneurs, has been under fire recently for its management of a loan program intended to help small businesses weather the pandemic.

Named

Isabel Guzman

Director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate

Guzman served as senior adviser and chief of staff in the federal agency during the Obama administration. She has run her own small businesses and previously worked at a commercial bank.

Secretary of State

Currently: Mike Pompeo

In the Trump administration, scores of veteran diplomats left after their loyalty to Trump was questioned and career employees were replaced by political appointees.

[Biden picks Antony Blinken as secretary of state, emphasizing experience and the foreign policy establishment]

Under Biden, the State Department is expected to be at the forefront of reversing some key Trump-era policies and restoring the centrality of diplomacy in foreign policy and battered U.S. credibility. Priorities include rebuilding strained alliances with Europe, returning to a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, corralling global efforts to combat climate change and possibly changing course with Iran if the U.S. reenters the nuclear treaty Trump abandoned. They also are expected to maintain pressure on China over human rights and trade issues.

Named

Antony Blinken

Former deputy secretary of state and longtime Biden foreign policy aide

Blinken is a longtime Biden confident with decades of experience in Congress. During the Obama administration, Blinken served as deputy national security adviser from 2013 to 2015 and the deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017. Since the start of Biden’s presidential campaign, Blinken has been on leave as managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, to serve as Biden’s foreign policy adviser.

Reported by John Hudson and Carol Morello.

U.S. Trade Representative

Currently: Robert Lighthizer

Normally a low-profile outpost, the position of chief trade negotiator became one of the Trump administration’s most consequential jobs. Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, an experienced trade attorney, was the intellectual muscle behind the president’s “America First” sentiments, driving a protectionist revolution in U.S. policy.With USTR’s help, Trump imposed tariffs on solar panels, washing machines, steel and aluminum along with much of what Americans import from China. Lighthizer, a fierce critic of the World Trade Organization, hammered out new agreements with South Korea, Mexico and Canada, and China. But he failed to achieve Trump’s goal of narrowing the U.S. trade deficit and left many U.S. allies irritated by his uncompromising stance.

[Biden selects Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative]

Biden has said he plans no early reversal of the Trump tariffs, though that could come later. He also plans investments in infrastructure, education and manufacturing before seeking new trade deals. And he has proposed a $400 billion “Buy America” initiative, which could require renegotiating some existing accords.

Named

Katherine Tai

Chief trade counsel, House Ways & Means Committee

Along with substantial experience on Capitol Hill, Tai spent seven years as a USTR attorney specializing in enforcing trade agreements with China. She is well-regarded by both the corporate and progressive wings of the party and is backed by prominent lawmakers, including Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. A group of 10 female House Democrats led by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Judy Chu wrote Biden backing Tai as “uniquely qualified” for the job.

Reported by Amy B Wang and David J. Lynch.

Secretary of Transportation

Currently: Elaine Chao

The Trump administration issued a set of weaker carbon dioxide emissions standards for cars and SUVs and took a largely hands off approach to dealing with new technologies like automated vehicles. The fight against climate change will shape the Biden administration’s transportation policies. It is expected to stiffen emissions standards once again, and promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

[Biden says Buttigieg will play key role in rebuilding country after pandemic]

A grand bargain in Congress on infrastructure spending eluded the Trump administration, and reaching a spending deal to repair road and bridges and expand access to transit is expected to be another major focus for the new administration.

Named

Pete Buttigieg

Former South Bend, Ind. mayor, presidential candidate

Buttigieg is a former intelligence officer for the Navy Reserve who served in Afghanistan. He was a Rhodes scholar and McKinsey and Co. consultant, and the first openly gay major party candidate to win delegates in a bid for the White House before dropping out in March and endorsing Biden. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay confirmed Cabinet member.

Reported by Ian Duncan and Michael Laris.

Secretary of the Treasury

Currently: Steve Mnuchin

The Biden administration is expected to prioritize a massive stimulus package to shore up the economy’s shaky recovery. Biden also campaigned on tax increases for businesses and some of the wealthiest Americans — issues that the next secretary will have to pursue.

[Biden’s economic team set to prepare ambitious recovery plan, challenging Republicans’ renewed debt worries]

Named

Janet Yellen

Former chair of the Federal Reserve

Yellen has served as chair of the Federal Reserve, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and as a top economic adviser to President Bill Clinton. She was the first female chair of the Fed, serving from 2014 to 2018. Her term as chair was marked by lowering unemployment, record highs in the stock market and low inflation. Despite this, she was the first Fed chair not to be reappointed after serving a first full term. If approved, she would be the first female Treasury secretary.

Reported by Jeff Stein and Kate Rabinowitz.

United Nations ambassador

Currently: Kelly Craft

Under Trump, the U.N. ambassador was removed from the president's Cabinet, as part of a larger retreat from diplomacy and the world stage. Biden will reinstate the ambassador to the Cabinet as his administration aims to reverse Trump's "America First" foreign policy.

[Biden’s choice for UN envoy signals return to US engagement]

Named

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Former top U.S. diplomat to Africa and career Foreign Service officer

Thomas-Greenfield served as the top U.S. diplomat to Africa under President Obama, an assistant secretary job that capped her 35-year career in the Foreign Service. Known as “LTG” among State Department rank-and-file, Thomas-Greenfield retired in 2017 after Trump took power and joined the Albright Stonebridge advisory firm as a senior counselor where she worked with her mentor former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Reported by John Hudson.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Currently: Robert Wilkie

Veterans were a crucial constituency for Trump, who expanded their options to receive private health care outside the VA system. Biden, while not pledging to halt private care, has said he would work to build up the government-run system by filling thousands of vacancies for doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

[Some veterans groups are disappointed that Biden’s pick for VA chief never served in uniform]

Named

Denis McDonough

Former White House Chief of Staff

McDonough was Obama’s chief of staff during his second term, but he previously served as deputy national security adviser and as chief of staff to the National Security Council.

Reported by Lisa Rein.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director

Currently: Robert R. Redfield

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director will oversee the U.S. national public health institute to protect America from health, safety and security threats. The CDC director will coordinate the agency response to the coronavirus. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

[Biden’s choice to run CDC is a respected specialist who is unafraid to speak her mind]

Named

Rochelle Walensky

Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital

Walensky heads the infectious-diseases department at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the nation’s storied medical centers, and is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Walensky began her medical career at the height of the AIDS crisis and continued working on research, treat, and combat infectious diseases. Her research has included topics such as the effectiveness of treatment in stopping HIV’s spread and cardiovascular disease among people receiving HIV medicine in South Africa.

Reported by Lena H. Sun.

Central Intelligence Agency director

Currently: Gina Haspel

The Central Intelligence Agency clandestinely gathers information around the world, primarily through a network of human sources. It has also played a key role in U.S. counterterrorism operations. Trump has often assailed the agency as a den of “deep state” conspirators who tried to undermine his election in 2016 and his presidency. Biden is expected to appoint a director who emphasizes the agency’s core mission and invigorates efforts to collect intelligence on nation-states, primarily Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

[Biden taps William J. Burns, longtime diplomat, as next CIA director]

Named

William J. Burns

Former career diplomat

Burns worked at the State Department for 33 years, including serving as ambassador to Russia and Jordan and three years as deputy secretary of state. He left the State Department in 2014 and soon after became president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Reported by Shane Harris.

Surgeon general

Currently: Jerome Adams

America's top doctor is expected to be part of a team of health-care officials charged with tackling the coronavirus, an issue Biden has said would be his top priority upon taking office.

Named

Vivek H. Murthy

Biden covid-19 advisory board co-chair

Murthy co-chairs the transition’s covid-19 advisory board. He served as surgeon general during the latter part of Obama’s tenure and the first months of the Trump administration.

Reported by Toluse Olorunnipa and Amy Goldstein.

White House climate coordinator

The White House climate coordinator will focus on domestic climate policy and oversee a broad interagency effort to leverage the federal government’s powers to cut greenhouse gas emissions. While traditional players such as EPA and the Interior and Energy departments will regulate climate pollutants directly, departments including Treasury, Transportation and Agriculture will also use policy to try to tackle climate change.

[Biden picks former EPA chief Gina McCarthy as White House climate czar]

Named

Gina McCarthy

Former EPA administrator

McCarthy heads the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has sued the Trump administration more than 100 times. She ran the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration.

Reported by Juliet Eilperin.

Special envoy for climate

Biden pledged to reverse Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and to encourage other nations to increase their commitments. During the campaign, Biden introduced a $2 trillion plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2035.

[Biden names John Kerry as presidential climate envoy]

Biden will also elevate a special envoy for climate, a position outside the Cabinet that would not require Senate confirmation and will focus on foreign policy.

Named

John F. Kerry

Former secretary of state and senator from Massachusetts

As secretary of state during Obama's second term, Kerry helped negotiate and signed the Paris climate agreement on lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Reported by Kevin Uhrmacher.

Coronavirus coordinator

Combatting the coronavirus will be at the top of Biden's agenda after assuming the presidency. The coronavirus coordinator will oversee the administration's response and coordinate across federal agencies to increase testing and distribute vaccines.

Named

Jeff Zients

Former Obama administration official

Zients is co-chairman of the Biden transition team and most recently worked as president of investment firm Cranemere. Under Obama, he was appointed the first chief performance officer and served as deputy director -- and twice acting director -- of OMB, where he was most well-known for overhauling healthcare.gov after a calamitous rollout. He later headed Obama's National Economic Council.

Reported by Kate Rabinowitz.

Council on Environmental Quality chair

Currently: Mary Bridget Neumayr

The council works closely with executive agencies to shape federal environmental and energy policy and to ensure individual communities have a voice in the construction of pipelines, roads and other potentially polluting projects.

[Biden taps environmental law expert Brenda Mallory to head White House Council on Environmental Quality]

Named

Brenda Mallory

Environmental law expert

Mallory, a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, has spent decades working on environmental issues both inside and outside of government, and that experience is a major reason Biden chose her for the role — along with the fact that she would represent a historic choice as the first African American to head the office, said those familiar with his thinking.

Reported by Brady Dennis.

National Security Adviser

Currently: Robert C. O'Brien

The national security adviser is a gatekeeper of sorts, coordinating the views of the military, the State Department and the intelligence community and helping the president understand the policy choices available. Trump has rarely sought or heeded the counsel of his national security adviser. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose a policy expert with whom he has had a long working relationship.

[Biden picks Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser]

Named

Jake Sullivan

Top policy adviser to Biden’s campaign

Sullivan served as Biden's national security adviser during the Obama years and was a senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.

Reported by Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima.

White House press secretary

Currently: Kayleigh McEnany

The press secretary is the mouthpiece of the administration, interacting with the media and the White House press corps to deliver the administration's updates and perspectives. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

[Biden hires all-female senior communications team]

Named

Jennifer Psaki

Former White House communications director

Psaki did a stint as White House communications director under President Obama. She worked on the transition team, and also served as a spokeswoman for then Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who will serve in the Biden administration as a special envoy for climate.

Reported by Kate Rabinowitz and Annie Linskey.

Senior White House roles

Advisers and strategists play a key role in shaping the president's agenda. Under Trump, notable figures included Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. These positions do not require Senate confirmation.

[Biden builds White House team and tries to show dangers of Trump’s intransigence]

Named

Kate Bedingfield

Communications director

Bedingfield was deputy campaign manager and a frequent spokesperson for Biden's presidential campaign. She was appointed communications director for Biden in 2015. Under the Obama administration she also served as deputy director of media affairs and the director of response. After the 2016 election, she worked in communications for the entertainment and sports industry.

Anthony Bernal

Senior adviser to Jill Biden

Bernal is a longtime adviser to Jill Biden, most recently serving as her deputy campaign manager and chief of staff. He began his White House career as part of the scheduling and advance teams during the Clinton years and served in multiple roles for the Obama White House.

Brian Deese

Director of the National Economic Council

Deese served for all eight years of the Obama administration in a variety of roles, ending as senior adviser to the president. He played a central role in the auto industry bailouts and Paris climate accord. After the Obama administration he joined the investment firm BlackRock.

Mike Donilon

Senior adviser to the president

Donilon is a veteran political strategist who has advised the president-elect for nearly four decades, including during Biden's previous stint in the Obama White House.

Tina Flournoy

Chief of staff to the vice president

Flournoy most recently served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. She is one of a group of pioneering Black women with long resumes at the highest levels of Democratic politics, playing key roles in the Clinton and Gore presidential campaigns and the Democratic National Committee.

Rohini Kosoglu

Domestic policy adviser to the vice president

Longtime aide Kosoglu became Harris’s deputy chief of staff when Harris first joined the Senate in 2016 and has moved up the ranks of Harris's inner circle in the years since. She previously worked for Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Jen O'Malley Dillon

Deputy chief of staff

O'Malley Dillon became Biden's campaign manager earlier this year, stepping onboard as the team retooled after struggling in the early nominating contests. A veteran of Barack Obama's 2012 reelection run, she managed former congressman Beto O'Rourke's unsuccessful Democratic presidential bid in 2019.

Dana Remus

Counsel to the president

Remus most recently worked as general counsel to Biden's presidential campaign. Under Obama, Remus was the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel for ethics. She went on to work for the Obama Foundation and for the Obamas' personal offices.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon

Chief of staff to Jill Biden

Reynoso is a former ambassador to Uruguay who served in the State Department under Obama. Before joining Biden's team, she was a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn.

Steve Ricchetti

Counselor to the president

Ricchetti is one of Biden's most trusted strategists and served as his chief of staff when Biden was vice president. He was a liaison to the Senate under Bill Clinton. Outside of government service he worked as a registered lobbyist.

Susan Rice

Domestic Policy Council Director

Rice worked closely with Biden during her time as President Obama’s national security adviser from 2013 to 2017. Prior to her job in the White House, she served as U.N. ambassador from 2009 to 2013 and worked in the State Department during the Clinton administration.

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D)

Senior adviser to the president

Richmond is one of Biden's most prominent African American allies and will also serve as Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He was an early supporter of Biden who frequently campaigned for him and appeared on television on his behalf.

Julie Rodriguez

Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Rodriguez was deputy campaign manager on Biden's presidential campaign. She joined from Harris's presidential campaign, whose Senate office she had previously worked for. She served as special assistant to the president during the Obama administration, as well as other roles in the White House and Interior Department.

Symone Sanders

Chief spokeswoman to the vice president

Before joining the Biden campaign, Sanders was a political analyst and commentator. She served as national press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential run. She would be the first African American to hold the job.

Annie Tomasini

Director of Oval Office operations

Tomasini has served as Biden’s traveling chief of staff and worked with the Bidens for over a decade. Prior to that, she worked in public relations for Harvard University.

Reported by Sean Sullivan, Kate Rabinowitz and Chelsea Jane.
correction

A previous version of this graphic misidentified some of Obama's appointees. Gary Locke is Chinese American, Ken Salazar is Hispanic and Ray LaHood is Lebanese American.

About this story

Originally published Nov. 12. Cabinet shown based on current roles included in that group, as well as United Nations ambassador and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, which Biden plans to return to Cabinet-rank. A transition official told The Post that CIA director, elevated to Cabinet-level by Trump, will not be included in Biden’s Cabinet.

By Kate Rabinowitz, Lauren Tierney and Kevin Schaul. Additional contributions from Brittany Renee Mayes. Editing by Kevin Uhrmacher.