Panetta, Mabus Said to Be Among Candidates to Replace Defense Chief Gates

Obama administration officials are considering Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta, Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as possible replacements for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to an administration official.

Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, is also among the candidates being looked at to succeed Gates, who previously has said that he plans to retire sometime this year, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about the selection process.

President Barack Obama will be replacing his Pentagon chief as the U.S. undergoes a transition in Afghanistan and winds down operations in Iraq. Obama has set mid-2011 as the target for the beginning of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, pending an assessment of security conditions.

Bloomberg
4/11/11