President Barack Obama on Monday made two key nominations to fill the posts of CIA director and Defense Secretary.
He has tapped his chief counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan to head up the CIA.
He is a 25-year veteran of the agency and has been the president's top counter terrorism aide since the beginning of his administration.
The president praised Brennan as one of the most skilled and respected intelligence professionals.
"A 25-year veteran of the CIA, John knows what our national security demands, intelligence that provides policy makers with the facts, strong analytic insights and keen understanding of a dynamic world," Obama said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Brennan would succeed former CIA chief David Petraeus, who resigned in November after admitting to an affair with his biographer.
The president is also nominating former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
The 66-year-old Republican is a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served two terms in the Senate.
The president praised Hagel, saying he is the leader that US troops deserve.
"Chuck Hagel's leadership of our military would be historic. He'd be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department," Obama said.
Hagel is expected to face tough questions from his former GOP colleagues on his stances on Israel and Iran.
If confirmed, he would replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.