President-elect Barack Obama has decided to ask Robert Gates to stay on as Defence Secretary for some time, according to media reports.
It would be the first time a Pentagon chief has been carried over by a president of a different party, The New York Times said.
During the campaign, Gates disagreed with Obama over the idea of a timetable for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, but after the election some chemistry is said to have developed between the two.
Obama has said he will include a Republican in his Cabinet, and this move would also ensure continuity at the Defence Department in a time of war. Gates is widely respected by Democrats in Congress, but some of Obama's early anti-war supporters are unhappy.
Obama is expected to name his defence secretary, secretary of state and other members of the national security team next week. Because of the state of the economy, Obama has led off with announcements on his money team.
In addition to Hillary Clinton at State, the team is expected to include retired Marine Gen. James Jones as national security adviser. Jones, 64, has been “a respectful critic” of some aspects of the Bush administration’s war strategy, especially in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, John Brennan, a former CIA official who was the leading candidate to be the agency’s director, withdrew from consideration because of opposition from several groups. The groups accused Brennan of being a supporter of harsh interrogation tactics, a charge he denied.