Cabinet Tracker

President Barack Obama may be staying put for four more years, but many of the top officials he appointed to agency posts are eyeing the exits. Federal News...

LAST UPDATED: Aug. 1 2013

President Barack Obama may be staying put for four more years, but many of the top officials he appointed to agency posts are eyeing the exits.

Federal News Radio’s Cabinet Tracker will follow the comings and goings of the leaders in his Cabinet (and other high-level presidential appointees) heading into Obama’s second term.

Find out who’s staying, who’s leaving and who has yet to announce their plans. Federal News Radio will continuously update the Cabinet Tracker.

Agriculture | Air Force | ATF | Census | CIA | CMS | Commerce | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau | Defense | Education | Energy | EPA | FAA | FBI | FCC | Federal Chief Information Officer | Federal Chief Technology Officer | FHFA | GSA | HHS | DHS | HUD | ICE | Interior | IRS | Justice | Labor | NOAA | National Security Adviser | NRC | Office of Federal Procurement Policy | OMB | OPM | PTO | SBA | SEC | Secret Service | SSA | State | Transportation | Treasury | Veterans Affairs

Agriculture Department

Tom Vilsack
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will keep his job in President Obama’s second term. A USDA spokesman said the President asked Vilsack to stay on and Vilsack accepted.

Air Force

Michael Donley
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley will step down in June after nearly five years on the job, the Air Force announced. Donley, whose last day with the service will be June 21, is the longest serving secretary in Air Force history.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

B. Todd Jones

The Senate approved July 31 the nomination of B. Scott Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. Jones had been serving as acting ATF director since September 2011, following the resignation of former acting director Kenneth Melson. ATF has not had a permanent director since 2006.


John Brennan
The Senate confirmed John Brennan as the next director of the CIA on March 7, 2013. Previously, Brennan served as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Former CIA Director David Petraeus resigned unexpectedly Nov. 9 in the wake of public disclosures of an extramarital affair.

Census Bureau

Robert Groves Robert Groves stepped down as head of the Census Bureau in August 2012 to become provost of Georgetown University. President Barack Obama announced he would nominate John Thompson, president and CEO of the University of Chicago’s National Opinion and Research Center, to head the office. Thompson previously served in a variety of roles at the Census, including associate director. John Thompson

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Marilyn Tavenner
By an overwhelming 91-7 vote, the Senate confirmed Marilyn Tavenner, a former nurse, to oversee the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS has a $850 billion budget. Tavenner was named the acting commissioner in December 2011, after Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s previous nominee, Don Berwick.

Commerce Department

Penny Pritzker The Senate confirmed billionaire business executive Penny Pritzker June 25 in a 97-1 vote. President Obama nominated Pritzker, a 2008 campaign fundraiser, in May. Pritzker replaces acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, who is leaving the administration to serve as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the meantime, Commerce Department general counsel Cameron Kerry, John Kerry’s brother, has been named acting secretary.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Richard Cordray
Obama nominated Richard Cordray to stay on as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The President used a recess appointment last year to bypass Congress, which expires at the end of the year.

Defense Department

Chuck Hagel
The Senate confirmed former Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to head the Pentagon. Hagel succeeds Leon Panetta.

Education Department

Arne Duncan

An Education Department official says Secretary Arne Duncan will remain in President Obama’s Cabinet into a second term.

Energy Department

Ernest Moniz The Senate confirmed President Obama’s choice to head up the Energy Department, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz. He takes over for departing Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who had served as head of the department since 2009.

Environmental Protection Agency

Gina McCarthy The Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency June 18 after months of Republican opposition. Senate leaders reached a deal to allow votes on seven nominations, including McCarthy’s. She succeeds Lisa Jackson, who had served as administrator since 2009.


Robert Mueller Robert Mueller, the long-time director of the FBI, will step down this fall. The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick to succeed Mueller, former Justice Department official James Comey, in a 93-1 vote on July 30. James Comey


President Obama nominated Tom Wheeler, former head of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, and the National Cable Television Association, to be the next head of the Federal Communications Commission. Current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced in March he would step down after a four-year tenure at the agency.

Federal Aviation Administration

Michael Huerta
On Jan. 1, the Senate confirmed Michael Huerta to lead the Federal Aviation Administration. Huerta had served as acting administrator since December 2011 when Randy Babbitt resigned following a drunken driving arrest. (A judge later threw out the arrest.)

Federal Chief Information Officer

Steven VanRoekel
Steven VanRoekel was named the federal chief information officer in August 2011. He ended speculation about his future in Obama’s second term by tweeting: “Those who asked if I am staying with the Administration – four words – 2 Legit 2 Quit” on Nov. 9.

Federal Chief Technology Officer

Todd Park
Todd Park, who has only held the top White House tech post since March, is expected to stay on. Federal IT insiders say they’re not hearing much chatter that either Park or VanRoekel are preparing an exit, according to Nextgov.

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Edward Demarco
President Obama tapped Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In that capacity, Watt will oversee government-controlled mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Watt will succeed acting FHFA director Edward DeMarco. Mel Watt

General Services Administration

Dan Tangherlini
The Senate confirmed Tangherlini June 27 to serve as the permanent head of the General Services Administration. Tangherlini was named acting director of the General Services Administration in April following the abrupt resignation of Martha Johnson after agency investigators uncovered evidence of wasteful spending.

Health and Human Services Department

Kathleen Sebelius
White House officials confirmed in January that Sebelius would stay on for Obama’s second term. Because the health care law’s major provisions don’t take effect until 2014 and getting Senate confirmation of a successor would likely be difficult, Sebelius was expected to stay.

Homeland Security Department

Janet Napolitano

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced July 12, she would step down from her post in September 2013 to head up the University of California Board of Regents.

Housing and Urban Development

Shaun Donovan
Donovan hasn’t provided many hints one way or the other about whether he’ll stay in his post. In an appearance on C-SPAN in October, Donovan said: “I anticipate being able to make that decision when he’s re- elected.” National Journal reported that most Washington watchers expect Donovan to stay on.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement

John Morton Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton announced June 17 he would step down at the end of July to work in the private sector. Morton had served as ICE director since May 2009. No word yet on a possible successor.

Interior Department

Sally Jewell President Barack Obama nominated Sally Jewell, the president and CEO of outdoors company Recreational Equipment, Inc., (REI), to be the secretary of the Interior Department. The Senate confirmed Jewell April 10.

Internal Revenue Service

Danny Werfel
President Obama appointed Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel to serve as acting IRS commissioner. On Aug. 1, Obama announced he would nominate restructuring expert John Koskinen, formerly of Freddie Mac and the Office of Management and Budget, to a full five-year term as IRS commissioner. John Koskinen

Justice Department

Eric Holder

Despite much speculation, Attorney General Eric Holder will stay on for Obama’s second term, according to White House officials.

Labor Department

Thomas Perez The Senate confirmed Thomas Pereze to serve as secretary of Labor July 18 after months of Republican opposition. Senate leaders reached a deal to allow votes on seven nominations, including Perez’s. He succeeds Hilda Solis, who announced her resignation Jan. 9.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Jane Lubchenco

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator Jane Lubchenco stepped down as NOAA administrator in February. President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Mark Schaefer to serve as NOAA administrator and assistant secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere at the Commerce Department. Schaefer currently serves as the deputy executive director for Environmental Conflict Resolution at the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, an independent executive branch agency.

National Security Adviser

Tom Donilon Tom Donilon, White House national security adviser, announced he would step down in July after serving four years in the Obama White House. President Barack Obama announced he would appoint Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as Donilon’s successor. Susan Rice

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Allison Macfarlane
The Senate confirmed Allison Macfarlane for a full term as chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on June 27. Macfarlane had been leading the commission on an acting basis for about a year.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy

Joe Jordan
Obama nominated Jordan, a former SBA official, to fill the vacancy left by Dan Gordon. The Senate confirmed Jordan in May 2012. Since Jordan has only recently taken over the role, it seems unlikely he would step down in the near future.

Office of Management and Budget

Sylvia Mathews Burwell The Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell to run the Office of Management and Budget by a 96-0 vote. Burwell is the former deputy budget director and president of the Walmart Foundation. Jeff Zients, who had been serving as acting director, will return to his deputy director for management role.

Office of Personnel Management

John Berry
On May 23, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Katherine Archuleta as the next director of OPM. Elaine Kaplan, OPM’s general counsel, has been serving as acting director since John Berry stepped down when his term expired April 14.
Katherine Archuleta

Patent and Trademark Office

David Kappos
Kappos announced to PTO employees he would stay on through January 2013 and then step down. He led the agency since 2009 and helped oversee implementation of a major congressional overhaul of patent law. The Wall Street Journal reported that Teresa Stanek Rea, the office’s deputy director, will take over after he steps down. No word yet on a permanent successor.

Small Business Administration

Karen Mills
Small Business Administration head Karen Mills announced she would step down after a successor is named. No word yet on a possible replacement.

Securities and Exchange Commission

Mary Jo White The Senate confirmed Mary Jo White’s nomination to serve as the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission April 8. White, a former U.S. attorney, replaces Mary Schapiro, who left the agency in December.

Secret Service

Julia Pierson

President Obama named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson to be the agency’s first female director.

Pierson was most recently the Secret Service’s chief of staff. She will succeed Mark Sullivan, who announced that he was stepping down in February.

Pierson’s appointment does not require Senate approval.

Social Security Administration

Michael Astrue
Michael Astrue, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in February 2007, will step down Jan. 19, when his six-year term expires. The White House hasn’t made indications of a possible replacement yet.

Possible Replacements:

  • Nancy Altman, who serves on two Social Security advocacy organizations, has been floated as a possible replacement.

State Department

John Kerry
After being confirmed by the Senate, former Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry took over as Secretary of State on Feb. 4, 2013.

Transportation Department

Anthony Foxx The Senate unanimously confirmed Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., to be transportation secretary. President Obama nominated Foxx to succeed outgoing secretary Ray LaHood in April.

Treasury Department

Jack Lew
Jack Lew was confirmed as the next Treasury Secretary on Feb. 20, 2013. Lew takes over for Tim Geithner who had served as Treasury secretary since 2009. Lew previously served as White House Chief of Staff and as budget director.

Veterans Affairs Department

Eric Shinseki

The White House confirmed that Shinseki would stay on for the second term.


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