Escalating tensions with Iran have roots in new data on its nuclear capacity showing the regime could develop a ‘fully functional’ nuclear missile in under a year
Budget: $19.1 billion
Secretary designate: Mike Johanns
The son of a small dairy farmer from Iowa who went on to become governor of Nebraska, Mr. Johanns will take over a department that has seen its budget decline as funds are shifted to homeland security.
Budget: $5.8 billion
Secretary designate: Carlos Gutierrez
Mr. Gutierrez has the kind of up-by-the-bootstraps story the president loves: He's a Cuban immigrant who got his start delivering Kellogg's breakfast cereal in Mexico City-then worked his way up to CEO of the company. As the nation's top business advocate, he'll have the task of selling other CEOs on policies ranging from tax reform to ending corporate welfare.
Budget: $371 billion
Secretary: Donald Rumsfeld
Despite rampant speculation to the contrary, Mr. Rumsfeld survived the president's purge to lead the Cabinet's largest department into a second term. Wildly popular after successful invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, he's seen his credibility undermined-even within the GOP-by the unexpected difficulties of nation-building.
Budget: $57.3 billion
Secretary designate: Margaret Spellings
Ms. Spellings is regarded as a Bush confidante, having served as his chief education adviser during his days as governor. A vocal champion of public education, she elicits some skepticism among proponents of Christian schools. Thanks to Mr. Bush's sweeping No Child Left Behind policy, she takes over a newly empowered bureaucracy that conservatives had once slated for extinction.
Budget: $24.3 billion (gross)
Employees: 16,100 federal, 100,000 contract
Secretary designate: Samuel Bodman
After bouncing around as deputy secretary in several other departments, Mr. Bodman finally got his nomination for a top spot. He'll spearhead the administration's agenda for energy independence, including oil drilling in Alaska and the creation of hydrogen-powered automobiles.
Health and Human Services
Budget: $66.8 billion
Secretary designate: Mike Leavitt
As the point man on moral issues ranging from cloning to abstinence education, Mr. Leavitt is drawing intense scrutiny from family groups. As a Mormon, the former Utah governor is generally pro-life, but some conservatives have questioned his record, including his decision to drop the state's federal court battle to uphold a tough anti-abortion law.
Budget: $40 billion
Secretary designate: Michael Chertoff
After the implosion of his high-profile nominee (former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik), President Bush tapped Mr. Chertoff, a relatively unknown federal judge, to lead the newest bureaucracy in Washington. His long legal career seems to have little bearing on national security, but he wins praise from both sides of the aisle in Congress.
Housing and Urban Development
Budget: $31.3 billion
Secretary: Alphonso Jackson
Mr. Jackson moved up to the top spot after serving three years as deputy secretary at HUD. He previously ran a $13 billion utility company in Austin, Texas, as well as the public housing authorities in Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Budget: $10.8 billion
Secretary: Gale Norton
Ms. Norton, a former Colorado attorney general, maintains a generally low profile within the administration despite her sprawling portfolio, which includes managing 20 percent of the nation's land and one-third of its energy supply.
Budget: $22 billion
Secretary designate: Alberto Gonzales
Plucked from the relative obscurity of a Houston law firm, Mr. Gonzales was named to one high-level post after another by then-Gov. George W. Bush: general counsel to the governor, Texas secretary of state, and justice of the state Supreme Court. He moved with his mentor to Washington, serving as the president's legal counsel since 2001. Despite his tough reputation on law-and-order issues-he authored a controversial memo justifying the torture of terrorist suspects-Mr. Gonzales is suspected of being moderate on issues such as abortion.
Budget: $11.9 billion
Secretary: Elaine Chao
As the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Cabinet, Ms. Chao brings a strong professional resumé but weak personal ties to the president. Much of her career was spent in nonprofits: heading up the Peace Corps, for instance, and leading the United Way out of a financial scandal. Charged with overseeing federal labor laws, her department is a darling of Democratic administrations but is virtually invisible under Republican regimes.
Budget: $10.3 billion
Secretary designate: Condoleezza Rice
One of Mr. Bush's closest advisers will now be the most prominent member of his Cabinet. As the first black woman at the helm of State, Ms. Rice adds not only diversity, but also an impeccable resumé in foreign affairs. Long recognized for her academic expertise, she'll now face the challenge of selling the president's hawkish policies to a dovish department and a skeptical international community.
Budget: $61.6 billion
Secretary: Norman Mineta
One of more than 100,000 Japanese- Americans forced into World War II internment camps, Mr. Mineta became the first Asian to serve in the Cabinet when President Clinton appointed him to head the Commerce Department. Tapped by President Bush to lead Transportation in 2001, he was the first secretary to move directly from a Democratic to a Republican Cabinet. Credited with creating the Transportation Security Administration from a blank sheet of paper, he remains popular with leaders of both parties.
Budget: $10.8 billion
Secretary: John Snow
President Bush made a point of struggling publicly before asking his Treasury secretary to stay on for a second term. A well-regarded former chairman of railroad giant CSX, Mr. Snow also served in a variety of positions at the Transportation Department. As the point man on the economy, he'll be expected to reassure the markets at a time when interest rates are rising and the dollar is declining.
Budget: $51 billion
Secretary designate: Jim Nicholson
After earning two medals in Vietnam, Mr. Nicholson went on to a career in politics (national chairman of the GOP) and diplomacy (U.S. ambassador to the Vatican). His tenure at the VA will likely coincide with the return of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops from Iraq, putting a new strain on the department's healthcare infrastructure.
-with reporting by Kristin Chapman