Video: Clintons’ road ahead leads back to Middle East

updated 1/8/2009 1:09:47 PM ET 2009-01-08T18:09:47

Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't waiting to be confirmed to name her team, settling already on several senior positions, say Democratic sources and officials familiar with the transition.

Clinton will retain respected career diplomat William Burns in his current position as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the department's third-highest post, and will select Kurt Campbell, a Pentagon official in her husband's administration, to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, they said.

Clinton also is expected to appoint former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross to high-profile special envoy posts, the officials said. Holbrooke will serve as a special advisor for Pakistan and Afghanistan and Ross is likely as a special advisor for the Middle East and Iran, they said.

Philip Gordon, a former director for European affairs at the National Security Council, will be nominated to be assistant secretary of state for European affairs, the sources said.

In addition, Clinton will keep Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, who oversees the department's far-flung worldwide operations, in his post, and will name Princeton University professor Anne Marie Slaughter to be director of policy planning, they said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the appointments, some of which require Senate confirmation, have not been formally announced.

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