President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry as his secretary of state.
Kerry's nomination marks Obama's first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term.
Obama said he was certain Kerry would be quickly confirmed by the Senate.
If confirmed, Kerry will take the helm at the State Department from outgoing Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Massachusetts senator is expected to be easily approved for the Cabinet post by his longtime Capitol Hill colleagues.
Kerry leapt to the front of Obama's list for the State Department job after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week.
The official requested anonymity in order to discuss the announcement ahead of Obama.
Obama had planned to issue Kerry's nomination along with several others including defense and CIA director, but continued issued with some nominees prompted him to go ahead with Kerry's solo.
Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has been an unofficial administration emissary to such world hotspots like Africa and Pakistan.
The senator will have to undergo a confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, a unique juxtaposition as he lobbies for his appointment before his own panel.
If Kerry is confirmed, Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick will have to appoint a temporary replacement while a special election campaign is held in the ensuing 145 days to 160 days.
Senator Scott Brown, a Republican has expressed interest in running for Kerry's seat.
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