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Biden to name nominee for Pentagon chief this week

Biden to name nominee for Pentagon chief this week
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE plans to announce his nominees for Defense secretary and attorney general later this week, he told reporters on Monday.

"I’ll announce them for you on Wednesday and on Friday," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Del., adding that he would unveil his pick for Defense secretary on Friday.

The president-elect's office later sought to clarify the timeline for additional Cabinet announcements.

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"President-elect Biden will announce additional members of his cabinet before Christmas, including his nominee for Secretary of Defense and members of his economic and domestic cabinet before the end of this week," Biden's team said in a statement.

The head of the Department of Defense and of the Department of Justice are the two biggest Cabinet posts he has yet to fill. The president-elect on Monday formally announced members of his health team, including his choice of California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra GOP targets Manchin, Sinema, Kelly on Becerra MORE for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Contenders for attorney general include Jeh Johnson, who served as Pentagon general counsel and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary during the Obama administration, and Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesBiden directs DOJ to phase out use of private prisons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC Biden to name Merrick Garland for attorney general MORE, who served as deputy attorney general in the Obama administration.

Johnson is also said to be in the running for Defense secretary, as are Michele Flournoy and retired Gen. Lloyd Austin.

The former vice president is facing pressure from various lawmakers and advocacy groups over who to appoint as Defense chief and attorney general. 

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Biden has so far appointed two Latinos and one woman to the top Cabinet posts of HHS, DHS, Treasury, Defense, State and attorney general. But he has yet to appoint a Black official to any of those roles, and has faced pressure from Black leaders to name more people of color to top positions in his government. 

The president-elect has faced pressure campaigns from all sides throughout the vetting process for his Cabinet. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have all advocated for ethnic diversity, while the moderate and progressive wings of the party have lobbied for representation.

Updated at 6:11 p.m.