The President-elect of the United States is expected to nominate Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State later today when he names his national security team.

Robert Gates is to remain as Defence Secretary. He has served under President Bush but is registered as an Independent.

Susan Rice had been tipped for the key role of National Security Adviser but it is understood President-elect Barack Obama will instead nominate former marine General James Jones.

Ms Rice, who has served as a foreign relations adviser for Obama, is to be appointed US ambassador to the United Nations.

The nomination of General Jones has delighed Republicans.

Former Senator John Warner, who until his recent retirement served on the Senate Armed Service Committee, said:

“The triumvirate of Gates, Clinton and Jones to lead Obama’s national security team instills great confidence at home and abroad, and further strengthens the growing respect for the President-elect’s courage and ability to exercise sound judgment in selecting the ‘best and the brightest’ to implement our nation’s security policies.”

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has made clear he is confident about working with Obama as Commander in Chief.

Senator Clinton will go through a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on her suitablity for the role, and there will be some examination of her and her husband’s finances, and those of Bill Clinton’s international foundation.

Former President Clinton has handed information about thousands of donors to the foundation to the transition team vetting potential appointees. It is reported that he has agreed to some changes to the foundation to ensure his wife can serve.

Given the Democratic majority in the Senate, Hillary Clinton is almost certain to be approved for the most prestigious Cabinet role in the federal government.

The Obama transition team said last week that no decisions will be taken about when to move to overturn a ban on openly gay people serving in the US Armed Forces until the new national security team is in place.

If confirmed Senator Clinton will be America’s third female Secretary of State.