The White House has announced that four members of President Bush's Cabinet, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, have submitted their resignations. These are part of a series of expected changes in the president's cabinet for his second term.
Secretary Powell is the most visible Cabinet member to submit his resignation since President Bush's re-election victory earlier this month.
Mr. Powell, who is 67 years old, will continue his work until his successor is chosen and approved by the Senate.
In his resignation letter, the secretary says he is pleased to have been part of a team that launched the global war on terror and liberated the Afghan and Iraqi peoples.
He also named other accomplishments, such as reaffirming alliances, adjusting to the post-Cold War period, and undertaking initiatives to deal with the problems of poverty and disease in the developing world.
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says Mr. Powell's decision to submit his resignation follows months of conversation between the secretary and President Bush.
"Secretary Powell is doing an outstanding job over at the State Department," he said. "He has helped us accomplish many great things to make the world stronger and safer, and we appreciate his service. He will continue to work in that capacity, I expect, until his replacement is confirmed by the Senate, and he has got a busy travel schedule coming up, I know, as well."
News reports have speculated on National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and the recently appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, as possible replacements for Secretary Powell.
The White House also announced Monday three other Cabinet resignations.
They are Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who, among other things, supervises the U.S. nuclear program.
Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans announced they are leaving the administration.
There are a total of 15 members of the president's Cabinet, and six have turned in their resignations, so far.
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says such turnover is normal after a president is re-elected.
"Changes happen from a first term to a second term," he said. "Look back over history, and that has happened over the course of time. We will make sure that the transition period is smooth. The individuals in place are committed to making sure the transition is smooth. The replacements that are going to be in place will certainly build upon the efforts of those individuals who are currently there."
Mr. McClellan says there is no specific timetable for naming replacements for those Cabinet members who have submitted their resignations.