Secretary of State Colin Powell is one of four members of President Bush's Cabinet whose resignations were confirmed Monday.
[News reports cite administration sources who say President Bush has asked National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to replace Mr. Powell.
Ms. Rice is known to be one of President Bush's most trusted aides and a strong supporter of the Iraq war.]
Aside from Secretary of State Powell, President Bush has accepted the resignations of Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and Secretary of Education Rod Paige.
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said such departures are to be expected, as an administration prepares for a second term. "Each of these individuals came to a decision for different reasons, and, I think, that is to be expected," he said. "And, if you look back over history, this is a pattern that is similar to other administrations that have moved into a second term."
In his letter of resignation, Secretary Abraham highlighted the development of what he called a comprehensive energy plan that includes research into new energy technology. He also applauded the administration's efforts to secure nuclear materials in Russia.
In her letter of resignation, Secretary of Agriculture Veneman praised the administration's efforts to safeguard the U.S. food supply in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and to strengthen the nation's child nutrition programs. Ms. Veneman has held a number of positions in the Department of Agriculture under three Republican administrations, beginning with the Reagan administration in the mid-1980s.
Secretary of Education Paige hailed President Bush's efforts to reform America's education through the No Child Left Behind Act, saying that test scores for some ethnic-minority communities are beginning to rise.
All three secretaries indicated their willingness to remain at their posts until successors are named and confirmed by the Senate.