The US Secretary of Defense is expected to hand in his resignation anytime soon now that he has succeeded in his mission of shifting the paradigms of US strategy, as amply demonstrated by the allied interventions in Libya and the Ivory Coast. Robert Gates took off on a Gulf countries jaunt to say good-bye to his partners.

Rumours are flying in Washington that his replacement is likely to be current CIA director, Leon Panetta (photo).

In that case, General David Petraeus, current CentCom commander (covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), could take over as CIA chief. However, General Petraeus is still shaky on his feet after his treatment for prostate cancer.

The vacancy created by Petraeus’ departure would then filled by his number two at CentCom, Marine corps General John Allen.

In turn, another Marine corps General, James "Hoss" Cartwright, is slated to succeed Admiral Mike Mullen in September as Chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff.