President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for Secretary of State.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, will replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kerry became the clear frontrunner for the position when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration. Rice stepped aside citing concern that the confirmation process would have been "lengthy, disruptive and costly" due to persistent Republican opposition to her response to the Sept. 11 anniversary attack on a U.S. compound Benghazi, Libya.

Kerry has been member of the Foreign Relations Committee for 27 years, the last six as chairman. The senator has traveled extensively in his capacity as intrepid lawmaker and unofficial envoy for Obama, tamping down diplomatic fires in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt, the AP reports.

"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said during the nomination announcement.

Reuters reports:

President Barack Obama on Friday announced the nomination of U.S. Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him the "perfect choice" to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

Obama settled on Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew from consideration last week. He said he expected quick Senate confirmation of the Massachusetts lawmaker.

"As we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that we have to harness all elements of American power," Obama said at the White House.

Even as Obama put in place one important piece of his revamped national security team, he held off on naming a new defense secretary. The delay comes in the face of a growing backlash from critics of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, considered a leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

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  • John Kerry (2013-Present)

    John Kerry leaves a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup on Jan. 29, 2013 after a vote was held on his confirmation as Secretary of State. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton (2009-13)

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference on November 14, 2012. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Condoleezza Rice (2005-09)

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about the State Department's 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices during a March 11, 2008 briefing in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Colin Powell (2001-05)

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks on June 22, 2004, about a corrected version of an inaccurate terrorism report issued by the government. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Madeleine Albright (1997-2001)

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a Russia policy briefing on September 16, 1999 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Warren Christopher (1993-97)

    U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher briefs reporters on the peace process in Bosnia during a Dec. 8, 1995 press conference. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Lawrence Eagleburger (1992-93)

    Then-acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger listens to a reporter's question during a Nov. 18, 1992 news conference at the State Department. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James Baker (1989-92)

    James Baker III waves to his associates at the US State Department on August 13, 1992. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George P. Shultz (1982-89)

    U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz listens to a question during his first day of testimony before Iran-Contra investigators on July 23, 1987 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Alexander Haig (1981-82)

    Alexander Haig, Secretary of State-designate, a Reagan nominee on Monday, Dec. 23, 1980 in Washington for the announcement of selections. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edmund Muskie (1980-81)

    (Pictured left) Freed hostage Richard Queen, right, greets well wishers at the State Department on Monday, July 21, 1980 in Washington. At left is Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Cyrus Vance (1977-80)

    Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State, pictured in 1979. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Kissinger (1973-77)

    Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announces during an April 29, 1975 press conference in Washington that the evacuation of Americans from Vietnam and Saigon is complete, thus ending US involvement. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • William P. Rogers (1969-73)

    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, left, and Secretary of State William P. Rogers begin talks at the Department of State on Feb. 7, 1972 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Rusk (1961-69)

    Secretary of State Dean Rusk is shown during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 1962. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Christian Herter (1959-61)

    President Dwight Eisenhower, left, says goodbye to Secretary of State Christian Herter in Gettsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1959 as Herter is about to board a helicopter on the President's farm to return to Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • John Foster Dulles (1953-59)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (left) gets together with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in Seoul on August 4, 1953. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Acheson (1949-53)

    U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson speaks from the State Department on Nov. 29, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George C. Marshall (1947-49)

    Gen. George C. Marshall poses in his Red Cross office on Sept. 13, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James F. Byrnes (1945-47)

    James F. Byrnes, United States Secretary of State, links arms with Associated Press correspondent, John Hightower, at Central Hall, Westminster in London, Jan. 15, 1946. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edward Reilly Stettinius (1944-45)

    France's Foreign Minister Georges Bidault makes a VE Day radio statement from the Opera House in San Francisco, CA, May 8, 1945. Seated at the far right U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>) <em><strong>Correction</strong>: An earlier version of this text misspelled Stettinius' surname.</em>

  • Cordell Hull (1933-44)

    U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is greeted by Secretary of State Cordell Hull on Sept. 15, 1938 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Lewis Stimson (1929-33)

    Henry Lewis Stimson, American Secretary of State for War shown around July 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Frank B. Kellogg (1925-29)

    Former United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on Aug. 17, 1936 at Waterloo Station in London. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Charles Evans Hughes (1921-25)

    (Center) Former Secretary of State and Chief justice Charles Evans Hughes, pictured on on March 27, 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)