ROBERT L. GALLUCCI
Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School at Georgetown University
The No.1 challenge facing the next president is to prevent a terrorist group from detonating a nuclear weapon in an American city. If he successfully ended the conflict in Iraq, checked Iran, brokered an Israeli-Palestinian peace, cut carbon emissions, stabilized Pakistan, and artfully managed relations with China and Russia -- but lost a million citizens in a nuclear attack, the nation would not be grateful.
Secretary of State
Capable of discerning America's interests, the Brookings Institution president and former deputy secretary of state has the gravitas and experience to execute policy and lead the department.
Secretary of Defense
Secretary Gates is a keeper: He inspires confidence in all quarters, providing independent advice to the president while respecting the expertise of the professional military.
Secretary of the Treasury
A former under secretary of the Treasury, Lipton has a solid understanding of the global economy, with proven success in both the public and private sectors.
Director of National Intelligence
Grossman is a universally respected diplomat with the integrity, management, and leadership skills to coordinate the complex intelligence community -- while never forgetting that the purpose of intelligence is to improve policy.
Jessica T. Mathews
National Security Advisor
The Carnegie Endowment president is a brilliant analyst of the thorniest policy issues, with the temperament and strength to manage the national security bureaucracy for the president.
Susan Rice *BONUS PICK
Amb. to the United Nations
The former assistant secretary of state projects American values with intelligence and passion, while understanding that the United States must inspire others in order to succeed. Plus, her Africa expertise gives her an advantage in dealing with today's most vexing challenges.