Biden signals defense secretary and attorney general announcements coming this week

President-elect Joe Biden said that he planned to announce his nominee for secretary of defense on Friday, and signaled that he could also name his pick for attorney general earlier in the week. By Kate Sullivan and Jasmine Wright, CNN

(CNN) -- President-elect Joe Biden said Monday that he planned to announce his nominee for secretary of defense on Friday, and signaled that he could also name his pick for attorney general earlier in the week.

"I'll have an announcement for you on Wednesday and Friday," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, when asked when he would announce his picks for attorney general and defense secretary. He specified his pick for defense secretary would be named Friday.

CNN has reported that there are three people in final contention to lead the Pentagon: Michèle Flournoy, a veteran Pentagon official who served as under secretary of defense for policy in President Barack Obama's administration, Jeh Johnson, a former secretary of Homeland Security, and Lloyd Austin, a retired Army general who led Central Command during the Obama era.

Flournoy would be the first female secretary of defense if chosen and confirmed by the Senate. Johnson and Austin, who are African American, would also make history as the first Black secretary of defense.

Johnson has also been mentioned as a potential contender for attorney general, along with several other contenders, CNN has reported. Doug Jones, a United States senator from Alabama, Deval Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, Sally Yates, a former acting attorney general, and Lisa Monaco, a former Homeland Security adviser in the Obama White House and who previously worked at the FBI and as top national security prosecutor at the Justice Department, are also potential nominees.

Biden has moved quickly to build out his administration since being elected last month. Earlier Monday, Biden's transition team announced key members of the President-elect's health team who will lead his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic when he takes office in January.

His health team includes California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Vivek Murthy as his nominee for US surgeon general and Dr. Anthony Fauci as chief medical adviser to the President. Monday's announcement came as coronavirus cases have spiked across the country and the death toll stood at more than 282,000 Americans.

Last week, Biden introduced several members of his economic team, including his nominee for secretary of the Treasury Department, Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, who would help him rebuild an economy battered by the pandemic.

Biden has also named several key members of his national security and foreign policy teams. He named Antony Blinken, his top foreign policy aide, as the next secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas, a former deputy secretary of at the Department of Homeland Security, as the next DHS secretary, and Avril Haines to lead the US intelligence community, among others.

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