Laura Rozen at the new Washington Post/Foreign Policy blog reports the following:
"William J. Burns, the current under secretary of state for political affairs and recent U.S. point man on Iran, who is very well regarded inside the department, [is] expected to hold over in the next term.
Former U.S. Mideast peace envoy Dennis Ross is said to be in negotiations for a possible role as U.S. special envoy on Iran, plus possibly a more expansive portfolio. [A] special envoy is also being considered for the Israel-Palestinian peace process
Two names have emerged as leading contenders to be assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs: Daniel Kurtzer, an Obama campaign Middle East advisor and former Clinton-era U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel, and Beth Jones, a former State Department official who is currently with APCO, the communications firm. (Former A/S NEA David Welch retired last month and joined Bechtel).
Sources said top Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer Puneet Talwar is under consideration for a deputy assistant secretary post on Near East Affairs (he advised Biden and the SFRC on Iran, Iraq, and Middle East issues), or an NSC slot. (Talwar declined to comment).
Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is likely to be named director of policy planning, sources said.
Also up for a senior State Department job, Toni Verstandig, an Albright-era deputy assistant secretary for Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula Affairs, who served with Talwar on the Obama transition's State Department agency review team looking at Iran and Mideast issues.
Nonproliferation community experts say that retired Foreign Service officer Robert Einhorn, who was a top nonproliferation advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign (and later for Obama) and is currently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is expected to be named undersecretary of state for arms control and international cooperation."