Kerry, seen here at the Democratic National Convention, has been nominated and is expected to be confirmed as secretary of State.
Even before he was elected to the Senate in 1984, Kerry, a Navy veteran who rose to the rank of lieutenant, was prominent in protesting the war in Vietnam.
Later, he was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, particularly during his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004.
Since becoming chairman of Foreign Relations in 2009, Kerry has been particularly visible on issues surrounding the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. relationship with Pakistan. He was instrumental in putting together an ambitious aid package (PL 111-73) in 2009 that authorized $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years. Congress has appropriated the money for the past three years.
But he has also been a skeptic of the large-scale plans, first in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, for civilian aid and reconstruction programs. As secretary of State, he would be in charge of determining how to manage the U.S. role in Afghanistan amid a drawdown aimed at ending the U.S. combat presence by the end of 2014.
American flags decorate the hood of an antique Ford car in the 4th of July Parade in Ripley, W. Va., on July 4, 2014. The parade is billed as "the USA's largest small town Independence Day Celebration."