Obama orders Guantanamo closure
US President Barack Obama has ordered the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to be closed within one year.
Signing the order, Mr Obama said the US would continue to fight terror, but maintain "our values and our ideals".
At Mr Obama's request, military judges have already suspended several of the trials of terror suspects at the Guantanamo detention centre.
Mr Obama has also ordered a review of the military trials and a ban of harsh interrogation techniques.
Many critics had considered aggressive interrogation techniques such as waterboarding - or simulating drowning - to amount to torture.
Mr Obama signed the three orders on Thursday, further distancing his new administration from the policies of his predecessor, George W Bush.
He said the Guantanamo prison "will be closed no later than one year from now."
The US would continue to fight terror, he said, but maintain American values while doing so.
"The United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism," he said.
"We are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."
Mr Obama has repeatedly promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, where some 250 inmates accused of having links to terrorism remain and 21 cases are pending.
The legal process for these prisoners has been widely criticised because the US military acts as jailer, judge and jury, the BBC's Jonathan Beale reports from Guantanamo.
However, closing the prison will not be easy, he says.
Questions remain over where those charged will be tried and where those freed can be safely sent.
Also on Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, despite questions over his late payment of taxes earlier this decade.
The full Senate next votes on Mr Obama's choice to be the point man in steering America through its sharpest economic downturn in decades.
Mr Obama was also due to visit the state department with Vice-President Joe Biden, where new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived on Thursday morning to applause and cheers from staff members. The Senate confirmed her in the role on Wednesday.
She said defence, diplomacy and development were the three pillars of US national security and that the state department was in charge of two of them.
Outlining her priorities, Mrs Clinton said it was a new era for America.
"President Obama set the tone with his inaugural address, and the work of the Obama-Biden administration is committed to advancing America's national security, furthering America's interests, and respecting and exemplifying America's values around the world."
Articles from BBC news.