Obama's wife is to be known as Renaissance, his daughter Malia has been given the name Radiance and her sister Sasha Rosebud.
Although the "secret names" are usually widely known the White House Communications Agency, which assigns the names, has not revealed its selection method, a tradition started after WWII.
The only restriction is they should be easily pronounced and clearly understood by those transmitting and receiving radio communications. However, some thought has obviously gone into the names.
Vice-president-elect Joe Biden, who has Irish roots, has been assigned Celtic and Dick Cheney, a keen fisherman, is known as Angler.
Outgoing-president George Bush is known as Tumbler - his father was assigned Timberwolf. Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor who appeared in numerous Westerns, was known as Rawhide, John F. Kennedy Lancer and Bill Clinton Eagle.
Pope John Paul II was assigned the codename Halo during a visit to the U.S. and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is known as Kittyhawk or Redfern.