If President Reagan plans a fast offensive drive to achieve his domestic and foreign goals in his second administration, he will do it basically with the same team of players - at least at the outset. The image he projects will be one of continuity.
Rumors abound about the prospects for change both at the White House and in the Cabinet. Many staff members are said to be seeking a move, and some shifts are already certain or likely. But White House aides say the administration will remain largely intact.
A central figure in the President's deficit-reduction plans is Budget Director David A. Stockman, who is eventually expected to leave. For the moment, he is deemed indispensable. He has a commanding grasp of the federal budget and understands the politics of the congressional process. He is gearing up for vigorous action in the early months of Reagan's second term.
Another key player on the economic front is Treasury Secretary Donald T.Regan. He, too, is said to be eager to retire but is expected to continue his important role of pushing Reagan's economic policies. His shop is now preparing a tax-simplification reform that will be a centerpiece of the second-term agenda.
On the foreign policy front, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who once indicated he was weary of his job, has bounced back in recent months and is expected to stay on board. So is Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, with whom Mr. Shultz has often disagreed.
At the White House there long have been reports that Chief of Staff James A. Baker III would like a Cabinet post, possibly Treasury or State. When the musical chairs start to shift, he would be in the running for a new post. But the presence of Mr. Baker, who orchestrated the President's successful political campaign, is also deemed important as a second-term legislative and diplomatic push begins.
Presidential counselor Edwin Meese III, a longtime associate of Reagan's, is the only key adviser slated for a move soon. Now that an independent counsel has cleared him of any financial wrongdoing, the President will renominate him to succeed Attorney General William French Smith, who will return to private practice. Until confirmed by the Senate, however, Mr. Meese will play a key role in giving coherence to the Reagan agenda and shaping the policies that Reagan will try to steer through the Congress.
Michael K. Deaver, White House deputy chief of staff, may leave after the inaugural ceremonies to go into private business, White House aides said this week. Mr. Deaver, the closest friend of the President and Nancy Reagan, is in charge of media scheduling and media strategy. But there is also speculation that, if Mr. Baker is given another post, Deaver would be among the candidates considered to replace him.
Other certain or potential changes:
Jeane D. J. Kirkpatrick. At present the US ambassador to the United Nations, Mrs. Kirkpatrick is known to want a change. But with Shultz staying at State, it is unclear what position she might assume at the White House, unless the post of national-security adviser, now held by Robert McFarlane, also is changed.
Terrel H. Bell. The secretary of education has decided to resign as of Dec. 31. He plans to return to Utah and accept a professorship at the University of Utah.
Raymond J. Donovan. Labor Secretary Donovan, who has been indicted on charges of fraud, is on leave of absence. White House aides indicate they expect Donovan to resign even if he is acquitted.
Paul A. Volcker. Mr. Volcker's term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is not up until '87, but some say he will leave sooner. Treasury Secretary Regan is talked about as a possible replacement.
Among those with whom the White House is said not to be particularly pleased and who might depart are Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret M. Heckler , Agriculture Secretary John R. Block, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Samuel R. Pierce.
Many foreign policy experts believe changes will have to be made in the bureaucracy if the President is in earnest about achieving an arms reduction agreement in the second term. Conflicts between the Defense and State Departments have frustrated getting a coherent, creditable arms control policy.
But some analysts suggest that keeping such hard-liners as Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard N. Perle would help the President fend off conservatives and make it easier to sell an agreement.
At the moment there is talk in the administration about appointing a special envoy, such as Brent Scowcroft, to oversee a series of arms negotiations.