President-elect Barack Obama's advisers say one of the first things he is preparing to do is issue an order to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, the Associated Press reports.

The order, which could be issued as early as January 20, would start the process to decide what to do with the estimated 250 al Qaeda and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held. Some have not been charged with a crime.

Obama acknowledges it would be a challenge to close the prison even within the first 100 days of administration.