Presidential Transition Timeline

Federal Agencies
January–February 2016

To-Dos

Identify a senior career official to serve as transition coordinator and oversee transition planning

Presidential Transition Guide, Ch. 5, Train review teams to enter agencies

The 2008 transition for the Department of Defense provides a good example of agency preparation working well, although the huge difference in that case was that Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s defense secretary, was tapped to remain on the job. An overall tone of cooperation was set by Gates and relayed to the outgoing Bush administration officials, who gave clear instructions to each agency to cooperate fully with the transition team. Gates tapped Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Tesch to lead the transition effort, giving Tesch the resources and personnel he needed to plan for the transition and welcome the incoming administration. Tesch, whose official title in this role was director of the Transition Task Force, emphasized that the focus of the transition would be on continuity in a time of war. He assembled a small team of senior career staff from organizations within the Pentagon responsible for transition assistance coordination. This team developed the official transition plan, requirements briefing materials and organized resources across the Defense Department, which included administrative activities such as scheduling appointments and arranging parking. The task force also developed a list of political appointees and non-career members of the Senior Executive Service to stay on into the new administration for a time to ensure continuity.

Set goals and establish a work plan for transition preparations
Convene Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) for a CHCO Academy organized by the Office of Personnel Management to discuss presidential transition
Receive guidance from OPM around converting Schedule C and non-career SES positions to the competitive service
Prepare materials to give to the incoming transition team and new administration (through November 1)
Receive guidance from NARA outlining appropriate records-management guidelines for incoming and departing appointees (through April)
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