What is the Center for Presidential Transition®?

The Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition serves as the premier nonpartisan source of information and resources to help presidential candidates and their teams lay the groundwork for a new administration or for a president’s second term.

In July, a bipartisan group of Senators announced a proposal to reform the Presidential Transition Act. The latest amendment, if adopted, would clarify ascertainment—the mechanism that releases resources and gives federal agency access to the presumptive winner of a presidential election. During the 2020-21 presidential transition, delayed ascertainment held up this critical transition assistance for nearly three weeks.

Earlier this year, the Center published a full analysis of the 2020 presidential transition that included recommendations for ensuring that transition assistance would be provided even in the event of a delay in ascertainment.

Below are several resources the Center created during the 2020-21 transition on the impact of delaying ascertainment: 


This month, the Center for Presidential Transition is publishing a new book that explores the inner workings and impacts of America’s most important transitions. “The Peaceful Transfer of Power: An Oral History of Presidential Transitions” puts into narrative form a series of illuminating interviews with historians and transition experts across the last eight presidential transitions that were published on the Center’s “Transition Lab” podcast.  

Since 2008, the Center for Presidential Transition has worked alongside incumbent administrations, transition teams and career agency leaders to ensure effective planning and a smooth hand-off between presidents and their teams. The book brings the Center’s library of knowledge to life  and features a remarkable cast of contributors and a foreword by celebrated American chronicler and filmmaker Ken Burns. 

“The Peaceful Transfer of Power” will serve as a resource and compelling read for journalists, people passionate about good governance, future and past presidential transition personnel, and policymakers who believe in safeguarding the hallmark of American democracy.  

Buy the book Listen to the podcast

(Not So) Privileged Nomination Calendar


Slow Nominations and Confirmations Pose a Threat to National Security


The 2020-21 Presidential Transition: Lessons Learned and Recommendations


Serving America through a presidential appointment is a great honor and responsibility. But, preparing to serve can be a complicated process and getting started early is important. Ready to Serve is our new, centralized resource that guides candidates through every step of the process.

Learn more

Our Ready to Serve webinar series is for aspiring political appointees.


Joe Biden’s First Year in Office: Nominations and Confirmations

The Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition has been tracking Senate-confirmed presidential appointments since late 2016. This year, we tracked and analyzed how President Joe Biden’s first year in office compares with the previous three presidents.

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Senate Confirmation Process Slows to a Crawl

Despite changes in technology and Senate rules, the official confirmation process takes more than twice as long now as it did during President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

The Vacancies Act: Frequently Asked Questions

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 aims to encourage the president to fill the critical leadership positions requiring Senate confirmation by limiting the amount of days someone can serve in those roles in an acting capacity.



2020 Presidential Transition Guide

The Partnership’s comprehensive guide on the activities required during the transition. This updated guide, produced in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, features detailed outlines of transition best practices, historical materials from past transitions, and recommendations for a successful presidential transition to a new or second-term administration.

Download (2m)

2020 Agency Transition Guide

Based on convenings with transition leaders from nearly 40 agencies, the Partnership and The Boston Consulting Group have compiled best practices into a guide for senior career leaders.

Download (3m)

Presidential Transition Act Summary

In passing the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, Congress explained: “Any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of the United States and its people.” To promote the orderly transfer of power, Congress established a framework for the federal government to prepare for a transition from one president to another.

 Learn more
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Transition Lab

Transition Lab is a behind-the-scenes look at presidential transitions. Join David Marchick for candid discussions with former presidential chiefs of staff, transition team leads and other presidential transition experts. Transition Lab is a must-listen for anyone interested in developing a better understanding of what needs to happen before a president takes office or starts a second term.

Listen now


Senate Confirmation for 1,200 jobs is Holding Biden Back

May 4, 2021

Publication Type: In the News

Within hours of his inauguration, President Joe Biden had staffed around 1,100 key federal appointments, an unprecedented  number that speaks to the excellent work of his personnel team during a difficult transition. Yet this accomplishment was only possible because the roles did not require Senate confirmation.

Opinion: For Biden, 44 confirmations down, only 1,156 to go

May 2, 2021

Publication Type: In the News

The Biden administration is winning praise because it managed to get 44 appointees through Senate confirmation and into their offices by its 100th day.

The Sunday shows are back, baby

April 14, 2021

Publication Type: In the News

The Partnership for Public Service’ Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan group that works with presidential transition teams from both parties during the election year, is out with a new report on Biden’s transition, calling it “one of the most well-planned transitions in history.”


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“Less than 3% of the federal IT workforce is under the age of 30, yet few agencies are willing to tackle the problem,” said Michelle Amante in @Politico today.

The Cybersecurity Talent Initiative places young talent into federal careers. Read more:

If you want to learn how to launch a career in the federal government, look no further than our Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program.

Register for a virtual info session to learn how the program helps interns gain government experience:

We want to thank all of the incredible federal employees who are working around the clock to respond to Hurricanes #Fiona and #Ian. You're providing life-saving care, organizing disaster response efforts and ensuring recovery resources are available to survivors. Thank you!

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