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Improving the Plum Book: The Need to Modernize Information about Federal Leadership

Improving the Plum Book: The Need to Modernize Information about Federal Leadership

September 17, 2020

The Plum Book is the most comprehensive source about officials serving in the federal government. It contains information on more than 4,000 political appointees–1,200 of whom are subject to Senate confirmation–along with thousands of other jobs filled by senior career officials in the federal civil service. Unfortunately, the Plum Book has been produced largely the same way since 1952, and should be modernized to provide greater transparency and accountability.

The Best of Transition Lab

The Best of Transition Lab

September 14, 2020

Since launching in January 2020, Transition Lab has offered a close look at the world of presidential transition planning, featuring in-depth interviews with those who have organized, led and written about some of the most notable transfers of power in U.S. history. In this episode, host David Marchick shares the most important takeaways, poignant stories and surprising moments from these interviews. Utilizing episode highlights, presidential recordings and historical news clips, Marchick takes us back in time–from the 1930s to the present–to illustrate how transitions work, why they are important and the lessons they hold for both today and tomorrow.

The Impact of the 9/11 Commission on Current Presidential Transition Planning

The Impact of the 9/11 Commission on Current Presidential Transition Planning

September 11, 2020

Presidential transitions are a time of great vulnerability for our nation, with a significant turnover in national security personnel occurring when the nation may be facing a foreign policy crisis or an adversary willing to cause significant trouble. Many of the laws and norms that presidential transitions follow today were put in place based on lessons learned in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Two transition planners reflect on the 2016 election

Two transition planners reflect on the 2016 election

September 8, 2020

Ed Meier and Richard Bagger ran the presidential transition teams for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively, during the run up to the 2016 election. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick spoke with Meier and Bagger about preparing to lead presidential transition teams, navigating strategic differences with campaign staff, shaping the public’s perception of transition planning and the results of the 2016 election.

All-star reporters discuss covering presidential transitions

All-star reporters discuss covering presidential transitions

August 31, 2020

Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia know all about presidential transitions. They currently write about transition planning and presidential politics for Politico and the Wall Street Journal, respectively, and previously collaborated on several transition stories during the 2016 election. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick asked Cook and Restuccia about their experiences covering presidential transitions, the 2020 candidates’ current plans, the big transition storylines to expect in the coming months and the ways in which a sound transition strategy can make governing easier.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Impact the Presidential Transition

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Impact the Presidential Transition

August 25, 2020

The winner of this November’s presidential election will face daunting challenges—a devastating pandemic, a major economic crisis, civil unrest stemming from racial inequality and a long list of pressing domestic and national security issues. These are momentous times that accentuate the need for presidential transition planning, whether it’s a first term for Democratic candidate Joseph Biden or a second term for President Donald Trump.

Key transition lessons from two former White House chiefs of staff

Key transition lessons from two former White House chiefs of staff

August 24, 2020

Josh Bolten and Denis McDonough are well-versed in presidential transitions. As former White House chiefs of staff for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, they helped usher new administrations into office and prepare presidents for their second terms. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick spoke with Bolten and McDonough about how they helped orchestrate successful transfers of power, fostered bipartisanship during those difficult times and helped set the standard for successful transitions today.

Intelligence briefings during presidential transitions

Intelligence briefings during presidential transitions

August 17, 2020

Michael Morell is a leading intelligence analyst with over 30 years of experience at the CIA, including running the agency. Before retiring from the CIA in 2013, Morell worked for six different presidents and served as former President George W. Bush’s daily intelligence briefer, including on 9/11. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick joined Morell for a wide-ranging discussion about intelligence-sharing during presidential elections and transitions, foreign interference during presidential elections, and how the 2020 candidates can build strong relationships with the intelligence community.