We the Partnership

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

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.

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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Impact the Presidential Transition

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.

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Positions in the federal government never held by women

August 18, 2020, will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. While this conferred a decisive role for women at the ballot box, it has not yet opened all doors for them to participate in every element of the federal government.

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New law journal article examines the role of acting officials in federal leadership positions

Temporary leaders – commonly referred to as acting officials – have been used by all recent administrations to fill important positions atop federal agencies. Many questions surround their use and power. How long can acting officials serve? Who is eligible? What happens when the time limit for an acting official runs out? Most of the rules are governed by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. However, the law gives presidents a fair amount of flexibility and many details are open to interpretation.

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Managing vacancies in a new or second-term administration

The Senate now takes 115 days on average to confirm presidential appointees, twice as long as during the Reagan administration.[1] Given the length of time it can take to get nominees confirmed, a new administration or second-term administration must prepare to face the reality of having vacant positions and identify their options for filling those roles.

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Women on the White House “A-Team”

As we mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote, it is clear women have made progress at all levels of government. Officials such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during George W. Bush’s administration, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett during Barack Obama’s administration, and Gina Haspel, CIA director since 2018, have shaped history through their public service.

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Announcing the 2020 Presidential Transition Guide

The new edition of the Presidential Transition Guide shows that it is imperative that presidential candidates prioritize the top 100 appointments early in order to get them through the clearance process. It also emphasizes that policy plans should be aligned with the budget and supported by principles of sound management in executing the president’s agenda.

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A novel approach to budgeting for government modernization – ideas for new leaders

One of the first major policy requirements for any new president is to submit a budget proposal to Congress. For recently elected administrations, this budget is usually presented in February—less than a month into a first term—followed by a more detailed request later in the spring. Presidential transition teams often begin preparing their budget proposals before inauguration.

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