August 2016

March 6, 2019
Incoming Administration: Agency Review


Construct baseline agency review deliverables from publicly available information and independent knowledge (through election)


Provide input to appointments team on position descriptions for Wave I positions (July–August)

Submit potential candidates for most critical positions in each agency to appointments team (July–August)

Presidential Transition Guide, Ch. 5, Major Steps in the Agency Review Process, Interaction between the agency review, policy and personnel teams

The work of the agency review team is related to, yet distinct from, the work of the presidential personnel team. Because the agency review team will be knowledgeable about key staff positions, potential personnel issues or leadership gaps within each agency, it should work closely with the personnel team to identify possible candidates to lead each agency and identify other critical positions that should be filled quickly.

The agency review team should play a role in identifying the major management challenges or successes within each agency, identifying particular skills and competencies needed for each position, and uncovering best practices or successful programs.

Agency leads identify, vet and select members for each landing team (July–October)

Presidential Transition Guide, Ch. 5, Major Steps in the Agency Review Process, Develop and Staff Agency Review Teams

Within the Romney Readiness Project, the department and agency review group was the largest single team, with 250 members by Election Day. This group had 33 teams under the four major subgroups of budget, national security, domestic policy and economic policy. Most team members were volunteers. Agency review team members were chosen directly by their team leaders and not vetted by the campaign.

The Obama 2008 agency review team began with only four people prior to the election, nearly all volunteers. Following the election, the team was divided into 10 separate agency review teams, each with a particular area of focus, including economics, international trade and development, national security, energy and natural resources, and education and labor. Each review team was allowed to hire its own volunteers and staff, with incoming staff vetted by a central working group. Teams consisted of about 30 people, mostly from the campaign. Most positions were unpaid volunteer positions. The team deliberately avoided using Capitol Hill staffers in an attempt to minimize leaks and avoid future conflicts with congressional oversight activities. A large number of the people on the team went on to become members of the Obama administration, due to their work and their previous professional experience.

As landing team members are selected, the operations team should receive the list of agency review team members who will require security clearances to access classified information (July–election)