Report & Publication
November 09, 2016

Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition Unveils Transition Goals for President-elect Donald Trump

WASHINGTON— Today marks the start of the presidential transition – the 73-day window between the election and the inauguration. During this time, President-elect Donald Trump must prepare to take over the functions of government, identify key talent to fulfill his priorities, build out a policy agenda and develop a management strategy for implementing those priorities.

The peaceful transition of power and knowledge from one president to another is a hallmark of American democracy – but behind the scenes it has traditionally been rushed and chaotic, resulting in delays in filling key jobs, policy blunders and management missteps.

“The presidential transition provides no time to spare. Both candidates took unprecedented measures this year to be ready to govern on day one, but there is still much to be done,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “The next 73 days are critical to ensure that the transfer of power on January 20 is organized, well-planned and worthy of the American people.”

In order for President-elect Trump and his team to capitalize on their important pre-election preparations, they should focus on three key activities during the transition:

  • Prioritize key appointments: The president-elect will need to make 4,000 political appointments, including about 1,100 individuals requiring Senate confirmation. Historically, the appointment and confirmation process has been done slowly and poorly, and administrations have been plagued by long-standing vacancies that have impeded government effectiveness. President-elect Trump should have his White House staff and top 100 agency leaders in place immediately after Inauguration Day.
  • Prepare to turn campaign promise into policy: The success of the new administration will rise or fall based on its ability to get things done. History has demonstrated that strong management can lead to political and policy success while mistakes can derail important initiatives, undermine the president’s standing and erode public trust. The transition team should build out the new administration’s policy agenda and develop a management strategy for implementing those priorities.
  •  Learn from the career federal workforce: On January 20, President-elect Trump will instantly assume responsibility for a four million-person organization, including military service members. The budget is nearly $4 trillion, representing the missions of hundreds of organizations dedicated to everything from protecting our homeland to food safety to space exploration. For the incoming administration to have a clear sense of the strengths, challenges, culture and pressing issues of each organization, it needs to deploy review teams to gather information about the unique roles and responsibilities of major departments and agencies.

For 15 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation. The Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition is designed to help presidential candidates navigate the transition process, prepare political appointees to lead effectively and work with the outgoing administration to encourage a smooth transfer of power.