Transition Lab

A 48-episode podcast series from the Center for Presidential Transition®


The Best of Transition Lab

ft. Dave Marchick | Sep. 14, 2020


The Biden Transition to Power

ft. Ted Kaufman | Dec 18, 2020

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.


You can now read the interviews from “Transition Lab” in “The Peaceful Transfer of Power: An Oral History of Presidential Transitions” from University of Virginia Press, UVA’s Miller Center Studies on the Presidency and the Partnership for Public Service.  

The book puts into narrative form the most compelling “Transition Lab” interviews with historians and transition experts that were recorded during the 2020 election cycle. 

“The Peaceful Transfer of Power” contains important lessons and insights about the risks facing our country’s most important democratic tradition—an issue of growing importance for us all. 


Ken Burns on Presidential
Leadership During American

Let’s step back a little bit and celebrate that since 1797 when George Washington gave up the presidency and John Adams took over, we have had an unbroken succession of presidential administrations.



Navigating the Screening Process for High Level Political Appointees

Leslie Kiernan and Robert Rizzi have helped political appointees navigate the vetting process. They describe the appointment process, what might disqualify an individual, and how the rules change with each administration.



The 2020 Transition


Transition 101


Historical Transitions


Political Appointees


All Episodes

View all episodes

JANUARY 26, 2021 | 47 MINUTES


Yamiche Alcindor and David Marchick on a Transition Like No Other

On the final episode of Transition Lab, David Marchick is joined by guest host Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. As one of America’s leading journalists, Alcindor covered a transition like no other, one marked by a global pandemic and an economic recession, a racial reckoning, a president’s attempts to overturn a fair election, and an attack on the Capitol.

In this episode, Alcindor interviews Transition Lab’s regular host, David Marchick, about this historic period. Marchick, director of the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition, describes how the Trump and Biden teams approached this transition cycle, how the delay in ascertainment and Capitol insurrection impacted the transition, and how this transition stacks up against previous ones. Read the highlights here.

JANUARY 21, 2021 | 37 MINUTES


Chris Liddell on Trump’s Transition Out of Office

Chris Liddell is the Trump administration’s leading transition expert. A deputy chief of staff, he previously served as executive director of the Romney transition team and helped author The Romney Readiness Project, a comprehensive presidential transition guide. In this episode of Transition Lab, Liddell joins host David Marchick to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2020 transition. Liddell talks about managing a delayed post-election transition, his experiences working with the Biden team and how he reacted to the recent attack on the Capitol. Read the highlights here.

JANUARY 19, 2021 | 35 MINUTES


Yohannes Abraham on Leading the Biden Transition

This week’s episode of Transition Lab features Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden-Harris transition. He previously worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and held several positions in the Obama White House, including senior advisor to the National Economic Council and deputy assistant to the president for the Office of Public Engagement and International Affairs. Later, he helped direct Obama’s 2012 campaign and served as chief operating officer for the newly established Obama Foundation.

In this episode, host David Marchick spoke with Abraham about leading the Biden-Harris team, the lessons he has learned from previous transitions, and how the country’s health and economic crises have affected his work. Read the highlights here.

JANUARY 4, 2021 | 47 MINUTES


Phil Schiliro and Candi Wolff on the Senate’s Role in a Presidential Transition

This week’s episode of Transition Lab focuses on the Senate confirmation process with Phil Schiliro and Candi Wolff.

Wolff, the head of global government affairs at Citi, served as the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President George W. Bush. She was the first woman to hold that position. Schiliro worked on Capitol Hill for nearly three decades before serving as congressional liaison for the 2008 Obama transition and director of legislative affairs for the Obama White House. He helped pass numerous laws during his long career, including the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Affordable Care Act.

In this episode, host David Marchick speaks with Schiliro and Wolff about how legislative affairs teams help move presidential nominees through the Senate, the slow Senate confirmation process and how President-elect Biden might manage his relationship with the Senate in 2021. Read the highlights here.

DECEMBER 18, 2020 | 39 MINUTES


The Biden Transition to Power

Ted Kaufman and President-elect Joe Biden go way back. Kaufman helped organize Biden’s first Senate office in 1972 and served as his chief of staff for nearly two decades. Kaufman left the Senate in 1994, but later returned to fill his old boss’s seat after Biden became Barack Obama’s vice president in 2009. More recently, Kaufman helped pass two laws, one in 2010 and another in 2015, that improved the presidential transition process. He currently co-chairs the Biden-Harris transition team.

In this episode of Transition Lab—the first to focus on the Biden transition to power—host David Marchick asks Kaufman to discuss Biden’s transition planning process. Marchick also discusses with Kaufman how he became a leading transition expert, why the Biden-Harris transition will serve as a model for future transition teams and how he has approached the unique challenges of the 2020 transition cycle. Read the highlights here.



Representative Derek Kilmer on Congressional Modernization and Transitions

Representative Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) is the chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan panel that has produced nearly 100 recommendations focused on improving the way Congress works. During this episode of Transition Lab, Kilmer joined host David Marchick to discuss the panel’s recommendations for increasing civility, bipartisanship and trust among members of Congress, helping new members transition from campaigning to governing and better preparing the institution for emergencies such as the ongoing pandemic. Read the highlights here.

NOVEMBER 23, 2020 | 46 MINUTES


State of the Transition: An Update With Ken Burns, Josh Bolten and Eric Rauchway

Host David Marchick, along with award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, former George W. Bush chief of staff Josh Bolten, and historian Eric Rauchway, reflects on the current state of the transition, the costs of delay and how this moment will be remembered. Read the highlights here.

NOVEMBER 16, 2020 | 38 MINUTES


Melody Barnes on the 2008 Transition and What Lies Ahead for the Biden-Harris Team

Melody Barnes has a distinguished political career. She has worked in various roles on Capitol Hill, held senior positions with the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign and transition teams, and led the White House Domestic Policy Council from 2009-2012. Currently, she is the co-director for policy and public affairs at the University of Virginia’s Democracy Initiative. In this episode of Transition Lab, Barnes joined host David Marchick to discuss post-election transition planning, how new administrations plan and implement policy and why we need a smooth transfer of power today. Read the highlights here.



How Does the GSA “Ascertain” the Outcome of an Election? An Inside Look at the GSA, Ascertainment and the 2000 Election

On this week’s episode of Transition Lab, host David Marchick unpacks the contested 2000 presidential election with David J. Barram, who served as administrator of the General Services Administration from 1996-2000. Barram discusses the process of ascertainment, his work during the 2000 election and how that contest differed from the 2020 race. Read the highlights here.



John Podesta on the 2020 Presidential Transition

John Podesta served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, founded the Center for American Progress, was the co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential transition in 2008-2009 and chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 while overseeing her pre-election transition activities. Podesta talked to Transition Lab Host David Marchick about his transition experiences during victorious and unsuccessful elections, offered advice on political and judicial appointments, suggested climate change will be high on Joe Biden’s agenda if he wins and discussed the challenges Biden may face with the Trump White House if he becomes the president-elect. Read the highlights here.

OCTOBER 26, 2020 | 40 MINUTES


An Inside Look at How the Partnership for Public Service Helps Build Better Presidential Transitions

This week’s episode of Transition Lab features three leaders from the Partnership for Public Service. One is special guest host Loren DeJonge Schulman, a national security expert who spent 10 years at the Defense Department and National Security Council, most recently as the senior advisor to National Security Advisor Susan Rice during the Obama administration. Currently, she serves as the vice president of Research and Evaluation at the Partnership. Joining Schulman is Max Stier, the Partnership’s president and CEO, and David Marchick, director of the Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition, who previously held several positions in the Clinton administration and worked as an executive at the Carlyle Group. In this episode, Stier and Marchick discuss the Center’s work, their concerns about the 2020 transition cycle and why transitions have improved in recent years. Read the highlights here.

OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 53 MINUTES


Planning Transitions During Unprecedented Times: A Virtual Conference

On October 2, the Center for Presidential Transition, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and several presidential foundations and libraries hosted a virtual conference called “Talking Transitions: Perspectives for First-term and Second-term Administrations.” The event included former government officials, journalists and scholars to discuss managing presidential transitions during national crises.  

This week’s episode of Transition Lab features one panel discussion from this conference. Participants included a who’s who of former federal leaders and transition experts: Stephen Hadley, a longtime foreign policy specialist who served as George W. Bush’s national security advisor; Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s second-term homeland security advisor; Barbara Perry, a renowned historian and the director of presidential studies at the Miller Center; and John Podesta, a chief of staff for President Clinton who later chaired the 2008 Obama transition. Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council from 2009 to 2012, moderated the discussion. Conversation topics included how administrations address national security threats, share intelligence and enunciate long-term policy goals during presidential transitions. They also discussed the role of Congress in facilitating smooth transfers of power and how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 transition. Read the highlights here.

OCTOBER 12, 2020 | 35 MINUTES


Steve Hadley and Kurt Campbell on National Security Transitions

Stephen Hadley held key national security positions in three Republican administrations before working on the George W. Bush transition in 2000-2001 and serving as Bush’s national security advisor. Kurt Campbell is an expert on East Asian affairs who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and co-authored, “Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Presidential Power.” In this episode of Transition Lab, Hadley and Campbell join host David Marchick to discuss their experiences during presidential transitions and their concerns about the potential fallout from 2020 election. They also offer advice to Joe Biden’s transition team and those planning for a second term for President Trump. Read the highlights here.

OCTOBER 05, 2020 | 32 MINUTES


Michael Froman on selecting a president-elect’s Cabinet

Michael Froman has had an extraordinary career. After serving in the Department of the Treasury under President Clinton, he became the head of personnel for the 2008 Obama-Biden transition team and later served as a White House deputy national security advisor and as the U.S. Trade Representative. In this episode of Transition Lab, host David Marchick asks Froman for an inside look at the world of vetting, selecting and appointing key presidential personnel. They discuss how Froman got involved in transition planning, the lessons his experience holds for future administrations and President Obama’s personnel strategy. Read the highlights here.



Famed journalist John Dickerson on “the hardest job in the world”

John Dickerson has covered Washington politics for more than two decades as a reporter for Time, Slate Magazine and CBS News. He previously hosted Face the Nation, currently works as a correspondent for 60 Minutes and is the recent author of “The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency,” which examines the complex challenges faced by our nation’s chief executives throughout history. In this episode of Transition Lab, host David Marchick spoke with Dickerson about his experience covering presidents, why presidents often struggle with their transition to the White House, how we should view the presidency and how Joe Biden and Donald Trump would govern if elected in November. Read the highlights here.



The art of agency review during a presidential transition

Agency review—the process of informing new administrations about the work of the federal government’s various departments—is a critical aspect of presidential transition planning. In this episode of Transition Lab, host David Marchick speaks to Lisa Brown, co-chair of agency review for the 2008 Obama-Biden transition team. Marchick and Brown discuss how this process works, why it is so important and the critical role played by career staff. Read the highlights here.



The Best of Transition Lab

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. Read the highlights here.



Two transition planners reflect on the 2016 election

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. Read the highlights here.

AUGUST 31, 2020 | 35 MINUTES


All-star reporters discuss covering presidential transitions

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. Read the highlights here.

AUGUST 24, 2020 | 41 MINUTES


Key transition lessons from two former White House chiefs of staff

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. Read the highlights here.

Title card of the podcast with pictures of Michael Morell and David Marchick

AUGUST 17, 2020 | 37 MINUTES


Intelligence briefings during presidential transitions

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. Read the highlights here.

AUGUST 10, 2020 | 24 MINUTES


Preparing the government for a presidential transition

Mary Gibert has one of the most important jobs in Washington today, preparing the federal government for a possible presidential transition. As the federal transition coordinator at the General Services Administration, Gibert and her team are working closely with the White House, the campaign of Democrat Joseph Biden and the federal agencies. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick speaks to Gibert about GSA’s responsibilities in the transition process, the support it will provide to the incumbent president and the challenger, and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected transition planning. Read the highlights here.

AUGUST 3, 2020 | 35 MINUTES


Planning Presidential Conventions

Presidential nominating conventions are a major moment for any campaign. Reverend Leah Daughtry and Maria Cino served, respectively, as CEO’s of Democratic and Republican conventions, and join host David Marchick on Transition Lab to discuss their experiences. The two women talk about the role of conventions in political campaigns, whether they give a boost to the candidates, and how the coronavirus pandemic will change conventions this year and in the future. Read the highlights here.

JULY 27, 2020 | 40 MINUTES


Breaking into a male-dominated national security arena

Women are vastly underrepresented in leadership roles within the federal government and in national security fields. In this Transition Lab episode, Jamie Jones Miller, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, and Nina Hachigian, a former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, talk to host David Marchick about their own careers in government, how they handled uncomfortable situations and the importance of bringing more women into leadership positions. Both women are members of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, an organization dedicated to improving gender diversity in the national security field. Read the highlights here.

JULY 20, 2020 | 40 MINUTES


Chris Christie on Trump’s transition to power

Donald Trump’s 2016-17 presidential transition was famously bumpy in part because the president-elect made a change in transition leadership only days after the election. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was chairman of the Trump transition team from May 2016 until shortly after Election Day, but he had done extensive preparation to help the new president be ready to govern. On this episode of Transition Lab, Christie tells host David Marchick how he planned the transition and where it went wrong, offers some advice for 2020 and ponders his own future. Read the highlights here.

JULY 13, 2020 | 45 MINUTES


Help Wanted: The Critical Job of Selecting 4,000 Presidential Appointees

The Office of Presidential Personnel faces the herculean task of helping a president select about 4,000-political appointees at the beginning of a new administration and throughout a president’s four-year term. Jonathan McBride and Liza Wright, former directors of the PPO under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively, join host David Marchick on Transition Lab to share their advice on how to land a political appointment and some of the challenges they faced managing the personnel operation. Read the highlights here.

JULY 6, 2020 | 25 MINUTES


The George W. Bush Transition to Power 

George W. Bush had the shortest official transition in history at just 39 days, but secured more political appointees during his first year in office than any other modern president. Clay Johnson,who served as the executive director of Bush’s transition and later as director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, tells host Dave Marchick how Bush brought many of his personnel practices as Texas governor to Washington, how he started his transition early, solicited advice from seasoned Washington veterans and maintained a focus on planning for the new administration even the results of the 2000 election were in dispute. Read the highlights here.

JUNE 29, 2020 | 41 MINUTES


The Man Who Ran Washington: James Baker 

James Baker worked on five transitions and served in four presidential administrations, including as White House chief of staff and Treasury secretary under President Ronald Reagan, and as secretary of State for President George H.W. Bush. Baker joined host David Marchick on Transition Lab to discuss his long and distinguished career on the national stage. Read the highlights here.

JUNE 21, 2020 | 35 MINUTES


Navigating the screening process for high-level political appointees

The vetting process for individuals seeking a political appointment can be long and difficult. And the more senior the position, the more scrutiny appointees receive. Powerhouse attorneys Leslie Kiernan and Robert Rizzi have helped political appointees navigate the vetting process, and share their expertise with host David Marchick. They describe the appointment process, what might disqualify an individual and how the rules change with each administration. Read the highlights here.

JUNE 14, 2020 | 33 MINUTES


The Worst Transition in U.S. History, with Ted Widmer 

Abraham Lincoln faced the worst circumstances in U.S. history during his presidential transition, with seven Southern states having seceded from the Union before he took the oath of office on March 4, 1861. Historian Ted Widmer tells host David Marchick about Lincoln’s two-week train ride from Illinois to Washington, D.C. in February 1861, how this journey helped him find his voice, build public support, and set the tone for his presidency. He also described how Lincoln navigated around a plot to assassinate him in Baltimore. Read the highlights here.

JUNE 8, 2020 | 33 MINUTES


The Rocky Transition from Hoover to FDR

President Herbert Hoover and President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to cooperate in any matter during the four-month transition that occurred in the midst of the Great Depression. Eric Rauchway, an expert on the New Deal and the Progressive Era, shared his expertise on how Roosevelt utilized his time between the election and the inauguration to set in motion one of the most successful presidencies in American history despite Hoover’s unwillingness to ease the way. Read the highlights here.

JUNE 1, 2020 | 33 MINUTES


The Clinton Transition to Power

Former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty shared his insights with Translation Lab on Bill Clinton‘s 1992-93 presidential transition, his first year in office and the privilege of serving alongside his childhood friend. Read the highlights here.

MAY 25, 2020 | 38 MINUTES


Ken Burns on Presidential Leadership During American Crises

Filmmaker Ken Burns and historian Geoffrey Ward have captured American history by collaborating on documentaries like “The Civil War” and “The Roosevelts.” The two shared stories with Transition Lab about the biggest crises in our nation’s history – from the Civil War to the Great Depression to Vietnam – and how our past informs the present. Read the highlights here.

MAY 18, 2020 | 27 MINUTES


Planning for a President’s Second Term 

Professor Michael Nelson, an expert on the American presidency, joins Transition Lab to discuss the political dynamics that define a president’s first and second term. Nelson explains how new presidents can maximize their impact during their first year in office and outlines the challenges two-term presidents face during their fifth year. Read the highlights here.

MAY 11, 2020 | 23 MINUTES


The History of Presidential Transitions

Director of the White House Transition Project, Martha Kumar discusses the history of presidential transitions. Kumar outlines how the Presidential Transition Act changed transition planning, the importance of White House design for a successful first year in office and talks about the best—and worst—presidential transitions. Read the highlights here.

APRIL 27, 2020 | 33 MINUTES


The George H.W. Bush Transition to Power

Andrew Card, chief of staff to President George W. Bush and deputy chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, shares his perspective on the surprisingly challenging “friendly” transition from President Reagan to President George H. W. Bush. Card shares insights from his distinguished career in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Administrations. Read the highlights here.

APRIL 20, 2020 | 31 MINUTES


Leadership in Times of Turmoil

Four-Star Admiral James Stavridis and former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson distinguished themselves as exceptional leaders during times of crisis. Join us on Transition Lab to learn how effective leaders operate during times of uncertainty. Stavridis and Akerson discuss how public and private sector leaders can navigate the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Read the highlights here.

APRIL 13, 2020 | 24 MINUTES


Managing a Presidential Transition During a National Crisis

Stephanie Cutter, spokesperson for the Obama-Biden transition in 2008 and nationally recognized communications strategist, shares her perspective on managing the Obama-Biden transition during the global financial crisis. Cutter shares how the communications team positioned then president-elect Barack Obama in the public eye, how the team approached the economic crisis and how they managed the period from election to Inauguration Day. Read the highlights here.

MARCH 30, 2020 | 25 MINUTES


The Fifth Risk and Coronavirus, a Conversation with Michael Lewis

Author Michael Lewis shares insights on the coronavirus pandemic and stories from “The Fifth Risk.” Lewis discusses the critical role federal employees play in managing the crisis, and his advice for presidential transition teams. Lewis also outlines the importance of effective government management, both in times of crisis and times of normalcy, and why we need to rethink what we’re told about the career officials running our federal government. Read the highlights here.

MARCH 27, 2020 | 17 MINUTES


The Master of Disaster Planning, Thad Allen

Admiral Thad Allen talks about his experience leading the U.S. response to some of the most challenging modern crises. Named the “Master of Disaster” by TIME Magazine, Allen discusses the coronavirus pandemic and how to find calm in times of panic. Read the highlights here.

MARCH 26, 2020 | 11 MINUTES


The Master of Disaster Planning, Thad Allen

Former U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen led the U.S. response to some of the most challenging modern crises including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Allen discusses how he kept morale high when communicating with the disaster response teams, media and the country during times of panic. Read the highlights here.

MARCH 16, 2020 | 26 MINUTES


The Romney Transition to Power Plan

Former governor of Utah and Romney Transition chairman, Mike Leavitt, shares how he planned the 2012 presidential transition had Mitt Romney won the election. Leavitt describes his experience leading the first transition to operate under the Presidential Transition Act of 2010, how the new guidelines changed the narrative around transition planning and how his team planned to follow the “gold standard” president Bush and Obama set in the 2008 transition. Read the highlights here.

MARCH 2, 2020 | 32 MINUTES


The First – Lady? Husband? Spouse?

Anita McBride, Laura Bush’s chief of staff, shares insights on the evolution of the first lady’s role throughout history, obstacles they face transitioning to the White House and how the role might change after this year’s election. McBride also explores the unique challenges first ladies have faced, the timeless pressures associated with the role and her personal experience working with first lady Laura Bush. Read the highlights here.

FEBRUARY 24, 2020 | 36 MINUTES


The Carter Transition to Power

Stuart Eizenstat and David Rubenstein discuss their experience working on the Carter campaign, the transition and their own work in the Carter administration. The two explain that while Carter had an enormously consequential one-term presidency, the flawed transition had a lasting, negative impact on Carter’s presidency. Read the highlights here.

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 | 30 MINUTES


The Obama Transition to Power

Head of Barack Obama’s 2008 transition, Chris Lu explains how the Obama team planned for effective governance on day one. In this conversation, Lu explains his role in the 2008 transition and the challenges he faced coordinating the biggest hand off of power in the world. He gives insights from his own experience and lays out the key elements for success in presidential transitions. Read the highlights here.



The Art of National Security Transitions

Former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy shares insights from her experience running the Agency Review team for the Obama transition and serving as Undersecretary of Defense. Flournoy also discusses the challenges associated with transitioning during an ongoing conflict, and the underrepresentation of women in national security. Read the highlights here.

JANUARY 21, 2020 | 40 MINUTES


Peaceful Transition of Power

Few have served with more distinction than Josh Bolten and Denis McDonough, chiefs of staff for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In this conversation, they talk about three types of transitions – into government, to a second term, and the handoff to the next administration.  Read the highlights here.

JANUARY 21, 2020 | 29 MINUTES


2016: The Tale of Two Transitions

The Clinton and Trump transition leaders share what happened during the 2016 election. In this conversation, Rich Bagger (Trump) and Ed Meier (Clinton) discuss how they became involved with the transition, the challenges they faced and what happened after Election Day 2016.  Read the highlights here.