Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Preparing for Transition at State

Sean McCormack, Spokesman at State indicates in his DPB on October 21 that the preparation for the presidential transition has started. The Secretary has appointed three individuals to head up the Department-wide transition effort. They are Under Secretary Bill Burns, who is Under Secretary for Political Affairs; Under Secretary Pat Kennedy, who is Under Secretary for Management; and the Executive Secretary, Dan Smith. All are career Foreign Service Officers.

“So these three individuals sit atop the Department-wide structure that’s going to be responsible for making sure that there is a professional, efficient, smooth transition from this team to the next team as they come in. At some point along the way, we’ll take you all – for anybody who is interested – a tour for the transition spaces that are already being set up on the first floor of the Department. I think you all know where they are, down in the southwest corner.

These things are designed to help people out with everything from administrative to security to policy support. The Department is already starting the process of generating all the papers that are required for a transition if – for any of you out there who don’t know the State Department, this is a Department that still runs on paper. So it’s – we do a lot of things well and one of them is produce paper. So we’re producing a lot of transition papers for the incoming team. And I would expect that on November 5th, we will have our first set of books ready to hand over to whomever the incoming transition team leads will be.

All of that said, we still have a lot of work left to do between now and January 20th, and the Secretary is certainly concentrating on that, but I also wanted to let you know that we are also concentrating on the fact that we are going to be turning over responsibility for the Department as well as U.S. foreign policy to a new team coming here in a few months.

[…] And the President also recently signed, I think, within the past two weeks, a new executive order that sped – that was designed to speed the process of security – granting security clearances and having individuals in transition teams, both transition teams, be able to access sensitive information so that, you know, on November 5th, you know, there is a president-elect – well, not – well, there will be somebody the American people have chosen as the next president, and a transition team, and so they can start their work immediately. And the idea is to make sure that it is as seamless and is efficient and as professional as possible.

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