Military Prepares for Transition


A Washington Post article by Ann Scott Tyson describes how the military is preparing for the upcoming transition. Following are some excerpts from the article:

“The military’s primary focus during the transition is twofold: to heighten preparations for a crisis requiring military force, and to anticipate and advise the incoming administration on likely new directions in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said. . . .

“The Joint Staff transition team — with input from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy chiefs and regional military commanders — is now focused mainly on preparing the briefings that Mullen will use to advise the incoming president and the presumptive defense secretary. . . .

“After the Nov. 4 elections, the team will facilitate [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael] Mullen’s top-level briefings while starting immediately to instruct new senior administration officials on how to run the military. . . .

“Mullen has asked the transition team, led by Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., to anticipate and prepare for a number of changes — from whom the new administration will pick for its top defense officials to what new policies it may adopt, particularly for Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .

“The team reports to a senior Pentagon steering group set up for the transition that includes Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, and other senior military and defense leaders and is chaired by Gates’s special assistant, Robert Rangel.

“Mullen’s team will carry out exercises to show new administration officials the mechanics of handling a crisis. “We will . . . show them how you actually operate the levers of the military power of the United States,” said the official familiar with the team.”


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2 Responses to “Military Prepares for Transition”

  1. Phil Candreva Says:

    Certainly the military should be concerned about our nation’s enemies exploiting the vulnerability that is inherent in the transition of an administration. In the last several years we have seen Benazir Bhutto killed while campaigning, we saw Heathrow airport bombed during a transition, we saw commuter trains bombed in Spain just prior to an election. Our military brass and incumbent political leaders owe the nation as seamless a transition as possible.

    At the same time, given that defense consumes one half of the discretionary budget and about half the GAO’s High Risk list of government activity prone to fraud, waste, and abuse, the need for a seamless transfer of the business of defense is also paramount. The Center for Defense Management Reform has been circulating a set of recommendations for the transition of the business side of defense. A copy is available at

  2. John Kamensky Says:

    Hi Phil – Thanks for the reminder — I’ll do a post on your Center’s report. It has some thoughtful insights that others should keep in focus during the transition.

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