Transition Lab is a behind-the-scenes look at presidential transitions. Join David Marchick, director of the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition 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.
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.
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.
You can view the full event here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.