“There is a … rather robust structure to deal with transition,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Robert Rangel, special assistant to the secretary and the deputy secretary of defense, is in charge of the process in the department. Marine Brig. Gen. Frank McKenzie reports to Rangel in leading the effort for the Joint Staff.
How the transition moves forward will depend largely on the president-elect, Whitman said, noting there is an added emphasis on the transition this year because it will occur as the United States is involved in two wars and operations around the world.
“There is a recognition that … given that we are a nation at war, that energy and effort [should] be sufficiently placed to ensure that we don’t drop any balls, because national security and supporting our fielded forces that are engaged in combat is of paramount importance to this country,” Whitman said. “We are preparing to make this as smooth a transition as we can.”
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued principles to guide the transition. The first is that the department must maintain its continuity of operations. The second is to ensure efficient and effective transition between the out-going political leaders and the incoming administration.
The department also will “facilitate quality transfer of information to the new administration [and] sustain focus on our existing programs and processes while allowing the in-coming administration to establish its governance processes,” Whitman said.