Since mid-summer NASA has been preparing for the Presidential transition that is now upon us. The Office of Management and Budget has led the efforts across the government and has been very forward leaning with both campaign teams to be ready to initiate a smooth transition, particularly with the challenges that we face as a nation today.
While NASA usually does not factor as a near-term decision for incoming Administrations, this year the General Accounting Office (GAO) highlighted Shuttle retirement as one of its top 13 urgent issues across the government.
Based on experience from past transition teams, NASA has been developing a large set of reference material for the new team to review. Phil McAlister from the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation is NASA’s lead point of contact for the transition activities. As such, he has been representing NASA for several weeks of transition planning meetings across the government. The NASA transition book and a companion issues book have been reviewed by all of the Strategic Management Council members and are now in final preparation for the President-Elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team.
In addition, the General Services Administration (GSA) has asked each agency to provide floor space and basic services for the transition teams to operate within the agencies. All that has been done; the books are being printed and we are ready to begin the discussions. Remember though that the President-Elect Obama’s Transition Team is an advisory body to the new President. In some cases we may be limited in the data that can be provided since they are unlikely to be government employees. We have also been cautioned by the White House to only deal with those people who have been officially designated as Transition Team members. During this time many folks working unique agendas may present themselves as “working transition.” We must be sure that any agency information that is given to transition personnel is given only to those on the official team. If you receive any requests, please refer these requests to Phil or his backup, Mike Hawes.