November 6th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Pentagon prepares for first war-time transition since Vietnam

The Pentagon is preparing for a war-time transition.

The Pentagon is preparing for a war-time transition.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As administration transition teams around Washington crank into high gear, Pentagon officials are insisting that the complicated transfer of power from the Bush administration to the Obama administration - the first during a time of war since Vietnam - will go smoothly.

Teams in both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' office, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, have been working on the transition for months now, according to Pentagon officials.

"We are preparing to make this as smooth a transition as we can," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said earlier this week.

While officials say the transition is in good hands, little is being said about what discussions will occur between the Pentagon teams and President-elect Barack Obama's transition teams when they begin showing up within days or weeks.

"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 explained.

Robert Rangel, special assistant to Gates and the deputy secretary of defense, is in charge of the transition process in the Pentagon while Marine Brig. Gen. Frank McKenzie, who reports to Rangel, is leading the effort for the Joint Staff.

Last month, Gates issued guidelines for the transition, stressing that the department must maintain its continuity of operations during the handover, and must ensure efficient and effective transition between the outgoing political leaders and the incoming administration, according to Whitman.

The Pentagon has opened new offices for Obama's transition staff. The non-descript offices are just down the hall from the secretary of defense's office and have been readied with computers, phones and filing cabinets.

The offices remain empty until staff is designated by Obama's team and cleared through the White House.

"The initial contact point for the Obama transition team will be through the White House and there will be a discussion on the way forward on the transition and what will happen out of that will be a memorandum of understanding that says 'these people will be working with the Defense Department' so we know who has been sanctioned and designated by the president-elect," Whitman said.

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    I can't believe how gullible some people are. Sad.

    November 6, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    The fact of hearing people running around yelling "Yes we can" is so totally laughable. So when Obama is proven to be a liar like Bush, Clinton, etc..., what will your motto be then.

    People – he's a politician. Politicians lie, If you believe anything differently, I pity you.

    November 6, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Ron

    2012 are you going to vote in palin? the one who thinks Africa is a country. where do you clowns come from. stop posting here I think TNT has a show on for you.

    November 6, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    >>Let's wrap-up the endless war in Iraq. McWarmonger and his 100 >>year war are history. Iraq can take care of itself just fine now.

    You can't possibly be this naive, can you?????

    November 6, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. 2012

    To Klee, (3:57)

    To those of us who you commented against:

    Perhaps, we are highly educated.
    Perhaps, we have a degree, or several.
    Perhaps, we live in the cozy suburbs.
    Perhaps we are financially sound.

    Perhaps we know that we could NEVER have an intelligent conversation with people like you, moreless a debate!

    November 6, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Eric

    hopefully Dr. Gates is offered the opportunity, and accepts, to stay on as SecDef. That would go a long way to showing the importance of bi-partisanship.

    November 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. 82nd Airborne Division

    My fellow Americans 2012 is what we call in the ARMY a "NASTY LEG"!

    You see it's individuals like this who hide behind a computer screen

    and spew hatred because their heart really pumps KOOL-AID!

    2012 I am all you can never be the real representation of America!

    Me and my Airborne brothers see no color and we advocate no

    hatred we just take care of UNCLE SAMS business!

    Who put the ICAN in amerICAN? The 82nd Baby!

    2012 your softer then puppy poo ya coward!

    November 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. White-girl, in Iowa

    Hey "2012", you should just leave the US until 2012. Your hate will just consume you, you moran. I know you'll be watching Obama closely, so maybe you'll learn something about how a presidency should be run. I hope you'll be man (or woman) enough to admit when you're proven wrong!

    November 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. KLEE

    2012: you're on!! and perhaps we have a very intelligent President in the whitehouse.

    And perhaps you haven't a clue about my background – or anybody else for that matter! And certainly any of your "qualifying" qualities won't make you a "better" person.

    November 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Bill in California

    Those who sat quietly at home as the total destruction of 9/11 and the murdering of thousands of American civilians let me hear your voice. The enemy is alive and well in all parts of this world and they aren't interested in glib, lawyerly speeches. If you believe a friendly hand thrust out to Al Queda and his ilk will be well received you are dangerously mistaken. President Bush took the necessary steps to push the terrorist enclaves out of Iraq and Afghanistan their strongholds. Yes it cost American lives but ask the majority of soldiers if they felt the cause was just or were they there fighting shadows. Your future depends on our ability to keep the enemy off our shores. It's easy to sit comfortably and criticize from afar but thank God, yes GOD you aren't hiding under the bed, dodging bullets.

    November 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

    no one hates gwb more than I. But I also dont want another fall of Saigon when we leave Irag. They are already saying they arent ready, of course they never will be ready. But This has to be done smart... Not get out at all cost in 16 months leave not a single troop there, like Obama orignially claimed he would do! I think Hilary prob told him to revaluate that remark. We are loaded with imigrants now. We dont need a ton of Irag's fleeing their country too!

    November 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. dwayne


    Please change you name to 2016, when Obama is finishing his 2nd term in the White House! If you don't like that, than put yourself in a comma for the next 8 years. At least we don't have to hear you until then!

    November 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. White-girl, in Iowa

    BTW...Attorney in FL,
    Obama said he's ending the war that we should have never started! Why are we in Iraq? In his debates he clearly said he's ending the wrong war! Learn the facts before you speak. I sure hope you're not practicing as a defense attorney!!!

    November 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Erik in Real PA

    America is NOT at war. Only Congress is authorized to declare war. Our last declaration of war was in 1942, against Bulgaria during World War II. The War Powers Act of 1973 did not overturn the United States Constitution, which in Article 1, Section 8 clearly states Congress alone has the power to declare war. What we have experienced is a military invasion and occupation of a foreign nation by the United States. No declaration of war means no specific adversaries, no specific goals, no plan for peace when conflict is resolved. Justify this military action as you wish, or don't, but we are not lawfully at war with anyone right now according to the "operating manual" of our nation. The Constitution is not subject to executive convenience.

    November 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Comrade nom deplume

    Our troops don't come home unless you push for it. Move-on and you leftties had better raise absolute hell about this. Unless you beat this drum louder than you ever have, Obama will not pull out until he has to in order to play to the center.


    November 6, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Tim

    Anyone want to take bets on re-enlistment rates in the coming 6 months?

    November 6, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Please change you name to 2016, when Obama is finishing his 2nd term in the White House! If you don't like that, than put yourself in a comma for the next 8 years. At least we don't have to hear you until then!
    Yup – nice to see open-mindedness.

    It's free speech...unless someone disagrees with you. Typical.

    November 6, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Hey "2012″, you should just leave the US until 2012. Your hate will just consume you, you moran.

    It's spelled "moron."

    November 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    To 82nd Airborne, maybe Obama will be different than the last 2 democratic party Presidents and make sure you have the equipment and spare parts to go to war if called and will not take you from 15% behind your civilian counterparts in pay to 21% behind them in pay. Clinton is why there were not enough armored Humvees and body armor for everyone who went into Iraq. You do not resupply in less than a year for 8 years of lack of resupply. For once I hope it is different for those in uniform, but I doubt it! Ask so of the "Lifers how it was for training, pay and equipment under Clinton as I found under him and Carter in my 20 year Naval career.

    November 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Tim

    "We are so doomed with this guy in the White House, is it 2012 yet?

    Sure, most will say he will get two terms, I say he gets impeached!"

    I say he doesn't choose to run again in 2012 because the job is harder than he realized and he didn't really study enough to be good at it.

    November 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Comrade nom deplume

    former gop,

    We are against you. Deal with it.

    November 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Bill in Ct.

    We are not at War, it's called an INVASION of another country. Bush lied about Iraq and I'm sick and tired of all you people out here calling it a war. Obama you need to bring the troops home right away, enough with the blood shed. Iraq never did anything to us. Bush and Chaney just lied to us so they can steal their Oil, and can someone tell me where's all that money going from the oil.

    November 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. KLEE

    YAAA! Hooray for: 82nd Airborne Division! I appreciate your comments.

    I was 17 when the U.S. was in the war in Vietnam – my first job was with the draft board (Selective Service) – I may not have a degree but I've been down in the trenches with the common man (which I am one of) and the company has been good! I think I've been around long enough to see how things play out and what the Government can do & can't do for the people.....still all in all its our government and we are better off than a whole lot of other people in the world.

    November 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. the last free man

    lets wait and see folks, take an active part.

    1. pay attention to your govenment and keep them your "SERVANTS".
    2. pay close attention to the enemies of freedom.

    November 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |

    listening to all you bloggers talk about Religion and God is starting to get to me. Religion is what put us into this holy war we are in. For those of us who arent beleivers, can you just tone it down a tad. I dont want to take your god off your dollar bill or anything , like it. You can keep all your holidays and all that stuff. but I do find it offensive all the talk about how your prayers were answered etc. Obama isnt the chosen one, and people elected him not God. And if you all remember it was Bush who said I have been called to do this from a Higher authority..... That turned out just great didnt it? So please lets be tolerant of eachother and keep church and state seperate. Can we keep him out of the BLOGS

    November 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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