November 13th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Pentagon readying 'to-do' list for Obama administration

Barack Obama meets with U.S. Army personnel in Basra, Iraq, on July 21.
Barack Obama meets with U.S. Army personnel in Basra, Iraq, on July 21.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Defense Department will give president-elect Barack Obama's transition team a list of "key decision" that the new administration will face during the first three months of its administration, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The list of issues will be "non-prescriptive," in that it will not be pressing a policy per se, but will simply lay out decisions the new team is going to need to deal with in the first 90 days, according to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

The Pentagon has not spelled out what is on the list, but some elements such as upcoming NATO meetings and preparing a new defense budget to submit to Congress are long-expected items, according to department officials.

In addition, Sec. Gates had surveyed Pentagon staff to see who would be willing to stay on past inaugration day. A high percentage of current employees have said they are willing, Whitman said, although he would not say how many that would be.

On Wednesday, the president-elect's office announced that former Deputy Secretary of Defense John White and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy will lead Obama's Department of Defense transition team. Flournoy is currently president of the Center for a New American Security policy group and White teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School.

The agency review team will be doing a "top to bottom" review, according to Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro. The team will be in place at the Pentagon by the end of the week in an effort to get "information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inaugration," the Obama transition office explained in a statement announcing the review teams.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Pentagon
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Larry

    GRIT,
    CHELA,

    Do the math,I said after 9/11(seven years) . Actually before Bush was another Democrat named Clinton who did nothing to stop Osama bin Laden and or terrorist,and he DID have many chances too.

    Since you mention the economy ,that too,is scewed up by the Democrats creating Sally and Freddy letting people buy they couldn't afford.

    Educate your selves

    November 13, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Roy - Chicago IL

    To do:
    -Get rid of bzillion dollar military deficit
    -Find something to do with awkward base in Cuba
    -Get military personnel to agree that a Democratic leader is 'OK' publicly
    -Replace those 50,000 pictures of Bush in all the military offices
    -Avoid saying 'Petreaus' over and over in a debate
    -Tell military there actually ARE other vendors than Halliburton
    -GET US OUT OF IRAQ and save 10 billion a month for awhile!!

    November 13, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Duane in Newton Il.

    I have one thing to say about the election, HOW SWEET IT IS, bye bye shrub

    November 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. Larry, CA

    Barack has on the job training now. I just pray to God that American people can protect themselves. Barack has no idea and no experience. He is trying to take in persons from Clinton administration and that will be another disaster. Clinton could not catch Osama in Tora Bora. Barack has no idea about it either.

    November 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Tim

    I'd like to see Obama's eyes when he reads the list. It could be a new American Express commercial. Priceless.

    November 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Tim

    Chela – All the war dead in the past 7 years is less than the number of dead from the last 5 attacks by Al Quada on Western interests. The soldiers who have been fighting have not been fighting in vein, they are brave and we owe them forever, they have saved inumerable lives. The economy in shatters is due to the democrats pushing loans on people who were not going to repay them, basically a redistribution of wealth. Last time I looked, the Europeans have NEVER been incented to shoulder any of the burdens of policing this world, with the exception of those that are helping us in Iraq. Terrorists don't need Iraq and Afghanistan to recruit others, have you been asleep since the last Bush was in office? Obama is at large, he is at a large cave in the middle of nowhere. Did you go with the Cherry or Grape flavored KoolAid?

    November 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    Duhbya was warned repeatedly that al Qaeda wanted a piece of us, and he wasn't concerned enough to make it a priority. Obama will do better, but that's no guarantee even so.

    November 13, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. To: Willy

    Willy:

    Yeah, those bad old Clinton days, when we won the only major war we were in (Balkan). Gotta hate em.

    November 13, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Ghost

    Best of luck to you President Obama. Bush is leaving you a disaster to clean up after. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes 2 years or more.

    November 13, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse NY

    G.R.I.T. Clinton had a chance to take Bin Laden out when he was still in office and failed to do so. The 9/11 attacks were planned on Clinton's watch. Stop trying to rewrite history. New airline rules were implemented by the Bush administration and the airport security comes from the TSA, a federal agency. So, yes, Bush can claim credit for at least one thing.

    November 13, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    I think that one of the first things President Obama can do is apologize to the US military for the bad decisions of the past president, and apologize to all the Democrats in the military for all the slanderous remarks by the past presidential administration.

    MSgt, USAF, Retired
    Vietnam Vet.
    Democrat, and proud of it!

    November 13, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Denny

    Job one: Beef up fraud investigation and prosecution and go after defense contractors like Boeing, Blackwater, Haliburten, SAIC, Titan, Booze-Allen Hamilton, Northrup Grumen, Raytheon, CACI, etc and etc who have been pigging out at the trough these 8 years past on Jane and Joe Q. Public's dime.

    November 13, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. d in fl

    Actually there have been more terrorist attacks on america and american interests worldwide than any other 8 years ever.

    November 13, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. No Hillary = No Obama

    It is going to be a multitude of decision times for Obama and watch his weak knees.

    November 13, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. Flex

    Chela, you stated that Bush has kept us safe for the last 7 years. Do you consider 9-11-01 a safe period of time? That disaster happened on his watch. It might not have ever happened if he wasn't elected.

    November 13, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. housport22

    The closer President-elect Obama gets to beginning his term, the more his policies are having to adjust to the changes both here and abroad. As for the military, his willingness to retain Gates as SecDef, coupled with his praise for General Petraeus, show that his stance toward current military efforts has "evolved". Yes, he'll bring the troops home, but not as quickly as first stated. And many military commanders are supportive of Obama's intent to intensify the American effort in Afghanistan. This is an intelligent man. He'll examine the situation upon entering office and I feel confident he'll make the best possible decision he can at that point in time.

    November 13, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. A Real American

    Bush protected us?!

    9/11 happened on his watch.

    New Orleans drowned on his watch and still hasn't recovered.

    We invaded Afghanistan but were unable to kill Bin Laden or finish the job of dismantling the Taliban or Al Qaeda because Junior couldn't wait to invade Iraq.

    Iraq, a country which played no part in 9/11 and hated Al Qaeda, was so mishandled that it remains a bleeding ulcer on our nation, despite Little Bush's proclamation of "Mission Accomplished."

    If that's protection, you can have it.

    November 13, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. Osiris

    President Obama will make us proud.

    JUST WATCH!!

    OSIRIS

    November 13, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. KLEE

    All of our efforts in Iraq (bad choice for combat) and Afghanistan will need to be reviewed – everything is changing rapidly – terrorists have no "country" and they are everywhere and very mobile – we need to work with countries in a way that will "stamp-out" terrorists cells and training camps – You can kill osama bin laden – but he is like the "terminator" and will "be back" in another form and in another land - Military leaders and generals and such will be able to advise the President-elect – they want to win and with honor and they want their efforts to count! terrorism on every level needs to be dealt with – but alas I think it will never really end – there is so much hate & frustration in this world.

    November 13, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    If their is a terrorist in our midst, I'd say it was G.W.Bush!

    Bush spends almost ten minutes reading to children after he has been told that we are under attack. Once he does manage to get in his plane, they fly the wrong way. The first thing he does upon return to Washington is to wisk all his Saudi friends out of the country! Then he proceeds to attack Iraq and hunt down Hussien instead of Osama bin Ladin! Now we have watched Bush and Cheney bankrupt this country in order to make themselves and company richer than they already are while the country goes down the tubes! Now you tell me who the real terrorists are!

    November 13, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. Rhia

    Larry, I don't live in America but I feel the danger lurking every where. Bush's policies made the US and the entire world unsafe, promoted fear and divisiveness and marginalized more minorities and countries. Many countrie has now become a training ground for Islamic militants because of overwhelming sympathy towards them but hate towards the US (not only policies but Americans as well). You are still lucky that you live in US that you won't have to endure everyday suicide bombings. But try living in other parts of the world like Iraq and Afghanistan where able-Muslim men are prepared to take their own life just to kill an American.

    November 13, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Jeremy

    To A Real American:
    Do you think that 9/11 happened just because of Bush?think about the events who preceded it remember the U.S.S. Cole?That happened on Clinton's watch and he didnt do anything to catch Bin Laden
    It's more Clinton's fault then Bush's

    November 13, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  23. maurice

    i`m sure that obamas advisors along with military commanders will guide obama in the right direction. thats what they are there for. thats what they have been there for for many years and many presidents. obama is just 1 man but with compotent people around him he will be able to do a good job. without those people he will fail misserably. just as bush has. it is not only the president who succeeds or fails it is the people who surround them. along with congress and the senate. also people who elect officials and think their job as a voter is done. so support the president and your elected officials but also keep a close eye on them as they are employed be each and every tax payer in the us.

    November 13, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  24. Larry

    The media can make Obama a god–but he will make you all fools.

    Hanging out in a neighborhood is not going to cut it as a world leader.

    November 13, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
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