White House

Perspectives

Presidential transition insights

Anticipate and navigate change with confidence

Change is constant. Times of transition can be chaotic, but what steps can be taken to prepare? Explore our collection of content on presidential transitions.

Preparing to serve the next administration

One of the hallmarks of our republic is the peaceful transition of power following the presidential election every four years. Transitions occur whether a new president is elected, or a sitting president is re-elected, since about 50 percent of appointees leave government in the first year of a second term. The magnitude of the transition to a new administration is far greater, comparable to the c-suite of the Fortune 100 leaving all at once.

US Presidents have the power to make 4,000 political appointments, approximately 1,000 of which require Senate confirmation. Additionally, the President manages over 2 million government employees, not counting members of the military, for whom the president is the Commander in Chief. There is simply no way to predict if or when a crisis may occur during an administration. Being ready to govern on Day one is a matter of national security.

How Biden’s policy plans could impact state and local governments

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden campaigned on one of the most ambitious domestic policy agendas in decades. The sweeping policy initiatives envisioned by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could have profound implications not only for citizens but also for state and local governments. These policies propose a fundamental recasting of federal-state relations, one that has been likened to the 1930s’ New Deal, the 1960s’ Great Society, and other historical shifts.

Planning a new presidential term amid growing uncertainties

There have been several times in recent history when US presidential transitions or second terms have occurred during times of significant crisis. The Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 financial crisis all coincided with election years. The November 2020 election will take place during both a public health crisis and an economic crisis, at a time of social unrest, and when government business operations have been upended due to COVID-19. The combination makes planning this transition the most challenging since perhaps 1932.

Learn more on how to effectively plan for postelection amidst a pandemic.

Top national issues in 2020 and beyond

We are entering what the World Economic Forum has called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a period of immense possibilities, but also mounting challenges. During this time of economic, technological, and political transformation, many elected officials and American citizens are looking for fresh thinking on some of the biggest issues of our time. In this time of rapid change, it is more important than ever that policy makers have a clear understanding of the impact their choices will have on the future.

Explore our collection of studies on national challenges facing the United States in 2020 and beyond.

Presidential transition: Translating lessons from mergers and acquisitions

The scale of a presidential transition is staggering. It’s a large-scale, critical, yet infrequently occurring event, so we turned to the commercial world for new insights on managing a presidential transition. CEO transitions in the private sector occur much more often than every four or eight years.

We interviewed professionals who advise, facilitate, and manage M&A transactions and post-merger integration as well as with those who have advised or experienced presidential and other government transitions. We discovered some striking similarities. Civil servants, transition team participants, and incoming political appointees may benefit from the translation of important lessons from the hundreds of M&A transactions that have occurred.

Learn more on The presidential transition: Translating lessons from mergers and acquisitions.

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