WASHINGTON — Lower than a day after the Normal Companies Administration opened the doorways for the landing team from the Biden-Harris marketing campaign to reach on the Pentagon, members have already had two conversations with present protection officers, with extra to return.
However whereas the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 lays out clear directives on how one administration helps usher within the subsequent — it actually comes with a handbook on finest practices — this transition, like a lot else in 2020, could require some flexibility because of COVID-19.
The GSA’s transfer — which got here after growing criticisms from Democrats who felt the company was slow-rolling the beginning of the transition for political functions — freed up funds, workplace house and, critically for the Pentagon transition, allowed the sharing of delicate info with the incoming workforce.
Nevertheless, the transition is kicking off simply because the Pentagon upped its degree of COVID preparedness. In consequence, most occupancy has dropped to 40 p.c, with additional temperature checks.
In keeping with Washington Headquarters Companies Director Thomas Muir, the company transition director, that received’t cease the transition, however it could require the workforce to rely extra on video teleconferencing than earlier teams.
The incoming team “is keen and definitely capable of abide by the COVID restrictions right here within the Pentagon. They agreed with the safety measures we’re doing for our households, our staff, ourselves, our colleagues, our comrades right here within the Pentagon.” Muir mentioned at a press convention Tuesday, including that “Some will work within the constructing, some might be digital.”
Kash Patel, the newly-installed chief of workers for newly-installed appearing secretary of protection Christopher Miller, might be main the transition for the present administration. However Muir will handle the day-to-day work, in accordance with chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman.
“I spoke with the chief of workers immediately, and he’s assured me that Tom right here is the lead on this and that he’s going to be working with Tom, and Tom goes to be the one working with the workforce immediately,” Hoffman mentioned, including that Patel’s position is principally “to be the contact level for the secretary, to make sure the secretary has perception into what’s happening and to verify the transition is profitable.”
Patel additionally reached out to transition lead Kathleen Hicks as a way to share his contact info in case she had any questions.
Muir mentioned his workforce has been making ready for six months in case a transition was wanted, and believes the present arrange will enable the Biden-Harris workforce to work as safely as potential.
Included in that setup: workplace house on the Pentagon that enables for social distancing, and which comes outfitted with each safe and unsecure VTC capabilities. With the GSA certification, the FBI and Division of Justice can start giving safety clearances to the transition workforce, permitting entry to labeled info wanted to offer an up-to-date scenario report back to the president-elect and his advisors.
Informing the transition is a bunch of “transition help coordinators,” largely common officers or senior govt service civilians, drawn from key workplaces across the army businesses, combatant instructions, joint workers and OSD. That group, which meets weekly, will present info as wanted to the transition workforce and assist arrange interviews with key officers.
Muir famous he expects each day conversations with the Biden-Harris group, including “They’re wanting ahead to taking part in discussions within the Pentagon. I’m offering a small tour on Monday subsequent week.”