Obama announces transition team

President-elect Barack Obama announced his transition team on Wednesday, one day after winning the 2008 election.

The advisers, who have been working informally on the transition for months, will be formally known as the Obama-Biden Transition Project, a 501(c)(4) organization, a nonprofit that can engage in lobbying or political campaigning.

"Among the many projects undertaken by the transition board have been detailed analyses of previous transition efforts, policy statements made during the campaign, and the workings of federal government agencies, and priority positions that must be filled by the incoming administration," the announcement stated.

Three co-chairs -- John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress; Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama campaign adviser; and Pete Rouse, Obama's campaign chief of staff -- will oversee an advisory board and transition team staff.

Paul Light, a professor at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, said the quick announcement of the transition team was a sign the Obama camp was shifting smoothly from campaign mode to transition mode.

"Moving political people quickly into positions of significant influence is a good sign they're integrating rather than infighting," Light said. "That the day-to-day activity people were all people involved with the campaign is a good sign for a smooth transition."

Podesta, Jarrett and Rouse will lead an advisory board of individuals from both the private and public sectors: former EPA Administrator Carol Browner, Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman. Gitenstein and Kaufman will serve as co-chairs of Vice President-elect Joe Biden's transition team.

John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, said he did not know the advisers, but was "pleased" and "relieved" that the announcement was made so quickly after Election Day.

"They've thought this through and are not having any internal dissension about getting this started," Kamensky said.

And John Palguta, vice president for policy at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, said he thought the structure and composition of the team were promising.

"Having three co-chairs, it's looking like this is a divide-and-conquer effort," he said. "Speed and quality are so important."

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, also praised the group. "Many of the team members have significant government experience which will serve President-elect Obama well," she said.

Senior staff on the transition team are:

  • Chris Lu - Executive Director
  • Dan Pfeiffer - Communications Director
  • Stephanie Cutter - Chief Spokesperson
  • Cassandra Butts - General Counsel
  • Jim Messina - Personnel Director
  • Patrick Gaspard - Associate Personnel Director
  • Christine Varney - Personnel Counsel
  • Melody Barnes - Co-Director of Agency Review
  • Lisa Brown - Co-Director of Agency Review
  • Phil Schiliro - Director of Congressional Relations
  • Michael Strautmanis - Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Katy Kale - Director of Operations
  • Brad Kiley - Director of Operations
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.