The months leading up to an election are a time for Americans to assess the candidates who have presented themselves for the Presidency, consider their positions on policy matters, evaluate their attributes, and decide for whom to cast their votes. During the campaign season, the candidates, and their respective parties, have promoted their policy positions on issues of critical importance to Americans. They have heard the views, concerns and aspirations of the American people, including a variety of experts on policy and administration.
Yet seemingly overnight, a victorious candidate for U.S. President must turn their attention from rallies, policy statements, get-out-the-vote efforts, and media interviews to leading a complex government comprised of more than 2 million civilian employees, volumes of laws and regulations, and a military deployed across the globe.
The Presidential Transition is a formidable endeavor, but the President-elect is not alone. Despite a rancorous political environment, support for a smooth and effective Transition transcended party lines. This year, the Obama Administration and the Congress joined together in providing a strong start to the effort by naming Transition Coordinators in every agency to prepare the government for the new President and leadership team.
The National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) along with George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government (Schar School) also are pleased to contribute to a successful Transition with a set of memoranda to our national leaders – leaders in every branch of government and at every level of government who are charged with making government work for every citizen.
Accomplished practitioners, recognized scholars, and expert thought leaders author the memos. Building on the Academy’s Transition 2016 effort, each memo is an encapsulation of extensive knowledge, relevant experience, and timely research, intended to trigger innovation in policy execution and program delivery across government. Our goal is to have these memos make effective management across government a top priority for our new national leaders, as well as to encourage further discussions among policymakers, the Academy, ASPA, the Schar School, and memo authors.
The authors, reviewers, and the editorial team deserve our deep appreciation for their contributions to this publication. They have demonstrated their dedication to our nation by tapping into years of real-world experience, deep expertise, and the latest data and evidence to bring us this volume of sound advice. We also gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Academy in making the print edition of the Memos to National Leaders possible.
Every American has a stake in a successful Presidential transition. The challenges are real and often daunting. We believe these memos will provide management context, perspective, and insight for newly appointed and elected leaders as they assume their responsibilities for the benefit of all citizens.