President-elect Barack Obama announced agency review teams for the departments of defense, treasury and state, as part of his transition into the White House.
The teams will complete “a thorough review” of the departments and provide Obama “with information needed to make the strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration,” the Obama-Biden transition team said in a statement.
The aides are expected to begin their efforts by the end of the week. Information from the teams will be used to complete the confirmation process for Obama’s cabinet, help key administration members in leading their departments, and begin implementing policy.
The announcement comes as John Podesta, a top Obama transition aide said under Obama, “the American people will see a transition of government that is efficient, that is organized, that is bipartisan and more open and transparent than others before,” in a conference call Tuesday.
Washington has been speculating about Obama’s cabinet pick for treasury secretary as economic conditions worsen. Key lawmaker’s efforts to stave off further turmoil were bolstered earlier this week when General Motors Corp. reported it could run out of cash by 2009.
The appointment of defense secretary has also been under close watch as many on Capitol Hill anticipate the departure of current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Podesta would not comment on whether Gates will be asked to remain with the agency. He did say a thorough review of government agencies would begin Monday to determine how Obama will go forth in selecting cabinet members and establishing policy.
Leading the Treasury Department review team are Josh Gotbaum and Michel Warren. Gotbaum is a White House veteran having served in the treasury from 1994 to 2001. He also worked in the department of energy. Warren is the CEO of Stonebridge International LLC, a business development company, and the former executive director of the President’s National Economic Council.
Tom Donilon, former department of state chief of staff under President Bill Clinton will lead head that review team. Wendy Sherman, who serves on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, will also head the department of state team with Donilon.
John P. White, former deputy secretary of defense under Clinton will serve as a lead for the department of defense. Michele Flournoy, co-founder of the Center for a New American Security and deputy assistant secretary of defense and strategy under Clinton will be leading the group with White.