As I noted in my opening post in this series of posts on the transition with the next Administration, the Department of Homeland Security is different from other Departments in that it is still in its infancy and does not have an experienced and long-coordinated career bureaucracy in place to help guide the incoming leadership through the transition. While there are many excellent career professionals in place at DHS, they nonetheless are still dealing with a new environment and adjusting to the changes that came with the massive merger that created DHS.

As the former career Assistant Secretary for Strategic Planning at DHS, along with many years in the Coast Guard before that, I have a personal interest in seeing the Department work through the transition with a new Administration successfully, and I am contributing a series of five posts that offer some thoughts for the next president’s DHS transition team.

Yesterday’s post concerned the need to pick a DHS Transition Manager with care.

Today’s post concerns the need for Day 1 capabilities:

2. Ensure the Department and the new President are ready for Day One

The new President’s ability to implement his homeland security agenda, and perhaps his larger agenda could be lost if the Department and new administration fail an early test. The Transition Manager should quickly establish an operational response cell made up of career and transition leaders to receive intelligence briefings and stay attuned to the operational and intelligence picture. The TM should be an advocate/driver for small table top exercises with key players within the new administration. The TM must not let the urgent overshadow the important.