Trump transition names agency leads

The government-in-waiting announced a roster of landing team leaders to handle the details of the transition on an agency-by-agency basis.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence held meetings with potential Cabinet nominees on Nov. 19 at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com)

The Trump administration's transition team has appointed leaders of the landing teams that will meet with domestic agencies.

Transition spokesman Jason Miller said the transition team planned to send those names to the White House by noon on Nov. 21 and expected the domestic team to meet with agencies on Nov. 22 or Nov. 23.

Those leaders include:

  • Agriculture: Joel Leftwich, staff director of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
  • Education: James Manning, a senior Education Department official during the George W. Bush administration
  • Energy: Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and self-professed skeptic of the science behind climate change
  • Health and Human Services: Andrew Bremberg, policy adviser and counsel on nominations for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Paula Stannard, health care lawyer at Alston and Bird
  • Homeland Security: James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, and Michael Dougherty, CEO of the Secure Identity and Biometrics Association and former ombudsman at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Housing and Urban Development: Elliot Berke, former HUD special counsel
  • Intelligence: Geof Kahn, policy director at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Interior: Douglas Domenech, former deputy chief of staff at Interior and George W. Bush administration appointee to the White House Working Group on the Political Status of Puerto Rico
  • Labor: Jane Norris, former deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at Labor
  • Transportation: Nancy Butler, former director of communications and external affairs at Transportation under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
  • Veterans Affairs: Retired Brig. Gen. Michael Meese, who served as executive director of the secretary of the Army's transition team in 2005

President-elect Donald Trump's was scheduled to meet on Nov. 21 with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is being considered for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who is retiring from Congress this year and was chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, is widely believed to have the inside track for that post.

As far as addressing the future of any specific agencies or subagencies, Miller said, "there'll be plenty of time to talk agency specifics after he's sworn in. Right now, we're really preparing for what we're going to go and do on Day One."

The Trump transition efforts have picked up speed in recent days, after initial delays when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and key members of his team were pushed out and Pence took over as transition chairman. And Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the nonpartisan White House Transition Project, predicted that early preparation by the Trump team, federal agencies and good-government groups would still pay dividends.

The transition-team shakeup caused a inconvenient pause, Kumar told FCW at the Nov. 17 meeting of the National Academy of Public Administration, but vast amounts of reference materials and written guidance were put together in the months leading up the election. "It's my assumption that all the materials will stay, even as the people leave," she said.

And Kumar noted in her NAPA presentation that, thanks to the 2015 Presidential Transition Act, official government participation in transition planning started in early May, with a council of agency representatives meeting regularly to prepare for the president-elect's "landing teams."

"It's very fortunate," she said, given the change in composition of the Trump transition team, "that the government is really ready."

Troy K. Schneider contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the head of the landing team covering intelligence.

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