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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

National Security Implications of Presidntial Transitions

Nov 6th, 2012 Terrorism

Back in the spring of 2008, my research assistant and I decided to write an article identifying the points of greatest risk to the continuity of the United States Government from a terrorist attack designed to disrupt a presidential election or transition.  About the time we finished, the Congressional Research Service published 2008-2009 Presidential Transition: National Security Considerations and Options by John Rollins, which essentially preempted our article.  The report and its appendixes indicate that not every contingency is covered by the law.  Many steps in the process have back-up plans, but there remain serious vulnerabilities that might lead to chaos.  It is an interesting Election Day read for national security law specialists.

Here is the report’s table of contents:

The Presidential Transition Period

Considerations and Options that Span the Presidential Transition Period

Possible Actions by Entities Wishing to Disrupt the Presidential Transition Period

Post 9/11 National Security-Focused Organizations

COG and COOP Concerns

Planning for the Unforeseen and Communicating Transition Related Information to the American Public

Considerations and Options Unique to Each Phase of the Presidential Transition Period

Phase 1: Campaigning by Presidential Candidates

Outgoing Administration Considerations and Options

Possible Role of National Security and Homeland Security Councils

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Incoming Administration Considerations and Options

Congressional Considerations and Options

Possible Congressional Activity

Phase 2: Selection of party nominee

Outgoing Administration Considerations and Options

Incoming Administration Considerations and Options

Congressional Considerations and Options

Support to Non-Federal Entities with Security Responsibilities

Phase 3: Election Day

Outgoing Administration Considerations and Options

Incoming Administration Considerations and Options

Congressional Considerations and Options

Phase 4: Post election day to Presidential Inauguration

Unique Risks to Phase 4

Outgoing Administration Considerations and Options

Effective Use of Presidential Transition Funds

Ensure the President-Elect is Aware of Issues that May Affect National Security Interests

Establishment of a Presidential Transition National Security Coordination Council

Expedited Security Clearance Processing for President-Elect Transition Team Members and Nominated Members of the New Administration

Incoming Administration Considerations and Options

Congressional Considerations and Options

Phase 5: Presidential Inauguration: Placement of New Administration Officials and Formation of New Policies

Unique Risks to Phase 5

Departed Administration Considerations and Options

New Administration Considerations and Options

Congressional Considerations and Options

Prioritize Hearings for Nominated Senior Executive Branch Leaders Who Have Significant National Security Responsibilities

Conclusion

Appendix A. Recent Military Operations Occurring During United States Presidential Transition Periods

Appendix B. Representative Examples of Incidents of National Security Interest Occurring During Periods of Governmental Transition

Appendix C. Congressional Legislation Addressing Various Aspects of National Security Considerations During Presidential Transitions, in Chronological Order (1963-2008)

Again, the full report can be read here.

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