The upcoming 2009 transition will be a unique and critical period for the U.S. government. It marks the first wartime presidential transition in 40 years. It will also be the first administration change for the relatively new Department of Homeland Security operating in the post 9/11 environment. The next administration will fill thousands of positions across government; there will be a number of new faces in Congress as well. Making these transitions as seamlessly as possible is pivotal to effectively and efficiently help accomplish the federal government's many essential missions. While the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as a legislative branch agency, has extensive experience helping each new Congress, the Presidential Transition Act points to GAO as a resource to incoming administrations as well. The Act specifically identifies GAO as a source of briefings and other materials to help presidential appointees make the leap from campaigning to governing by informing them of the major management issues, risks, and challenges they will face. GAO has traditionally played an important role as a resource for new Congresses and administrations, providing insight into the issues where GAO has done work. This testimony provides an overview of GAO's objectives for assisting the 111th Congress and the next administration in their all-important transition efforts.
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