• Submission, by the incoming President, of “the nominations of the entire new national security team, through the level of under secretary of cabinet departments, not later than January 20”; and

  • The development, by the Senate, of special rules that would require expedited hearings and votes within 30 days of the submissions of these nominations.48

Continuity could also be maintained if the incoming president were willing to retain, during the transition period, some officials from the previous administration. Alternatively, the outgoing president could submit nominations to the Senate in early January for the incoming team, allowing them to be formally considered and confirmed by the Senate before the new president’s inauguration. Either of those options would require voluntary cooperation between the outgoing and incoming administrations. The latter option would also require the Senate’s cooperation.


The appointments clause of the Constitution and interpretations of it have provided the general legal framework by which officers of the United States are put into place. Many of the top policy-making positions in the federal bureaucracy are filled through joint action by the president and the Senate, and some have suggested that the process by which this is accomplished is in need of reform. In particular, knowledgeable observers have proposed streamlining financial-disclosure requirements and expediting the confirmation process, particularly during presidential transitions. In addition, some have suggested that present government executive compensation levels may deter well-qualified people from accepting leadership positions in the federal bureaucracy. For the most part, changes in the present arrangements would require legislative action by Congress.


The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 422.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement