Remaining Mission-Ready During Transition
Maintaining organizational stability so the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can continue its mission during an administration change is critical to keep our nation safe. New agency leaders need access to the basics – organizational information like key policies, organizational charts, mission priorities, current strategy, and dashboards. It is critical, though, to also have access to the current mission status, key issues and risks, and a playbook that allows them to act immediately in the event of a crisis.
For example, if there is a major national disaster – such as an earthquake – shortly after Inauguration, the new Department of Homeland Security Secretary needs to know the process for activating continuity processes. There will be no grace period to learn.
To enable an efficient transition, DHS components must identify their mission-essential functions and have practiced a continuity of operations plan for these functions to be fully operational.
Agencies that take the time to organize information and develop mission playbooks can position the next administration well during transition. Information should be readily accessible, and career leaders should be prepared to share their issues, risks, and active mitigation plans for all of these areas. This creates efficiencies and reduces roadblocks when establishing a new administration.
Career leaders are a linchpin between the outgoing and incoming administration and play a key role in sharing information. While key documents are important, the collaboration with career leaders is essential to incoming Presidential appointees.
This collaboration enables appointed leaders to focus on areas that require immediate attention and improvement. It also helps identify and implement quick wins.
Ultimately, transition preparedness is key. Important organizational documents must be accessible, and incoming leaders must be ready to tackle critical issues and risks. As disaster can strike at any time, appointees must be ready for the worst on Day 1. Moreover, leaders must listen and collaborate on mission priorities the moment they take office, as failure to do so could confine our nation’s homeland security capabilities.