United States Presidential Transition – A Dangerous Vulnerable Time?


Jim Lantern

Editorial Article

9 September 2016

United States Presidential Transition – A Dangerous Vulnerable Time?

From Wikipedia…

  • In the United States, during a presidential transition, the outgoing “lame duck” President has lost many of the intangible benefits of a Presidency (e.g., being perceived as the default leader on issues of national importance) but the incoming President-elect is not yet legally empowered to affect policy. This ambiguity in the roles of the President-elect and outgoing President creates the potential for a leadership vacuum, which may be most acutely felt during wartime or times of economic crisis.
  • In the United States, the presidential transition extends from the day of the US presidential election (which occurs in November) [Tuesday 8 November 2016], until the 20th day of January [Friday 20 January 2017] as specified in the Twentieth Amendment. The presidential transition is regulated by The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (P.L. 88-277),[13] amended by The Presidential Transitions Effectiveness Act of 1998 (P.L. 100-398) [14] and The Presidential Transition Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-293). The Act as amended directs the Administrator of General Services to provide facilities, funding of approximately five million dollars, access to government services, and support for a transition team, and to provide training and orientation of new government personnel and other procedures to ensure an orderly transition.
  • The President-elect will also usually appoint a ‘presidential transition team’ during the campaign to prepare for a smooth transfer of power following the presidential inauguration. A law enacted by the United States Congress in 2016 requires the incumbent President to establish “transition councils” by June of an election year to facilitate the eventual handover of power.
  • The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), meanwhile, launched a new program called “Transition 2016” in 2016. Led by Ed DeSeve and David S. C. Chu, the program was described by NAPA as one which provide management and procedural advice to the leading candidates in establishing transition teams.

[Note that the U.S. Congress – House and Senate – is also going through some transition – not just individuals but in answer to the question of which political party will control it.]

  • The United States Presidential line of succession defines who may become or act as President of the United States upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and subsequent conviction) of a sitting president or a president-elect.
  • This is a list of the current Presidential line of succession, as specified by the United States Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 as subsequently amended to include newly created cabinet offices. The succession follows the order of Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the Senate, and the cabinet, which currently has fifteen members, beginning with the Secretary of State.

No. Office Current officer
1 Vice President Joe Biden (D)
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R)
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (R)
4 Secretary of State John Kerry (D)
5 Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew (D)
6 Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (D)
7 Attorney General Loretta Lynch (D)
— Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (D)[a]
8 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (D)
9 Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (D)
10 Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez (D)
11 Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell (D)
12 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro (D)
13 Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (D)
14 Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (D)
15 Secretary of Education John King (D)
16 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald (R)
17 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (D)
^ Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization)
and thus ineligible for the Presidency.

  • Designated Survivor is an upcoming American political drama television series created by David Guggenheim, and starring Kiefer Sutherland, set to air on ABC. The series was ordered straight-to-series on December 14, 2015, with the first teaser trailer released on May 6, 2016, and the first full-length trailer on May 17, 2016. The series will premiere on September 21, 2016. [9:00pm CT 10:00pm ET Wednesday 21 September 2016.]
  • On the night of the State of the Union, an explosion claims the lives of the President and all members of the Cabinet except for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman, who had been named the designated survivor. Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President, unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come…


Potential threats from China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and other countries, as well as ongoing domestic and foreign terrorist threats.

What if all of them were to engage in a coordinated attack at the same time on U.S. forces around the world and here in the United States – including government, law enforcement, and infrastructure targets, as well as communications, news media, and our citizens, in an attempt to totally overwhelm us?

The best time in general to do that would be during a presidential transition period – this time from 8 November 2016 to 20 January 2017. More specifically, during a holiday when most government offices are closed and the general public is most vulnerable – the long Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, Christmas and New Years (Eve and Day).

The tipping point could have to do with who wins Election 2016. Will the new President be perceived to be militarily weak like the out-going President Obama. Hillary Clinton could be perceived as such because of how she handled the State Department. Gary Johnson could be perceived as such because of his Libertarian position on the military. Donald Trump could be perceived as such because of his lack of government and military experience – although there may be some similarities (comparisons) between the business world and the government as well as the military.

Trump might be perceived to be the greatest threat to China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and others because of his remarks about what he might do to them. However, there is also his bizarre praise of such dictators, and his willingness to make deals with devils. Trump is himself a dictator within his own business world – the only method of management he knows. He is likely to apply it to the country as President – then Dictator. No more elections. No more freedom. Nor more irritating news media to oppose him or report what he is doing.

I do believe Trump, if elected, will declare Martial Law on 20 January 2017, as well as federalizing and militarizing police here in the United States, as a means to accomplish some of his goals. He might also do so because of a natural disaster (such as a major hurricane – the new Category 6 predicted), as well as domestic terrorist attacks and direct threats or attack from other countries. Imagine other countries – enemies – all taking advantage of the opportunity to attack us and out allies when we are overwhelmed with a natural disaster such as a hurricane, or a major earthquake.

Overall, whoever wins, this could be the time for potential enemies to attack – separately, or at the same time to quickly overwhelm us, use up our defenses and resources. Further, the United States might not be the only target. If seen as weak around the world, then other countries will be in danger because we will not be there too protect them. Trump is already threatening to withdraw the U.S. from NATO. Johnson will pull back in a different way. Clinton will betray our allies. Iran could see it as a good time to attack Israel. North Korea could see it as a good time to attack South Korea and Japan. China will take over the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea as well as neighboring countries. Russia will finish off Ukraine, and expand further from there. This all amounts to World War III. Armageddon. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Or a biological warfare attack could turn all of us into Walking Dead zombies…

Who can really save us? Clinton? Johnson? Trump? Another presidential candidate? Someone else in the presidential line of succession after an attack or other kind of disaster?

Maybe we’re looking to the wrong source for help? Those who have let us down before will continue to do so?

If we cannot save ourselves then who can save us? Who has the ultimate power to save (or destroy) the world? One possible answer comes to mind, heart, and soul…

What is our future?

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