Making the Cut

By Jason Sherman / December 31, 2008 at 5:00 AM

President-Elect Barack Obama's Defense Department transition team has notified more than a third of the Pentagon's 250 political appointees that they will not be asked to stick around after Jan. 20, according to The Hill.

Despite keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the Pentagon, President-elect Obama’s transition team informed 90 Bush appointees their services will not be needed after Inauguration Day.

Scott Gration, a senior official on Obama’s transition team, called and emailed several of President Bush’s Pentagon appointees about 10 days ago to inform them they were being dismissed.

“It was very professionally done,” a senior Pentagon official -- who will not remain in place beyond Inauguration Day -- told on Dec. 31 of the notification process which took place early last week.

On Dec. 19, Gates -- speaking on behalf of Obama -- sent a note to all 250 Pentagon political appointees asking them to consider working until they pass their respective portfolios directly to their replacements. In that memo, reported here, he advised that some individuals would be told by Dec. 22 that they will be asked to vacate their posts with the administration change. In addition, Gates said:

To the extent you are willing and in a position to continue to serve, I am deeply appreciative. However, I encourage you to continue to prudently plan for the transition from DOD employment, as the pace of personnel decisions by the incoming Administration is likely to accelerate.

I regret the delay in being able to provide you with more clarity and guidance on how long some of you will be asked to continue serving in your current positions. I appreciate your patience and the willingness to consider this request in the interest of providing continuity for this Department and for its critical mission to the Nation in a time of war.