Stay or Go?

By Christopher J. Castelli / November 13, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman says he will not be among the Bush administration officials sticking around for the transition at the Defense Department, but many DOD officials are willing if the Obama camp asks.

At a breakfast with reporters in Washington today, Edelman noted he will not stay beyond Jan. 20, 2009, when the next president is sworn into office. But he said numerous DOD officials said yes when Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked who would be willing and able to stay on for a while.

"A very high percentage of people have said . . . that if asked they would be willing to stay," Edelman said. "I think that's very encouraging." He did not cite specific names. Now it's up to the new team to decide whether to retain these officials, he said, noting it would also be understandable and appropriate if the new team wants to bring in its own people.

In September, spoke with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who predicted “over 90 percent” of DOD political appointees would stay until at least Jan. 20.

“And a lot of people will stay beyond that if they are asked to, to make sure the transition goes properly, including myself,” England added. “I’ve said I’ll stay to make sure it works.”