About WHTP

A big help to the Transition Coordinating Council and the overall transition effort. Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise.
–- President George W. Bush

A wealth of information…a wonderful road map to a job
–- I. Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary

Begun in 1999, the nonpartisan White House Transition Project provides information to a new White House staff about their individual offices thereby streamlining the process of transition from one administration to the next. Professors Martha Joynt Kumar and Terry Sullivan direct the Project. Funded by the Moody Foundation, the WHTP’s 2016-17 project “Smoothing the Peaceful Transfer of Democratic Power” operates in collaboration with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. We also coordinate with government agencies and outside groups, like the Partnership for Public Service and the National Academy of Public Administration. Below are the components of the Project, found at: http://whitehoustransitionproject.org.

* WHITE HOUSE OFFICE ESSAYS: These studies are based on interviews with key personnel, including those who work or have worked in the offices of Chief of Staff; Staff Secretary; Personnel; Counsel; Press; Communications; Management and Administration; Public Liaison; National Security Council; First Lady; Legislative Affairs; Office of Management and Budget. With the permission of the interviewees, they are available on the National Archives website page dedicated to the Project: http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/research/transition-interviews/ . Political science professors who study the White House and the presidency author the office studies and interview officials.

* WHITE HOUSE ORGANIZATION CHARTS. These cover administrations from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama. They help new White House staff understand what to expect when they arrive and how their offices have stayed the same or changed. Selected charts are available at The White House Transition Project website linked above.

* TRANSITION ESSAYS. These include original analyses of the patterns of presidential appointments and the Senate confirmation process, and a study of the first hundred days of an administration based on the President’s Daily Diary. Our board is a participatory one where those who serve will be involved in writing, interviewing, or in some way contributing to the project.

* INTERNATIONAL COMPONENT. The WHTP consults with international governments and groups interested in transitions in their governments. In 2017 in conjunction with the Baker Institute, the WHTP will host a conference with emerging Latin American leaders.

Martha Joynt Kumar, director, is emeritus professor at Towson University and author of Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power (2015) and Managing the President’s Message: The White House and the News Media (2007 and 2010).

Terry Sullivan, executive director, is in the political science faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Nerve Center: Lessons in Governing from the White House Chiefs of Staff and was a member of the Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process whose recommendations served as a basis for the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2012.