Washington, Dec.17 (ANI): The White House has prepared more than a dozen contingency plans to help guide President-elect Barack Obama if an international crisis erupts in the opening days of his administration, part of an elaborate operation devised to smooth the first transition of power since September 11, 2001.
According to the New York Times, the memoranda envision a variety of volatile possibilities, like a North Korean nuclear explosion, a cyber attack on American computer systems, a terrorist strike on United States facilities overseas or a fresh outbreak of instability in the Middle East.
Each outlines options for Obama to consider.
The contingency planning goes beyond what other administrations have done, with President Bush and Obama vowing to work in tandem to ensure a more efficient transition in a time of war and terrorist threat.
The commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, noting problems during the handover from President Bill Clinton to Bush, called for a better process "since a catastrophic attack could occur with little or no notice," as its report put it.
"This is very unusual," said Roger Cressey, a former Clinton White House counter-terrorism official who was held over under Bush.
"We certainly did not do that. When the transition happened from Clinton to Bush, remember it was a totally different world. You had some documents given that gave them a flavor of where things were at. But now you've got two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a hot war against Al Qaeda."
In addition to the White House contingency memorandums, the Department of Homeland Security said it had given crisis training to nearly 100 career officials who may fill in while Obama's appointees await Senate confirmation.
Starting before the election, those career workers have conducted exercises alongside departing political appointees to test their responses.
The administration has invited members of the Obama agency review teams to observe some of those so-called tabletop exercises between now and the inauguration, on Jan. 20. The Bush team has also invited Obama transition officials to attend a "national level exercise" set for January 12 and 13 that may play out what would happen if the top leadership of the nation were wiped out in a single stroke, officials said.
At the same time, senior counter-terrorism officials plan to hold personal briefings for their counterparts on the biggest threats they see.
The White House has drafted as many as three-dozen other long-term policy memorandums outlining various pressing issues that will confront the new team and how Bush's aides see the status of each of these issues as his presidency comes to a close.
The White House said the flurry of briefings and memorandums was meant to be helpful to the incoming administration, not an attempt to dictate to it. (ANI)