Secretary Gates may be jetting around the world on his farewell tour, but things continue to happen in Washington, too: The man who's been nominated to take over for him, CIA Director Leon Panetta, is getting ready for his Senate confirmation hearing, scheduled for Thursday. One of DoD's top spokesmen, Marine Col. Dave Lapan, gave a response to reporters' questions Monday morning about how that process is working.
Here were a set of Qs and As that Lapan released:
Q: Has there been a transition team set up for the next Secretary either inside or outside the building? What is the transition process? Has Mr. Panetta participated in any meetings regarding transition? If so, with who?Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, the F-35, budget cuts and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' almost certainly all will come up during this week's confirmation hearing. What else do you think the SASC should ask Panetta about?
A: As is normal practice, the Department has established a process for ensuring a coordinated and smooth transition that causes minimal disruption to DoD's ability to carry out its critical mission. The transition process consists of two steps. First step is to prepare Director Panetta for his confirmation hearing and the second step is to ensure an appropriate and smooth turnover with Secretary Gates upon the nominee's confirmation. Director Panetta has participated in meetings with senior DoD leaders to prepare him for his upcoming confirmation hearing.
Q: Are there any restrictions on his participating in meetings before he is confirmed?
A: DoD is guided by the Administration's instructions in coordinating activities for Presidential appointments and ensures not to take any actions that may presume confirmation. Director Panetta remains active in his role as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and, therefore, participates in meetings relevant to that capacity.