Rumsfeld’s Transition Office

Rowan Scarborough reports that “some” eyebrows are being raised by the creation of a transition office for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that is being staffed and funded at taxpayer expense, including a staff of seven.

While DoD says former secretaries are “entitled to a transition office to sort papers, some of which can be taken with them for a library, for archives or to write a book,” his two immediate predecessors did not take advantage of it to this extent. Bill Perry went straight to teaching and had no transition and had a very small staff and closed the office in six weeks. “They also ask why the sorting could not have been done from the time Mr. Rumsfeld resigned Nov. 8 to when he left the building Dec. 18.”

The simple answer–in addition to Rumsfeld’s much longer tenure and propensity for memo writing mentioned in the article–is that there’s a war on. Rumsfeld could not well have turned his attention to cleaning out his desk his last six weeks in office. And, given that most of his tenure was during a time of war, there are many more documents that might have historical significant for archival and/or memoir writing purposes.

If the office is still in existence a year from now, or there are signs of malfeasance, I’ll be concerned. Right now, though, it seems a perfectly reasonable allowance to make for someone who served in such an important capacity.

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FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

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  2. Triumph says:

    The simple answer—in addition to Rumsfeld’s much longer tenure and propensity for memo writing mentioned in the article—is that there’s a war on.

    Given the fact that Rummy has basically ignored the reality of the facts on the ground in that “war” for nearly four years, the argument that he was actually doing any substantive “work” since the resignation is untenable.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    There’s a war on? Can you please provide a link to the declaration of war passed by both houses of congress?

    What? There wasn’t one?

    Oh, huh. So when you say there is a war on you are mistaken then. Well I’m glad we cleared that up.

    The “war” on terror is no different than the “war” on drugs in that regard. We are *NOT* at war. Nor have we been ever been at war since WW2. Iraq is merely another “police action” like Vietnam and Korea (which is most likely unconstitutional but hey who cares about that, huh?).

  4. Boyd says:

    According to Joe Biden, the AUMF passed in 2003 was a declaration of war under the Constitution. You got a problem with that, take it up with him, since he says he’s the one that wrote it.

  5. Tlaloc: Congress authorized the president to use force. It serves the same purpose as a declaration of war. And if that doesn’t satisfy you, then I will not for you that the period from Gulf War I to this one was nothing more than a CEASEFIRE in a lagally declared war. In other words, the war never ended.

    But that’s beside the point. To James’s point, there IS a war on, and I would imagine that there is a lot of information transfer that must happen before Rumsfeld leaves. I would expect nothing less than for Gates to know everything Rumsfeld does before the latter leaves.

    Although I’ve since turned largely against this war, I certainly would think it very unprofessional for Rumsfeld to just up and leave the day he resigned. There is a lot of work he has to do with Gate, I imagine.

  6. M1EK says:

    “then I will not for you that the period from Gulf War I to this one was nothing more than a CEASEFIRE in a lagally declared war. In other words, the war never ended.”

    The last Constitutionally declared war was WWII. And, no, the “Authorization To Use Force” doesn’t qualify just because you want it to, or even because Joe Biden says it does. If they had wanted to Declare War, they KNEW HOW TO DO IT.

  7. Boyd says:

    If your point is valid, M1EK, how come no one in Congress is saying we didn’t declare war? And are you a legislative and constitutional scholar who knows what’s required for a declaration of war?

    Or are you saying the AUMF isn’t declaration of war simply because you don’t want it to be?

    Sen. Biden has some knowledge on this subject, and I think it’s a bit self-serving for you to reject his judgment with no basis other than he disagrees with you.

  8. Anderson says:

    Whatever it takes to get the s.o.b. out of his job, the money is well spent. Sad it wasn’t spent much sooner.

  9. Tlaloc says:

    According to Joe Biden, the AUMF passed in 2003 was a declaration of war under the Constitution.

    And we all know Joe Biden is infallible.

    And if that doesn’t satisfy you, then I will not for you that the period from Gulf War I to this one was nothing more than a CEASEFIRE in a lagally declared war.

    How much you wanna bet there was no declaration of war for gulf “war” 1 either? It’s a sucker bet because I already told you the last officially declared war was WW2.

    To James’s point, there IS a war on

    Actually the point is that there isn’t a war on. You know, like, legally and stuff. So when people make that claim they are either misinformed or liars.

    Or are you saying the AUMF isn’t declaration of war simply because you don’t want it to be?

    The AUMF is a most likely unconstituional measure that congress has messed around with since the fifties. They aren’t going to point out that they’ve all had a hand in grossly violating the constitution. Korea? Not a war. Vietnam? Not a war. Gulf 1? Not a war. Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan? No, no, and no.

    Technically America hasn’t had a war in almost 50 years. Unfortunately we have had a large number of illegal “police actions” that are specifically forbidden by our constitution.

  10. Christopher says:

    Gotta love all you traitors-er, I mean liberals.

    Me? I can’t wait for a Rumsfeld memoir. I will be the first in line to buy it.