National Security Network

Obama to Tap Former Bush Aide Beers to Transition Team

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News Boston Globe - Political Intelligencer 13 November 2008

National Security Network rand beers

Rand Beers, the former Bush national security aide who later served as a key adviser to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, is poised to lead President-elect Barack Obama's homeland security transition team, according to one of his key advisers.

"It is great that Rand is playing that role," said the Obama adviser, who asked not to be identified because the announcement, which is slated to come as early as today, has not been made official. "He has the peripheral vision and nobody views him as partisan."

Beers, who founded the progressive National Security Network in June 2006, has a long history of serving presidents of both parties, beginning with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Most recently, from 2002 to 2003, he was senior director for combatting terrorism at the National Security Council in the White House.

He left government in the wake of the Iraq war, which he opposed, and soon became a senior advisor to Democratic candidate Kerry in his failed bid for the White House.

On the Obama transition team, Beers will be responsible for overseeing the first hand-off of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created in 2003 and combined a total of 22 government agencies.

Specialists, who maintain that the department remains a work in progress at best, say he has his work cut out for him in identifying the most pressing challenges and choosing the right team to take over the agency.

"There are significant and pervasive management challenges that will pervade the next administration at the Department of Homeland security," said David Heyman, director of the Homeland Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "There is still much to be done."