Pentagon prepares for changes, regardless of presidential election winner
U.S. Army band marches down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, DC during a presidential inauguration parade
November 5th, 2012
01:19 PM ET

Pentagon prepares for changes, regardless of presidential election winner

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

More than two months before the chief executive takes office, the Pentagon is preparing for the next presidential term - regardless of who wins.

The Defense Department has set up a task force of nearly 1,000 personnel to serve as the military liaison and support for the presidential inauguration in January.

Actually, according to the Pentagon, military troops have been at presidential inaugurations dating to April 30, 1789, when members of the Continental Army escorted George Washington to his swearing-in at Federal Hall in New York.

In the modern era, however, the military role as become ceremonial and downright festive.

Military ceremonial units, marching bands, color guards, firing and salute units from all branches of the armed forces are expected to be involved at the Capitol swearing-in and during the parade along Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Military involvement in the presidential inauguration is a centuries-old tradition in which the armed forces celebrate democracy, honor the new commander in chief, and recognize civilian control of the military," the Pentagon said in announcing the new task force.

But it's all carried out with great precision with a number of full dress rehearsals in the days before inauguration.

One of the routine highlights every four years, is in the final rehearsal, a young military person is selected to 'stand in' for the president on the podium in the exact spot where the oath of office is administered.

But on a non-ceremonial note, the military and the Defense Department bureaucracy is also getting ready for the transition to the next presidential term.

A senior Pentagon official tells CNN that in each major Defense Department office, a senior civilian official is being identified who will lead the organization during a transition when political appointees may be leaving, regardless of who wins the election.

Even if President Barack Obama wins a second term, it's widely expected that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta would retire at some point and a new team would be brought in.


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Liberace; America's Greatest American

    What a bunch of sissies!

    November 7, 2012 at 1:09 am | Reply
  2. Araminta Ross

    Nobody could ever replace Leon.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  3. mike

    ... cancel the festivities ... and apply the savings to pay down the national debt ... if Romney was serious about the debt, that is what he would propose ... but I am afraid he is bought and paid for too just like Obama.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • bob

      While that not a bad idea, the event is too big and too many people also like to go to it. How ever when Obama leaves Washington let him fly commerical. ( I had to get that in)

      November 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  4. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply

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