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Many Pentagon Political Appointees Asked to Serve Past Inaugural

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2008 – Many Bush administration-appointed employees posted at the Pentagon have been asked by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates if they’d remain in their jobs past the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, a senior Defense Department official said here today.

“The secretary has arranged for the majority of those [appointees] to be afforded the opportunity to continue their service past Jan. 20, until a successor or a replacement is on board,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

About 250 political appointees work at the Pentagon, Whitman said. A majority, but not all, he said, were asked to stay on past the inaugural.

“Those people have been notified [and] informed of this opportunity,” he said.

Pentagon officials are determining how many employees affected by the offer are “willing to take advantage or consider committing to this opportunity that’s been extended to them to stay on awhile for the transition,” Whitman said.

Meanwhile, the incoming Obama administration is diligently working to fill anticipated vacancies at the Pentagon, Whitman said.

“A smooth transition at the Defense Department while we are engaged in two wars is very important,” Whitman pointed out. He declined to get into specifics regarding positions or jobs involved as part of the service-extension offer.

Those people not affected by the extension offer were informed over the past several days, Whitman said.

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