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Mullen Credits Bush, Obama for ‘Smooth’ Transition

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2009 – The transition from the Bush administration to that of President-elect Barack Obama has been remarkably smooth, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

In an interview today, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen credited the tone that President George W. Bush and Obama set for the ease, so far, of the transition.

Officials attribute the smooth transition, in part, to Obama asking Robert M. Gates to remain as defense secretary. The president-elect also moved quickly in announcing his choices for the national security team on Dec. 1.

Obama reached out to Mullen soon after the election. As chairman, Mullen is the principal military advisor to the president, the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

“President-elect Obama called me and asked me to come out to Chicago shortly after the election,” the chairman said. “That was a one-on-one and it was significant that he reached out.”

Mullen called the first meeting with Obama on Nov. 21 a chance to get acquainted.

“I’ve also met with him on two or three other occasions and his national security team to look at the issues of the day and to discuss what those issues might be and where the new administration might be headed,” the chairman said.

The conversations helped create deeper understanding of the issues confronting the department and nation, the chairman said.

“I’m encouraged by the engagement, I’m encouraged by the focus from that standpoint, and I’ve found those meetings to be very, very beneficial,” he said.

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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