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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Don't wait to start on transition planning

Most non-partisan experts predict that President Trump’s legal challenges to Joe Biden’s victory will fall short. We will most likely have a new president on Jan. 20.

That means we are in the beginning of a presidential transition to a new administration. Given the divisiveness of today’s politics, this will be a transition unlike any other.

But the uncertainty shouldn’t translate into inaction by government contractors. Many believe that topline priorities around COVID-19, IT modernization, cybersecurity and the shift to the cloud will remain unchanged, as well as the importance of emerging military and national security threats, such as China and Russia.

All of that is true. On one hand, the government contracting industry will likely not see drastic changes in the short term and particularly until COVID is tamed.

But often the devil is in the details.

The first Biden budget plan will come out in February and that will likely signal shifts in the budget, programs and procurement policies.

Also of course, there will be a wholesale changes in leadership at the agencies and departments. How quickly the Senate moves on these appointments will likely be dictated by the outcome of the Georgia senate races, which are in a runoff.

Given this landscape of uncertainty for the next few months, government contractors are faced with two choices. Wait and react. Or be proactive.

Biden's campaign has spoken often about four critical issues -- COVID, climate change, the economy and systemic racism.

Now is the time to be looking at those issues and seeing how they match up with your capabilities and contracts and most importantly what those issues mean to your customers. How will they react to those administration priorities?

Companies might find themselves in a position to defend their programs, but there also might be an opportunity to highlight skills and capabilities that you have that can address those top Biden priorities. But now is the time to prepare.

There are several wildcards, of course.

The first is when will the transition actually begin? President Trump has not conceded and the legal challenges are not resolved. With its control of the budget and facilities, the administrator of the General Services Administration has so far not signed the paperwork needed to release the funds and give the access, including office space, to the Biden team to begin the transition.

Another wildcard is that we’ll have a lame duck president and a lame duck Congress that will need to address the budget for the 2021 fiscal year already one month old. Hopefully, they will at least extend the continuing resolution into January. But a shutdown, even during a pandemic, remains a possibility. So you need to keep that in mind.

Bottom line, you should be out there talking to your customers about the Biden administration. It’s not about politics or picking sides. It’s now about what you know best -- business, pure and simple.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 09, 2020 at 8:16 AM

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