Presidential transition expert: "Too early to tell" if Trump team is on track

President-elect Donald Trump has announced several of his top cabinet picks, including Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Mike Pompeo as CIA Director and Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser.

But the transition work is just beginning: there are literally thousands more people who will need to be appointed to positions throughout the federal government, one expert told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning.

“Transitions are huge: when you think about this it’s the largest most important takeover of any organization not just on the planet but in history,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service and an expert on presidential transitions.

He said there are 4,000 political appointee positions, whether it’s staff in the White House or diplomatic posts or other jobs throughout the federal government. A full 1,100 of those, Stier added, must go through the Senate confirmation process.

“If you only focus on the period between the election and inauguration there’s no possible way that you can be ready,” he continued. “You have to start earlier -- both campaigns did, Clinton and Trump did very very strong work. The hard part comes now because you’re right there’s only so much you can do pre-election and then you have to merge your campaign and your transition apparatus but you have to move over real fast.

Stier said it’s “too early to tell” whether the Trump team is on track to be prepared for Inauguration Day in January.

“I think the more important point is not how many people have they named but rather have they embraced the objective of making sure they actually are ready to go on day one,” he said. 

  • Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.