“On January 13, 2017, national security officials assembled in the White House to chart a response to a global pandemic. A new virus was spreading with alarming speed, causing global transportation stoppages, supply-chain disruptions, and plunging stock prices. With a vaccine many months away, U.S. health-care infrastructure was severely strained.
“No, I didn’t get that date wrong. This happened: it was part of a transition exercise that outgoing officials from the administration of President Barack Obama convened for the benefit of the incoming team of President Donald Trump. As Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser to President Obama, I led the exercise, in which my colleagues and I sat side by side with the incoming national security team to discuss the most pressing homeland security concerns they would face. Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden made ensuring a professional transition a top priority, so we followed the excellent example of our predecessors, who held a similar exercise in 2009. After 9/11, congressional legislation mandated such efforts in order to safeguard the country’s security through presidential transitions…”