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15 Nov. 2016


Dear Friends and Patriots,


          I promised you I’d spend time thinking through how the Trump administration might approach this new government they’re constructing, and the agenda priorities they’ll lay out for us.  This is my first go at it.  Since it’s speculative and it’s highly unlikely any of my own thoughts will penetrate the Praetorian Guard of the Trump inner circle, it’s mostly the musings of a hopeful citizen who is laying out what he would do if in Trump’s shoes right now.  (How’s that for hubris!)


          The first things I’d do are the things being done now.  You can see a lot of activity and speculation regarding Trump’s cabinet picks.  Truthfully, were I in Trump’s place, I’d have done that chore before the Republican convention and announced my cabinet there.  Of course, there would be changes because some nominees might have second thoughts, but those who dropped out would be people whose hearts weren’t really into it anyway.  We don’t want that, and we wouldn’t really want them.  The goal of the incoming administration should be to have all the cabinet positions filled before Inauguration Day and have had a couple of teaming meetings so everyone doesn’t have to waste time getting to know each other.  The new team needs to hit the ground running, and running hard.


          These are the offices that comprise the president’s cabinet and cabinet level positions, from the top:


The Cabinet:


Secretary of State

Secretary of the Treasury

Secretary of Defense

Attorney General

Secretary of the Interior

Secretary of Agriculture

Secretary of Commerce

Secretary of Labor

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Secretary of Transportation

Secretary of Energy

Secretary of Education

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Secretary of Homeland Security


Cabinet Level White House Positions:


White House Chief of Staff

Administrator of Environmental Protection

Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Trade Representative

Ambassador to the United Nations

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors

Administrator of the Small Business Administration


As arrogant as I am, I’m not so arrogant that I’d publish my list of hopefuls for any of those positions.  There are some people who I believe will be of great use to the administration, like Newt Gingrich, Dr. Ben Carson and Rudy Giuliani, and others such as Trey Gowdy, Rick Perry, Jack Keane, Mike Flynn, and John Bolton.  But I don’t want to dive into the pool with all those who predict or handicap the offices to be filled. 


Now that Reince Priebus is named as Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, let them and the team currently vetting candidates figure it out.  Since none of us actually knows who is being considered, it’s too early to carp about anyone, and very few of us have any ability to influence the process.   Like all of you, I have to be content with waiting on the next announcement, then registering my opinion on each as he or she is revealed.  As a life-long cynic it’s far easier for me to tell you who I don’t want than who I do.  There are many, many good candidates for each position.  I only hope the process finds them, because I’m certain the best people for many of the cabinet positions aren’t thinking of raising their hands. 


To ensure the media doesn’t launch a series of pre-emptive strikes against the incoming administration Mr. Trump should assign members of his support staff to review each and every bit of video of all his public appearances and extract from them all the promises made while on the campaign trail.   It should be obvious that some early promises altered over the course of the campaign and are different by some significant degree from the original.  All campaign promises should be documented in literal fashion, validated to ensure each promise and permutation of promise is accounted for and linked where linkage is evident.  Each should have a rudimentary plan of action developed for it, with an individual named as the action responsible person to ensure the action plan is put into place and all subsequent progress is tracked and status reported until the promise is deemed kept.   This method will ensure the credibility of Mr. Trump, the campaigner, is no different from that of President Trump.


The incoming administration should strive to assume office with well-refined policy statements on almost every issue of significance they believe our government needs to address.  Yes, there’s a plethora of those, but policy statements that include ultimate goals and enabling objectives will serve as a roadmap for all in the incoming administration to follow.  It’s not enough on immigration to say “We will pass comprehensive immigration reform and build a wall.”   An immigration reform bill is not an ultimate goal, but what is?  Is the ultimate goal to establish firm and positive controls on immigration to ensure people who have the potential to add value to our society are allowed in but people who have no such potential are excluded?  That would be an ultimate goal statement that could serve as the center-post to anchor enabling objectives.  Enabling objectives would be statements on how immigration decisions are to be made, such as quota determinations; visa processes and policing; border enforcement; refugee, deportation, and asylum policies; etc. under current law.  Another enabling objective would be to develop a comprehensive immigration reform package that would address flaws in the current body of law.


One document the incoming administration needs to pay special heed to is our National Strategic Plan.  Yes, Virginia, we have one of those, and it’s a high-level statement of policy that lays out our national strategies in dealing with the world at large.  It defines our defense policies and serves as a guide in dealing with nations that are our friends as well as those that aren’t.  It’s not a large document, as such things go, but has huge implications and is one of the least known, but most studied documents our government produces.


By the time the administration takes office it needs to have outlines of all the legislation to be proposed in the 2017 legislative sessions.  It doesn’t have to be fully fleshed out, but at least needs to have the administration policy statements translated within them so Congress is left with no doubt about the things the administration desires to see in law.  Special attention needs to be paid to the budget side of every proposed piece of legislation.  In fact, the budget should be the number one priority of all.  Everything hinges on money, and if the Trump administration doesn’t succeed in eliminating deficits and paying down some debt, it may be fair to judge the whole term as a failure.  One of the mandates of the people is to get our financial house in order. 


The Trump people need to publish a comprehensive list of priorities.  Yes, I know they’ve done something like that with that contract thing Donald Trump announced, but it needs to be scrubbed, expanded, and the priorities need to be racked and stacked so the American people understand the order in which the administration will be attacking things.  Announcing a 100 day plan is one thing; doing it is another.  That plan needs each element prioritized.  It also needs to be expanded to template the agenda for 2017, then expanded again with assumptions of success, out to the administration’s end.  If it’s made a living plan everyone will be able to track progress and understand the degree of success of executing the agenda.


Donald Trump is coy regarding defense issues, other than the need to revitalize the military.  He needs to maintain that position and never relent.  Presidents should comment upon military events, but never plans.  Other than the broad strategic objectives embodied in the National Strategic Plan the Trump administration should have little to say about what it’s doing and why until an operation is already underway.  That just makes sense, and it saves lives.


Prior to Inauguration Day Mr. Trump should announce a new policy regarding the Executive Branch.  He should form a new advisory group, made up of his most senior people, to perform a bottom-up review of all agencies under the President’s purview.  The review should include each department and agency and start with the lowest elements first.  Each functional element of each department, from the lowest to highest should be examined to determine its reason for existence, utility, efficiency, and effectiveness, culminating in a recommendation to the Executive Staff regarding whether or not the functional element should continue to exist.  The review should compare the enacting legislation to the element’s mission statement to ensure absolute alignment between the intent of Congress and the direction of the element.  It should review the actual function of the element and determine if the function is an actual current need or an obsolete legacy.  It should review data to determine cost factors that reveal how many citizens are served by the functional element and the cost of serving each citizen.  It should review metrics to determine if the element has met the requirements if its mission and any mission goals established by legislation or through subsequent internal imposition.   


Results of the bottom-up reviews should be used to determine the continued need or need for change in each element.  Elements that do not show a reasonable benefit to the citizens should be shut down, with any useful tasks transferred to another element.  The process of examination, validation and determination should continue through each level of each Executive Department and agency until the entire structure has been processed, then move on to the next Department or agency.  The bottom-up reviews should take at least one fourth of the total breadth of the Executive Branch per year; more if feasible.  The purpose of the reviews should be clearly stated as an effort to fully justify each and every office, activity, and employee of the Executive Branch to ensure it is doing needful things and expending taxpayer money in an efficient and effective manner.


That’s enough for today.  In my next post I intend to dwell on the budget, debt and deficit.  You know of my contention that the greatest danger to our nation today is our debt and deficits.  If fiscal control cannot be attained and our nation get onto a sound economic footing we will continue to be at great risk.  But, let’s explore that later.  As I said, this is enough for today.


In Liberty,