November 13, 2008

Global Plum Book and “First Step” Recommendations Highlight Foreign Policy Opportunities for Obama Transition Team

The Center for U.S. Global Engagement today will release its Global Plum Book identifying the 100 key leadership positions that will shape the next Administration’s strategy for global development and diplomacy. Accompanying the report are “First Step” recommendations for how the transition team can successfully translate the pledges of Candidate Obama – the most in-depth and far reaching global development platform of any candidate in history – into the policies of President Obama. These recommendations are supported by a broad bipartisan coalition ready to work with President-elect Obama and his national security and foreign policy teams to strengthen U.S. support for global development and diplomacy. The Global Plum Book and “first step” recommendations will be released ahead of the Center’s post-election foreign policy discussion today featuring Clinton transition advisor Paul Begala, Bush policy advisor Michael Gerson and moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS’ “The NewsHour.” The discussion can be viewed during a live 9:00am webcast at, where copies of both publications are available.

The Center’s Executive Director Liz Schrayer said, “While President-elect Obama will have to focus on the financial crisis and near-term foreign policy challenges like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, his transition team must also consider how best to expand the set of tools at his disposal to handle these and other global challenges. The Global Plum Book and accompanying ‘first step’ policy recommendations offer some tools for President-elect Obama’s transition team to use in making his historic and far-reaching global engagement platform a reality.”

The Global Plum Book derives its name from United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly known as the Plum Book, which is published after every Presidential election and lists over 7,000 Federal civil service positions that may be filled by political appointees. In advance of the 2008 Plum Book release, the Center identified 100 key appointed positions that are most critical to formulating and implementing the incoming administration’s national security and foreign policy.

The panel discussion and two publications are part of Center’s bipartisan Impact ’08: Building a Better Safer World initiative, endorsed by dozens of Democratic and Republican foreign policy leaders and former top military commanders, calling on the presidential candidates “to revitalize America’s moral and pragmatic leadership by making greater investments in our diplomatic and development programs.” During the 2008 election, both Barack Obama and John McCain answered Impact ’08’s call, incorporating into their national security strategies a “smart power” approach that augments a strong defense with new investments in our civilian-led tools of diplomacy and development.

The Global Plum Book, accompanying policy recommendations, and other transition resources, such as profiles of potential and announced members of the incoming Administration’s national security and foreign policy teams, are available in the “Transition Watch” section of the Center’s website at