Getting to Know the President

Newly-elected Presidents have an infinite list of tasks he or she must complete once sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court every four years, usually on a cold and blustery mid-January day in Washington D.C.

Fortunately there are many experienced people with working knowledge of the programs, forms of legislation, and global military and economic intelligence who are ready to serve as subject “experts.”

The critical responsibility of bringing a newly-elected (or even second-term) President up to speed falls on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In Getting to Know the President, David Robarge, Chief Historian of the CIA, notes that since 1952, the CIA, and now the Intelligence Community as a whole, has provided presidential candidates and presidents-elect with intelligence briefings during their campaigns and transitions. These briefings have helped presidents be as well informed as possible on international developments beginning on the day they take office.

Robarge gives credit to author John Helgerson for this updated third edition of Getting to Know the President, for the singular contribution he makes to the literature of intelligence by describing this important process of information sharing between the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Chief Executive.

You’re probably not contemplating your own run at the Presidency (but who knows). However, the time investment engaging in this intense learning process is worth considering, and makes for fascinating reading in its own right.

Visit the Government Publishing Office Online Bookstore to pick up your copy, and get to know what it’s really like to sit behind the large mahogany desk square in the middle of the Oval Office.


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About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.

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