Getting to Know the President

February 13, 2020

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.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS RESOURCE?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Custoer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

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


Get To Know the American Presidents

February 11, 2016
President George W. Bush, center, poses with President-elect Barack Obama, and former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, left, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, right, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President’s Club (Credit AP photo from VOA website)

President’s Day is a Federal holiday honoring our presidents.  Special attention often is paid to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Let’s use this perennial day to talk about a few modern day caretakers of the Oval Office. So, turn down the volume on those shouting President’s Day TV commercials and get to know the 20th century U.S. presidents in a new way. Here are two publications available through GPO to start.

Getting to Know the President, Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-2004

041-015-00279-1The Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for the Study of Intelligence surveys the mechanics of intelligence sharing during presidential transitions. Since the mid-century, it’s been common White House practice for the Director of Central Intelligence to offer the incumbent President an intelligence briefing every morning. From that coffee klatch, the President issues orders. This daily ritual originated with Harry Truman, whose inexperience with intelligence matters moved him to mandate intelligence briefings for all presidential candidates going forward.

The content of the hush-hush President’s Daily Brief is, quite literally, the stuff of spy novels. But what this book really focuses on is the relationship between the intelligence service and each president-elect. How each commander-in-chief-in-waiting bones up on international developments influences where that knowledge is eventually positioned in national security decision making. Getting to Know the President is a dossier on the intelligence intelligentsia like no other.

Strategic Retrenchment and Renewal in the American Experience

008-000-01115-0In this U.S Army War College Strategic Studies Institute publication, five essayists confront a debate at the heart of America’s political polarization: international renewal vs. retrenchment. In other words, what is the best foreign policy approach during tough economic times? Expand long-standing diplomacy or minimize presence abroad to focus on homeland matters? In every presidency, dueling pressures of domestic unrest and international statecraft create a trade-off dilemma.

The authors capably analyze this debate over the course of the Hoover, Nixon, and Reagan presidencies. There’s a lot of context to take note of: historical, political, economic, philosophical. Each president made strategic policy choices in light of unique controversies and commitments. And each concocted their own brew of renewal and retrenchment.  To this day, a President has yet to successfully balance out this cycle somewhere in the middle.

Hungry for more presidential knowledge? Check out these resources available on govinfo.gov and the GPO Bookstore:

Moments in History: A Tribute to President Ford

Public Papers of the Presidents

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

You can click on the links above in the blog or through any of these methods:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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