Updated 11/13/20 at 3:51 PM EST with comment from the Biden-Harris transition team.
WASHINGTON — Individuals interested in joining the Biden administration have been asked to state their interest by the close of business on Nov. 13, Defense News has learned.
The transition team this week sent out a broad email blast to a large number of candidates for political appointments, in what appears to be an attempt to winnow the talent pool down to those who are actively interested in joining the new administration. Among the recipients are a number of potential fits for jobs at the Pentagon, including some currently employed by defense contractors.
“Your name was referred to us as someone who may be interested in serving as a political appointee in the Biden-Harris administration,” the email read. “The purpose of this email is to confirm your interest and describe the next steps in the applicant process.”
The email contains a link to a “candidates interest form,” which will “confirm your interest and provide our team with the information we need to consider you for a potential appointment.” The link appears to be customized for each email, and potential applicants are warned that “sharing your link can be traced which may impact your ability to proceed in the personnel process.”
The email noted a required reply-by date of Friday, Nov. 13. The questionnaire asks for largely basic information, including place of birth, family history, if your parents are immigrants, what management experience you have and what agencies interest you.
Given that, it appears targeted at creating a database of individuals to potentially fill junior or mid-level jobs, as the highest-level positions in the Biden administration will go to more senior staff who would have personal links to the campaign.
“The Biden-Harris transition is casting a wide net for qualified applications for service in the Biden-Harris Administration, and we announced today that we launched a new job application feature on our website BuildBackBetter.com," a transition spokesman said in response to a request for more information. "President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris want the Administration to look like America and that means finding diverse, experienced talent from across the country.”
The campaign announced its transition teams Tuesday, including for the Defense Department. That team is led by Kathleen Hicks, who served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, as well as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces in the Obama administration. She is currently the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ International Security Program.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.