Change is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s chaotic under the best of circumstances. And with the shadow of the Mueller probe hanging over each and every personnel decision, President Trump’s approach to these changes is a lesson in how not to pick, choose, and fire members of a team if you want it to be cohesive going forward.
Handling even one transition at a time takes a lot of work. While coming up with a list of potential replacements, vetting them, figuring out how they would play with various constituencies, and then managing the actual announcement itself, the primary focus is often on avoiding any blackout period during which important work and institutional knowledge could fall through the cracks. Any public image of disorganization or lack of continuity signals that we’re disorganized and vulnerable—it’s a prime time for opportunists of all shades and colors (including our enemies) to try to take advantage of dropped balls to make headway against us.
Transitions can be vulnerability goldmines if not handled with care. If there isn’t the necessary process in place, the institutional knowledge on a key terrorist threat or the state of play on covert outreach to a rogue regime official could be gone with the wind, handicapping policy and making each of us less safe.