This was originally published in The Washington Post.
Dear presidential candidates:
A little over a year from now, one of you will take the oath of office. Before Inauguration Day is over, the unexpected could occur -- a terrorist threat, a global or domestic crisis -- and require your immediate attention.
Will you be ready?
The hard work of governing our nation probably seems a long way off given that you must still secure your party's nomination and win the general election. But the inauguration will come at warp speed. If you are not preparing now, you could be putting the nation in jeopardy and risk starting your presidency at a disadvantage from which your administration might never recover.
As president, you will be in charge of the largest and most important organization in the world. You will have to make 4,000 political appointments, including more than 1,000 for Senate-confirmed leadership positions; oversee a $3.7 trillion budget; and manage a workforce of 2.1 million civilian employees and more than 2 million active-duty and reserve members of the armed forces. You will have to make decisions on a wide range of critical issues and reach accommodation with an often unruly 535-member board of directors known as Congress.
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