From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski
Since the upcoming political transition will be the first in wartime since Vietnam, Pentagon officials say they are prepared to begin briefing the President-elect's transition team, "almost immediately" after today's elections on a wide range of military operations and Pentagon programs.
"We are undertaking Herculean efforts to ensure the transition goes as smoothly and seamlessly as possible," according to one official.
The officials tell NBC News they intend to expedite the security-clearance process so that transition members would actually be able to sit alongside top Pentagon and military leaders during secure satellite briefings with combatant military commanders from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Given that the U.S. military is engaged in two shooting wars overseas, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered dozens of senior Pentagon leaders to come up with an aggressive plan for a smooth and rapid transition.
Gates laid out a number of objectives, to ensure uninterrupted combat operations overseas, to facilitate the flow of quality information to the incoming administration, and sustain existing programs.
Gates has also asked for a head count of those among the 50 or so Presidential appointees who would be willing to stay on at least temporarily past the inauguration to assist in the transition.
There are approximately 215 political appointees who would be required to submit their resignations at the turnover of authority to a new administration.