“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies. We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit,” Biden claimed earlier this week.
Biden added: “But as I said from the beginning, we have encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget. Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Enter the Pentagon. The DOD just released this statement refuting Biden’s claims:
The Department of Defense has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials and provided over 5,000 pages of documents – far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team.
DOD’s efforts already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go and we continue to schedule additional meetings for the remainder of the transition and answer any and all requests for information in our purview.
Our DOD political and career officials have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so in a transparent and collegial manner that upholds the finest traditions of the Department.
The American people expect nothing less and that is what I remain committed to.”
To date, since November 23rd the department has:
Conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials
Responded to 188 requests for information (RFI)
Provided over 5,000 pages of controlled non-public and classified information
We continue to schedule interviews with senior leaders and career officials for early January.
Additionally, we will coordinate any urgent Operation Warp Speed or COVID-related requests as they arise over the holidays, as well as provide responses to RFIs specifically related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
We have three interviews scheduled the week of Dec. 28-31: two COVID-related, and one on cybersecurity.
We continue to support with:
access to classified and controlled non-public information,
visits to the Pentagon,
working with the Agency Review Team to validate a pilot for rapidly onboarding political appointees in a new administration.
providing confirmation support to prospective nominees.
This has all been done while:
Taking all precautions to protect American lives from COVID-19 exposure
Operating under HPCON B – with only 40% of the workforce in the building and 60% teleworking.
Conducting all interviews virtually – something that has never been done before.
Implementing the National Defense Strategy
Supporting Operation Warp Speed to save American lives.
DOD continues to support the presidential transition aligned with the President Transition Act, White House and Biden-Harris Transition Team Memorandum of Understanding, and DOD policy.