As the United States strikes to inaugurate its forty sixth president subsequent week, the Department of Defense continues in its mission to defend the American individuals, our Constitution, allies and pursuits. Among all authorities companies, the DOD holds essentially the most solemn accountability to conduct a seamless switch of energy from one administration to the subsequent.
When it involves the defense of the nation, there isn’t any honeymoon interval granted by our enemies for a brand new administration’s studying curve.
That is why, because the division’s chief of employees and head of the transition (as designated by regulation), I ordered the DOD to totally cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden. That course of started Nov. 23, the day the General Services Administration introduced transition actions might happen.
The course of will proceed via subsequent week’s inauguration, the place the National Guard will defend the ceremony and members, with 15,000 guardsmen positioned in Washington to uphold the Constitution and rule of regulation.
At the outset of this historic course of, it was vital to me that the transition with our DOD political and profession officers happen in full transparency and in a collegial method. Though that was deemed bold by many cynics in at this time’s extremely charged political setting, the division’s professionals nonetheless quietly went concerning the enterprise of the transition with outstanding effectivity. They carried out the method with precision, poise and honor.
The Pentagon, headquarters of the Defense Department.
The Biden group initially requested 130 interviews, ultimately rising that to 225 — a far better quantity than prior administrations. To date, we’ve got accomplished 213, involving greater than 550 senior division officers.
The division additionally accomplished 261 requests for data and 43 preliminary transition books constituting upwards of seven,200 pages. This was all achieved amid the continued problem of COVID-19, which has brought on the Pentagon to function with solely 40% of our workforce within the constructing.
I’m pleased with, and want to thank, the profession nationwide safety professionals who’ve labored so laborious to meet the expectations of the American individuals.
Shortly earlier than Christmas, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller paused the interview course of for someday (Dec. 18, 2020) in order that our senior management might deal with different urgent nationwide safety issues, together with threats from Iran, a knowledge breach, and two COVID-19 vaccines that had been launched that week with the assistance of Operation Warp Speed.
Though this one-day pause brought on a lot false hypothesis that the DOD was halting the transition completely, Acting Secretary Miller and I each made positive to achieve out to the transition group for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to personally assure them that the transition actions would resume and the media chatter about nefarious plots was simply that: chatter.
Indeed, transition actions did resume as promised, and 20 extra interviews will happen this week.
Every American can take satisfaction in our nation’s historical past of the peaceable switch of energy. That’s no small factor in a rustic based by a willful, impartial and fiercely-determined individuals.
Here on the Department of Defense, we’ll be certain that the brand new leaders of the world’s strongest army are absolutely ready to imagine the helm at midday Jan. 20. Along with your complete division, I want them the utmost success and am grateful for his or her service to the nation. I’m positive main the courageous women and men who put on the fabric of our nation would be the biggest honors of their lives, because it has been for me.