December 18th, Axios, a U.S. political news website, quoted sources as saying that Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller has ordered a full suspension of the transition with President-elect Biden team, which shocked many Pentagon officials and also let Biden The team was caught off guard.
According to a U.S. Defense News report, the Department of Defense said that the move was only a temporary “extension” and not a complete blockade of the transition.
The Biden team said transition team officials were “worried” about “the abrupt suspension of the already limited cooperation of the Department of Defense” and accused the Pentagon of making false statements on the matter.
CNN News said that the two sides disagreed and brought the tension between the Pentagon and Biden’s transition team into the public eye again.
The Ministry of Defense denied that Biden’s team was worried.
On the 18th, Miller said in a statement that the Ministry of Defense “will continue to provide all the necessary support for the transition team” and that defense officials are trying to reschedule “about 20 interviews with 40 officials after January 1.”.
The Washington Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying that the transition meetings, originally scheduled for Friday, were postponed because Pentagon legal officials feared that they could not keep up with the pace of work. The Pentagon did not deny that Miller’s decision to postpone Friday’s meeting was “beyond the surprise of the Biden team”.
In a statement, Miller said the talks could be held “after a mutually agreed two-week vacation period,” and he also promised a full and transparent handover with the Biden team.
However, the Biden team countered that they did not agree to interrupt the key power transfer negotiations for two weeks and were worried about Miller’s “sudden behavior”.
“I want to make it clear that the two sides have not agreed on furloughs,” Biden’sexecutive director Yohanes Abraham directly dismissed Friday. In fact, we think it is very important to continue to meet and contact relevant personnel during this period, because we have no extra time.
After abruptly informed Thursday that the Biden team was postponed for the day’s meeting, Abraham said, they urged Pentagon officials to resume meetings and information sharing as it was critical to national security and government continuity. According to CNN News, officials of the transition team said they thought that Thursday’s meeting would resume quickly after it was suspended, but did not expect that the meeting scheduled for Friday was also cancelled.
The Washington Post said that Jennifer Pashaqi, spokesman for the Biden transition team, refused to accuse Miller of lying, but said that “journalists can make their own judgment on the information we provide.”
In response, Miller did not explain why the Pentagon refused to hold more transition meetings before January next year, but said in the statement that his focus in the next two weeks was to support the request for the U.S. military to participate in the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. A Defense Department official told Politico News that the reason may be due to the recent “rapace change in priorities” of the Pentagon, including the FDA’s approval of a second coronavirus vaccine, the government’s”closure” and the massive hacking of U.S. government agencies.
The outside world pays close attention to the Pentagon’s transition process.
Politico News reported that less than three weeks after the formal transition process was launched, this was the second time that the Pentagon responded to questions about “Department of Defense officials obstructing the Biden team’s transition handover”.
On Friday, Joehanez Abraham, executive director of the Biden Transition Committee, told the media that while the Biden team had broad support for the transition, it had encountered some resistance, and the Department of Defense was one of them.
Earlier this month, Politico News, CNN News and other U.S. media reported that the Pentagon rejected Biden’s team’s request to meet with leaders of the National Security Agency and other military espionage agencies, and set unnecessary obstacles in the process, and accused Biden’s transition team of not complying with mutual consent. The meeting process of . However, the Pentagon immediately denied that there was any attempt to obstruct the Biden team.
And long after a series of senior officials, including former Defense Secretary Esper, were dismissed, observers have been closely following the Pentagon’s power transfer process and expressed “worry”. According to the Washington Post, during the last few weeks of his tenure, Trump’s actions against the Pentagon were frequent, firing several Pentagon advisory committee officials and placing a group of loyal followers of Trump in them. The current Acting Secretary Christopher Miller was also one of the “introd” by Trump. Officer.
Earlier this month, Trump also fired several defense business committee members and appointed many people at Lightspeed, including his former campaign officials Lewandowski and Bossi, as new members. Lewandowski and Bossi, who participated in the Trump campaign in 2016, later co-authored the memoir Let Trump Be Trump.
Now Miller’s move has once again been criticized by experts, who point out that the orderly handover of the Pentagon is crucial to the security interests of the United States. Cory Skak, head of the Defense Research at the American Enterprise Research Institute, said that the delay in the transition meeting was “shameful and dangerous”, especially in the face of multiple problems facing the United States today.
Loren Shurman, a senior researcher at the Center for New American Security, noted that reports of the Department of Defense blocking the transition process were “very worrying and it was completely inconsistent with how the transition worked.”
Schulman, who was involved in the transition handover within the Department of Defense in 2008, said: “I understand that the requirements and numbers from the crossing team can be overwhelming, especially during the holiday season. But advancing the administration of the Ministry of Defense by the new government is not an option, and national security cannot rest.”