The Pentagon responded to President-elect Joe Biden’s accusations that its leadership has been obstructing the transition process and has not been transparent with budget planning.
Biden said during remarks Monday that his transition team at the Pentagon has “encountered obstruction” from the political leadership and that it needed “full visibility into the budget planning process underway.”
"From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation … from others, most notable the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department," President-elect Biden says on national security issues regarding the transition. pic.twitter.com/kHhAkxVFgA
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 28, 2020
“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 of irresponsible,” Biden said.
The Pentagon told Breitbart News in a statement:
DOD has been completely transparent with the Biden-Harris Transition Team on the fiscal 2021 budget. We have also provided topline information on the fiscal 2022-2026 program to the Biden-Harris Transition Team. The Office of Management and Budget has not yet authorized the release of the full details of the FY22-26 program.
The Pentagon also pushed back in a separate public statement against the idea that it is obstructing the transition.
The statement said the Pentagon has conducted 164 interviews with the Biden transition team with over 400 officials and provided over 5,000 pages of documents. That was “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,” it said.
The statement said all of this has been done while working under limitations due to COVID-19. It said only 40 percent of the workforce are in the building and 60 percent are teleworking.
In addition, all transition interviews have been conducted virtually — “something that has never been done before,” it said.
At the same time, the Pentagon said it is implementing the National Defense Strategy and supporting Operation Warp Speed (OWS) — the joint Department of Defense and Health and Human Services program to distribute the vaccine.
These are only the latest accusations of obstruction from the Biden transition team.
Just before Christmas, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said he would pause transition interviews until after January 1, to allow the department to focus on COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
“Our key focus in the next two weeks is supporting essential requests for information on OWS and COVID-19 information to guarantee a flawless transition. This is my major focus area,” he said.
The Pentagon public statement added that transition interviews are continuing to be scheduled. “We have three interviews scheduled the week of Dec. 28-31: two COVID-related, and one on cybersecurity,” it said.