Biden calls out transition 'roadblocks' in remarks on national security
“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden said in remarks following a meeting with national security and foreign policy advisers in Wilmington, Del. “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.”
“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 of the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” he continued. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Biden did not expand further on what he described as “obstruction” by outgoing Pentagon leadership, nor did he take questions following his brief remarks.
He received a virtual briefing from members of his intended Cabinet as well as leaders of his national security and foreign policy agency review teams earlier Monday afternoon.
Biden’s transition team expressed concern earlier this month about a halt in cooperation from the Pentagon, after meetings had been canceled. The Defense Department said that meetings had been put off until after Jan. 1 as part of a “mutually agreed upon” pause during the holiday, but Biden’s team said that there was no such agreement.
The Defense Department did not immediately return a request for a response to Biden’s comments.
A senior administration official described Biden’s remarks as ridiculous while adding that OMB staff would not waste time helping the transition team develop what would ultimately be failed proposals. The official denied that cooperation issues had anything to do with national security.
Biden on Monday said that the transition had received “exemplary cooperation from some agencies” and complimented career personnel who will remain in government after political appointees vacate their various positions.
Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Cooperation between the current federal government and Biden’s transition team began at the end of November when the General Services Administration formally recognized Biden as the apparent winner of the election, following weeks of delay.
President Trump, who has granted Biden access to his daily intelligence brief, continues to contest the results of the election and falsely assert that he won. Trump claims there was massive, coordinated voter fraud in the election, but his claims have not been backed up by evidence in court.
Biden on Monday also offered his first in-person remarks on the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville, emphasizing the need for "continuing vigilance" while thanking police and first responders.
"This bombing was a reminder of the destructive power an individual or a small group can muster and the need for continuing vigilance across the board," he said.
"I know the hearts of all Americans are with the people of Nashville as they rebuild and recover from this traumatic event."