As the United States moves to inaugurate its 46th president next week, the Department of Defense continues in its mission to defend the American people, our Constitution, allies and interests. Among all government agencies, the DOD holds the most solemn responsibility to conduct a seamless transfer of power from one administration to the next.
Though President Trump’s is the first administration in 40 years not to entangle our country in a new war, there is no honeymoon period granted by our enemies for a new administration’s learning curve.
That is why, as the department’s chief of staff and head of the transition (as designated by regulation), I ordered the DOD to fully cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden. That process began Nov. 23, the day the General Services Administration announced transition activities could occur.
It will continue through next week’s inauguration, where the National Guard will defend the ceremony and participants, with 10,000-plus guardsmen positioned in Washington, D.C. to uphold the Constitution and rule of law.
At the outset of this historic process, it was important to me that the transition with our DOD political and career officials take place in full transparency and in a collegial manner. Though that was deemed ambitious by many cynics in today’s highly charged political environment, the department’s professionals nonetheless quietly went about the business of the transition with remarkable efficiency. They carried out the process with precision, poise and honor.