Pentagon Begins Transition to Biden Administration

Defense Department officials have started meeting with representatives of President-elect Joe Biden after the Government Services Administration on Nov. 23 made government resources available to begin the transition.

Representatives from Biden’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s transition team recently reached out to the Pentagon to start coordinating the transition. Washington Headquarters Services Director Thomas M. Muir, in a Nov. 24 briefing, told reporters that while the initial meetings have been via teleconference, the Pentagon has set aside space for the agency review team to come in and start working.

Muir said the department is following guidelines outlined in the 1963 Presidential Transition Act to provide the office space, funding, and briefings following the GSA’s memorandum. However, the team will have to meet recently outlined COVID-19 regulations inside the Pentagon, which limits the number of workers who can come in to the building.

Kash Patel, who recently joined the DOD as chief of staff for Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller, will lead the transition process for the Pentagon, according to Defense News. Additional officials, including senior executives and military leaders, will meet with the transition team throughout the process, Muir said.

Biden on Nov. 22 announced some nominees to serve on his national security and foreign policy team, including Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, and Jake Sullivan as National Security Adviser. However, he has yet to name a Defense Secretary.

Former DOD official Michèle A. Flournoy has emerged as the likely contender, but POLITICO reported that Biden is not fully “sold” on picking her because of concerns raised by progressive Democrats.