Jake Sullivan, incoming national security adviser for the Biden administration, said on Tuesday that the Pentagon has not met with Biden’s transition team since Dec. 18.
In an interview with NPR’s Scott Detrow, Sullivan echoed statements made by President-elect Joe Biden on Monday calling out the obstacles his transition team has faced.
On Dec. 18, members of Biden’s transition team expressed concerns regarding an “abrupt halt” in cooperation with the Department of Defense (DOD) Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller claimed the two camps had agreed to take a break from meetings, but Biden’s team has said there is no such agree and called for a restoration of the transition process.
“We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there, and as indicated by DOD earlier today, we expect that decision will be reversed,” said Biden transition executive director Yohannes Abraham.
Speaking to NPR, Sullivan said, “literally dozens of written requests for information are outstanding as we speak.”
“It kind of comes back to the lack of visibility that we have right now into a number of critical issues relating to military operations because of DoD’s obstruction and roadblocks,” he told Detrow.
“And that will mean that we are going to have to take time at the beginning of the administration after Jan. 20 to take a hard look at how we’re postured, and what threats we’re up against, and what continuing the drawdowns look like in the way of risk to force and other considerations.”
In a statement released on Monday, Miller said the Defense Department has done “far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team” in terms of meetings and access to information.
“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,” Miller said.
“Our DoD political and career officials have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so in a transparent and collegial manner that upholds the finest traditions of the Department.”
Miller added that there were in fact three more interviews scheduled with Biden’s transition team this week, two regarding COVID-19 and one on cybersecurity.
Sullivan also expanded on his and Biden’s foreign policy and national security plans, expressing desires for a more globalized world.
President Trump’s relationship with Beijing was one area in particular that Sullivan said Biden would vastly differ.
“What were their negotiating priorities? What did they push for? Well one of the things they pushed for was access for major U.S. financial institutions to do business in China,” said Sullivan.
“And the question I would pose is, what does that have to do with jobs and wages here in the United States, making it easier for the likes of JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs to be able to carry out financial activities in Beijing or Shanghai? I would say it doesn’t have a strong nexus to the well being and welfare of the American middle class.”