- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The transition team for President-elect Donald Trump has not had any contact with Pentagon officials responsible for shepherding the department into the new administration, a week after the New York billionaire won the White House.

“We are going to support the transition to the next commander in chief, [but] as of this moment, there has not been any contact from the President-elect’s transition team,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Tuesday.

Eric Rosenbach, chief of staff for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and head of the Pentagon transition team, stayed in Washington during Mr. Carter’s three-day tour of U.S. military bases this week, “in order to facilitate those discussions” with Trump officials.

Earlier this week, Mr. Carter suggested that transition talks between the Pentagon and the Trump team would begin this week.

However, officials from the Trump campaign have yet to notify the Pentagon as to who will be Mr. Rosenbach’s counterpart on the transition team, or information on any other Trump allies who could possibly join the team leading the department’s transition.

“We are waiting for that contact to be made,” Capt. Davis told reporters at the Pentagon.

He declined to comment as to why Trump officials have yet to reach out to Defense Department officials or when those talks could possibly begin.

“We stand ready to assist the President-elect’s transition team … in the interest of our national security and for our country,” Capt. Davis said. “We are ready to go.”

The lack of communication between Trump’s transition team and the Pentagon is the latest indication of the team’s floundering efforts to address the President-elect’s national security priorities.

The most recent hiccup came Tuesday, when former Congressman and House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers abruptly resigned from Trump’s transition team, according to recent reports.

The loss of Mr. Rogers further depleted the ranks of an already small pool of defense and national security experts within the Trump camp.

During the presidential campaign, several prominent national security leaders, including former Defense Secretaries Bob Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, all spoke out against a Trump administration.

Much of Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail concerning the national security challenges facing the United States amounted to little more than political hyperbole.

When the President-elect did take clear stances on pressing defense matters, his positions confounded national security experts, belied a basic understanding military strategy or potential blowback from such declarations on that strategy.

President-elect Trump’s suggestions that U.S. allies in the Pacific like Japan and South Korea should acquire nuclear weapons, or his public questioning on whether the United States should honor its commitments to NATO, roiled the ranks of defense officials and experts who questioned his grasp of global security challenges.



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