Presidential Transition Period Dangerous, Says Joint Chiefs Chairman

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that the United States is vulnerable to attack or other incidents during the presidential transition period and that the military is ready to respond.

“When you go back and look at the number of incidents that have occurred three or four months before an inauguration to about 12 months out, back to the ’50s, it’s pretty staggering the number of major incidents which have occurred in this time frame,” Adm. Michael Mullen said, noting that the danger is compounded by current world conditions.

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

The Sept. 11 attacks, for example, occurred eight months after President Bush took office, at a time when many key appointments had not been made.

Recent preparations for the transition in the Pentagon were aimed at preventing any attacks, and if an attack or incident does take place, the military is ready to respond, Adm. Mullen told Sara A. Carter, national security reporter for The Washington Times.

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen ...
US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on Capitol Hill in April 2008 in Washington, DC. US and Russian military chiefs met face-to-face for private talks in Helsinki Tuesday, trying to mend a relationship “clearly” marred by Russia’s invasion of Georgia, officials said.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Alex Wong)

Shifts from old to new administrations are “always a challenging time in our country, always have been,” Adm. Mullen said.

“Transitions are always difficult,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of effort into it, and we’re ready.”

The chairman said he is concerned about the transition because of the global threats and opportunities facing the United States at the present time, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I consider this a time of vulnerability, and I’ve worked this for months to have a transition team prepare for a new administration, mindful that this new administration, they don’t take charge until the 20th of January,” Adm. Mullen said.

The four-star admiral, who is the designated chief military adviser, stated that the military serves “one commander in chief always” while at the same time he will be going to “great lengths” to respond to the Obama transition team.

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