November 10, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson submitted his resignation, just one day after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was fired via tweet.
“It is hard to overstate just how dangerous high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition. The top policy professional in the Department resigning the day after the Secretary of Defense was fired could mark the beginning of a process of gutting the DoD – something that should alarm all Americans.
“As soon as Former Vice President Biden became President-Elect Biden, President Trump and those loyal to him started to sow chaos and division. It appears that chaos has now reached the Pentagon. Acting Under Secretary Anderson’s resignation is made even more alarming by his presumed replacement, Anthony Tata, whose problematic past prevented him from achieving Senate confirmation. If this is the beginning of a trend – the President either firing or forcing out national security professionals in order to replace them with people perceived as more loyal to him – then the next 70 days will be precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst.
“This confirms what I have been saying for months: The President’s singular obsession with loyalty has severely undermined the competence of our government and made us less safe. It is an insult to the American people to hamstring government, particularly during a period of presidential transition.”