Biden says ‘enormous damage’ has been done to government agencies dealing with national security

Delivering remarks on Monday, President-elect Joe Biden said under the Trump administration, government agencies in charge of national security have “incurred enormous damage.”

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: And over the past few weeks, teams of genuine policy and management experts, many of them previous government experience who have gone into agencies across the government to conduct interviews with personnel, to gather information, and to assess the state of the federal government-- excuse me-- that we will shortly inherit. These teams worked under incredibly difficult circumstances, taking COVID-19 precautions and waiting weeks for the ascertainment, meaning that so they could go in and be cleared to go in. But they have done an outstanding job.

For some agencies our teams received exemplary cooperation from the career staff in those agencies. From others, most notably the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department. And the truth is, many of the agencies that are critical to our security have incurred enormous damage. Many of them have been hollowed out in personnel, capacity, and in morale; in the policy processes that have atrophied or have been sidelined; in the despair of our alliances and the disrepair of those alliances; and our absence from key institutions that matter to the welfare of the American people; and the general disengagement from the world.

And all of it makes it harder for our government to protect the American people, to-- to defend our vital interest. In a world where threats are constantly evolving and our adversaries are constantly adapting. Rebuilding the full set of our instruments of foreign policy and national security is a key challenge that the Vice President-Elect Harris and I will face upon taking office.