Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s team began transition briefings with defense officials at the Pentagon Friday.
“Representatives of the president-elect’s transition team contacted the department a short time ago to arrange initial briefings,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook in a statement released Thursday night. “We expect the first will take place Friday. As Secretary Carter has said, we will do everything we can to help ensure a seamless and efficient transition.”
Defense will likely be a top issue for the upcoming Trump administration. As the Republican nominee for president, Trump campaigned on restoring the strength of the U.S. military. He chastised the Obama administration for allowing the Army and Navy to shrink to their smallest levels in decades.
Trump’s 10-point national security plan aims to raise the Army’s active troop level to 540,000 active personnel (current levels number around 479,000). He also wants to raise the number of ships in the Navy to 350, a drastic increase from the 276 currently active.
The Trump transition team has yet to name a future Secretary of Defense to lead the military build-up. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a long-time Trump ally, was rumored to be a possible candidate, but he took the attorney general spot instead. Stephen Hadley, President George W. Bush’s former national security advisor, and former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent are rumored to be potential picks. Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and retired Army Gen. Jack Keane are also potential picks, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.
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