Kash Patel, recently installed Trump loyalist, now leading Pentagon transition

By Jacqueline Feldscher

Kash Patel, a White House loyalist who was installed at the Pentagon two weeks ago amid a purge of senior civilian officials, has been put in charge of the Defense Department's transition to the next administration, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

The news, first reported by CNN, comes one day after the General Services Administration allowed the Trump administration to begin talking with the incoming Biden team to begin the transition process.

Background: Patel was named chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller just two weeks ago, the day after the president fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. His former chief of staff, Jen Stewart, resigned shortly after. Trump allies were also installed in top positions overseeing intelligence and policy.

Stewart was leading the transition effort before she left the Pentagon, so it was expected that Patel would take over those responsibilities.

Patel previously worked for Rep. Devin Nunes (R.Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and as a staffer played a key role in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe.

He also held a number of roles in the Trump administration, including on the National Security Council staff, in the office of former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, and most recently as a top White House counterterrorism official.

Other personnel moves: Tom Muir, the director of Washington Headquarters Services, will be the agency transition director, the Defense Department transition task force lead and the senior career executive for transition, the spokesperson said.

On the Biden team: Kathleen Hicks, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is leading a group of more than two dozen people handling the Defense Department transition for the Biden team.