Donald Trump’s transition team has dismissed the top two officials who oversee and maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.
According to a Gizmodo report, the incoming administration has told Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and his deputy, Madelyn Creedon, to clear their offices by Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Klotz and Creedon were appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the National Nuclear Security Administration, a $12 billion-a-year agency that maintains the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons.
Political appointees traditionally turn in resignation letters effective at noon on inauguration day, but officials who serve in certain key positions are often asked to stay on until their replacements are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
A source within the Department of Energy told the website that there’s no timetable for replacing either official, and other Obama appointees within the agency could also be pushed out.
“It’s a shocking disregard for process and continuity of government,” said the source.
The source said secretarial and administration appointments have not been asked to stay on by the Trump administration, so presumably their tenures will end when Obama leaves office next week.
That will leave the agency staffed entirely by civil servants, who already do much of the work, but the leadership vacuum could wreck its budget for next year even as Trump calls for expanding the nuclear arsenal.
The Obama administration has already begun rebuilding the nuclear program, which Trump simply might not have realized, but his predecessor has not yet planned for the future of the program charged with safeguarding its infrastructure.
“I’m more and more coming around to the idea that we’re so very, very f*cked,” the source said.