Lawmakers worry Dept of Defense is woefully understaffed after exodus of experts under Trump: report

According to a new report from POLITICO, the number of high-level civilian vacancies at the Pentagon has hit a new high, and the brain-drain has lawmakers concerned the the nation's most urgent national security problems aren't being addressed.

"More than a third of all Senate-confirmed civilian positions at the Department of Defense are now vacant or filled by temporary officials, a peak level for the administration outside of the transition period, according to information provided to POLITICO by a Defense Department spokesperson," POLITICO's Lara Seligman and Daniel Lippman report. "Out of 60 senior positions, 21 lack permanent appointees. Thirteen of those positions have no nominee identified, including the slots for comptroller, space policy chief, and the head of international security affairs."

Sen. Jack Reed, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the vacancies "continue to challenge the department's ability to effectively respond to national security challenges and undermine civilian input into the decision-making process with political appointees largely absent a large amount of work."

Compounding the problem is the fact that the White House personnel office is led by a 29-year-old Trump loyalist who is "trying to exert more control over the Pentagon’s nominating process."

Read the full report over at POLITICO.