Friday, 16 April, 2021

The Pentagon cleanses the advisory boards of allies that Trump has appointed

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
Deanna Wagner | 04 February, 2021, 08:38

"I also direct, no later than February 16, 2021, the conclusion of service for all DoD advisory committee and subcommittee members now serving on DoD advisory committees where the DoD approving authority is the Secretary of Defense or where a statute authorizes another DoD civilian officer or employee, or Active Duty member of the Armed Services to act as the DoD approving authority".

Among those blocked from taking seats on Pentagon boards were Corey Lewandowski, who served as a Trump campaign manager in 2016, and David Bossie, a former Trump deputy campaign manager, the Journal reported.

The Pentagon organizations that sponsor each board will have until April 30 to submit recommendations for the viability of each board with the National Defense Strategy, a final recommendation by top Pentagon officials will be submitted to Austin on June 1.

The secretary has also ordered the "conclusion of service" for most advisory board members.

The Pentagon also announced that all activity by the more than 40 committees and its hundreds of members would be suspended during the review.

The secretary's move boots Trump loyalists who were appointed to the boards at the last minute.

Though Lewandowski and Bossie were among those appointed by Trump, the Biden White House already stopped their Pentagon appointment - and several others selected by then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller - in a decision made last week.

The secretary was deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to memberships have Department Advisory Committees and this review will allow him now to quickly get his arms around the objective of these boards and to make sure the advisory committees are in fact providing the best possible advice to department leadership.

Corey Lewandowski
Corey Lewandowski

"The secretary was deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to advisory committees and this review will allow him to get his arms around the objective of those boards and to ensure that these boards are providing the best advice to department policies", chief Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said.

The defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Austin believed that stopping the activity of all the boards and doing a more intensive review was the fairest and most consistent process.

Officials said the move would affect several hundred appointees, who typically serve in a volunteer capacity.

Scott O'Grady, a retired US Air Force F-16 pilot, was appointed to the Defense Policy Board in December.

A review of all the boards, and whether they are still needed, will now be the focus before new members are named.

These new moves do not apply to Trump allies who were selected to the boards of visitors at USA military academies, which include former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought.

"Not only were most of Trump's appointees ill-qualified political cronies, but these boards were stale relics", tweeted Sen. "I hope Austin breathes new life into these boards by appointing a truly diverse group of people".

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