Defence Secretray General Lloyd Austin: purges Trump aides from Pentagon boards
The Pentagon has announced the dismissal of dozens of advisory boards filled by aides and cronies of former president Donald Trump..
New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said 42 boards and committees maintained to give outside advice on key issues would be reassessed to see if they bring “tangible benefits” to the Department of Defense.
The move meant that scores of positions would be vacated for review, including more than a dozen appointments of Trump loyalists made to the boards in his last weeks in office.
The move effectively halts former top Trump election campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie from joining the Defense Business Board.
It also blocks Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich from the Defense Policy Board, as well as another controversial Trump favourite, retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata.
Seats on the boards are unpaid but they bring some prestige and access to networks and some Pentagon operational information that can potentially be valuable.
While Austin indicated in his order that the plethora of advisory panels was due for a review for their utility, the Pentagon also made clear it was a reaction to the outgoing Trump administration sweeping out old board rosters to embed his favorites.
“There’s no question that the frenetic activity that occurred to the composition of so many boards in just the period of November to January deeply concerned the secretary and certainly helped drive him to this decision,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
After reviews Austin will consider which boards to keep and decide on new appointments.
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