Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin fired every member of the Pentagon’s advisory boards in a sweeping move fueled by concern that the Trump administration has rushed to solve the problem. A series of last-minute appointmentsPentagon officials said Tuesday.
The move affects several hundred board members who sit on about 40 advisory boards, including dozens of people appointed to the positions in the final days of former President Donald Trump’s term.
Those dismissed include highly partisan figures such as Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, David Bossi, former Trump campaign deputy director, and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and retired dean. General Anthony Tata. But rather than identifying people appointed by Trump, the move applies to all board members, including those appointed before Trump’s presidency.
“I am immediately suspending all advisory committee operations until the review is complete, unless instructed otherwise by me or the deputy defense secretary,” Austin said in a note published on Tuesday.
Advisory boards provide guidance to the Pentagon on politics, science, business, and many other topics, and members are unpaid. To make way for new appointments, the White House has in some cases fired some old board members and replaced them with Trump loyalists.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters, “There is no doubt that the frenzied activity that took place to form several boards, from November to January only, greatly worried the minister and certainly helped push him to this decision.” .
Austin decided that sacking all advisory board members and demanding a full review of their activities is the most equitable and effective way to address the matter, two Defense Department officials told reporters in an earlier briefing.
Aside from ordering all board members to resign by February 16, Austin temporarily suspended board activity and ordered a detailed review of all DoD advisory boards to examine the role, utility, and composition of those boards, according to a memo issued by the Pentagon.
The Wall Street Journal Report the decision for the first time.