Pentagon to Purge 42 Boards After Last-Minute Trump Appointments
(Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a full review of at least 42 Pentagon advisory boards and committees over concern about a flurry of last-minute appointments of key loyalists in the waning days of the Trump administration.
“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,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.
Hundreds of board members will be asked to resign or be fired in the coming weeks. Those appointed by the secretary of defense will have to step down by Feb. 16, according to a directive from Austin.
Those include picks made in President Donald Trump’s final days in office by his acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller -- including loyalists such as former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Board members typically are volunteers, but the appointments can offer both prestige and access to key officials.
Pentagon officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the full review of the various advisory boards -- set to take until at least June -- was unprecedented and would give Austin the opportunity to review whether all of them are needed or if some have overlapping authorities. Among the panels is the well-known Defense Science Board.
The decision to review all members, except those appointed by Congress, gives the Biden administration a rebuttal to criticism that it chose to purge solely Trump appointees.
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