Austin ousts Pentagon advisory board members as he roots out Trump appointees

Source: Politico | February 2, 2021 | Lara Seligman

The Trump administration booted several members of the advisory boards after losing the election and installed political operatives and loyalists in their place.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has removed members of the Pentagon’s advisory boards in a sweeping effort to oust a series of last-minute appointees by the Trump administration, according to defense officials and a memo obtained by POLITICO.

In the memo dated Saturday, Austin fired members serving on DoD’s advisory boards effective Feb. 16, and directed the immediate suspension of all committee operations while the Pentagon completes a “zero-based review” of at least 42 defense advisory committees.

The news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, affects only members who were appointed by former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller. “Members that are appointed by Congress or by the president are retained during this review period,” a defense official said.

The ousting comes just days after Austin halted the in-processing of new members, effectively preventing a number of former President Donald Trump’s acolytes, who were still completing paperwork and undergoing security checks, from actually serving on the panels. That included Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie. Also out is Kash Patel, who was Miller’s chief of staff, who said over the weekend that he had been sworn in but his in-processing had been put on hold.

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