WASHINGTON — In a dramatic unfolding at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday ordered hundreds of Pentagon advisory board members to resign this month as part of a broad review of the panels, essentially purging several dozen last-minute appointments under the Trump administration.
In his last two months of his tenure, the former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller had removed a number of longtime members from several defense policy, health, science and business boards and replaced many of them with individuals who supported and had ties to former President Trump. A little more than 30 replacements will of the coming days, including former GOP House speaker Newt Gingrich, retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
In a recent memo sent out to all Department of Defense employees, Austin stated, “I am directing the immediate suspension of all advisory committee operations until the review is completed unless otherwise directed by myself or the deputy secretary of defense.”
According to the memo, all those who have been asked to resign have up to Feb. 16 to resign and no later than that.
Officials have stated that the review is procedural in looking at whether any and all overlapping jurisdictions should be realigned, as well as if money could be saved by trimming some of the boards. The review will also look into recommendations on the membership balance, size and mission of all the boards.
ATR News Senior Writing Coordinator Eric Sahlstrom in Grand Rapids, MI contributed to this report.