Hundreds of Members Sacked as Defense Secretary Shakes Down Pentagon Advisory Boards

The 42 boards that offer advisory services to the US Department of Justice were subjected to a complete shakedown from the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, who fired hundreds of the members of the boards. Most of the victims of the shakedown are members whom former President Donald Trump appointed shortly before he left office, Politico reports.

Trump made a lot of eleventh-hour appointments on the boards, placing his loyalists, including Corey Lewandowski, who served as the former president’s campaign manager, and David Bossie, Lewandowski’s deputy, on the boards. In a memo which he wrote on Saturday, Austin did not try to hide the intention behind the shakedown, stating that most of the boards are filled with late, and hurried appointees who might not be able to function within the department’s new administration.

“A thorough examination of the boards showed that many of them are full of appointees who were only recently appointed, a phenomenon which was very disturbing for the Defense Secretary,” John Kirby, the department’s lead spokesman stated. “What we are embarking on is a review of the boards that will be charged towards ensuring that everyone onboard genuinely understands and is interested in forwarding the aim of the department

Austin’s shakedown will not affect members of the boards that were appointed by the president or Congress. Department appointed members will, however, be affected. The department said it is going to embark on a review to decide if the boards will remain or not, as well as the aim of each board. In his memo, Austin explained that it is important to make periodic assessments to ascertain that each member remains relevant to the department, CNN writes.

Austin’s shakedown might also have some economic importance as millions of dollars go into the payment of the members of the board annually and people familiar with the matter have stated that some of the boards are unimportant. The boards are charged with giving advisory services to the DOD on different issues that can impact the department’s policies.

Kirby said many of the Trump appointees came in between November and January. Two of those appointees are Lewandoski and Bossie, who replaced members of one of the advisory boards on business-related issues, even though they did not have any prior experience in the military. Some other board members who will be affected by the shakedown include ex- Majority Leader of the House, Eric Cantor, and Madeleine Albright, ex-secretary of state.

Not all Trump appointees will be losing their jobs. Kellyanne Conway, a Trump-appointee protected by the presidential appointment clause will keep the position.