Pentagon chief clears advisory board members to purge Trump loyalists

Pentagon chief clears advisory board members to purge Trump loyalists
U.S. Secretary of Defense / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has announced a massive review of the department's panels along with an order calling for the resignations of hundreds of Pentagon advisory board members in an effort to purge dozens of last-minute, Trump appointees.

During the lame-duck period of Trump's presidency, former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller removed several "longtime members from several defense policy, health, science, and business boards and replaced many with loyalists of former President Donald Trump," according to the Associated Press. Now, with Austin's latest order, more than 30 of Trump's appointees are facing resignation.

In a memo released on Tuesday, Feb. 2, Austin detailed immediate changes that would be occurring within the department. "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," Austin said.The publication reports:

"Of the 42 advisory panels listed in Austin's memo, 31 will have their members removed, six will be part of the review but their members will be retained, and five others have either no members at this time or have concluded their business. Among the 31 are some of the department's most well-known boards, including those with purview over defense policy, science, health, innovation, Arlington National Cemetery, and women in the military."

While the exact number of defense officials resigning remains unknown, the department has confirmed there "will be hundreds." Austin's orders come less than one week after U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), and Joyce Beatty, (D-Ohio) penned a letter to the Defense Secretary expressing concerns about Miller's appointments to the board responsible for removing remnants of the Confederacy across the United States.

"Those who are called to serve their nation in this matter must have a deep understanding of and expertise in the history of Confederate monuments and their role in the white supremacist movement," Brown and Beatty wrote to Austin.

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