Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has blocked a number of former President Donald Trump’s appointees to Pentagon advisory boards in an effort by the Defense Department to filter out last-minute appointments from the previous administration.
The move was announced in an email Wednesday to advisory board members, Politico first reported. The Pentagon noted that “all appointments, reappointments and renewals” to the boards would be subject to a “thorough review by the new administration.”
SCOOP: DOD has suspended the processing of a number of Trump’s last-minute appointees to defense advisory boards.
The move effectively prevents a number of Trump allies, including Corey Lewandoski and David Bossie, from actually serving on the panels. https://t.co/miQVKbl3MK
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) January 28, 2021
The directive reportedly affected five advisory boards including the Defense Business Board, the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, the Defense Innovation Board and the Defense Healthcare Board. The advisory boards are intended to offer guidance to officials and strengthen partnerships between the department and the private sector.
The Pentagon did not specify how many appointees were affected by the directive but officials familiar with the matter told Politico the list included Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie.
Then Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller appointed Lewandowski and Bossie to the Defense Business Board in early December, according to the Associated Press. They were among the numerous appointments to government boards made in the final weeks of the Trump presidency.
Austin’s directive reportedly applied to appointees who were still in the process of finalizing paperwork or undergoing vetting, including completing background checks and acquiring security clearances, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The secretary, as you would expect, is reviewing current policies in place across the Department to determine if any changes are necessary, to include the advisory boards,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Politico in a statement. “No final decisions have been made with respect to board membership. But we will make the information available should that change.”