As of Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanded the resignation of and removed hundreds of Pentagon advisers, which ultimately cleared out the remaining appointees from the Trump administration. Members will be removed on Feb. 16 by termination or voluntary resignation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Advisory boards have and will continue to provide an important role in shaping public policy within [the Department of Defense]… That said, our stewardship responsibilities require that we continually assess to ensure each advisory committee provides appropriate value today,” Austin wrote in a memo to the Pentagon’s leadership.
Defense officials “who were not authorized to speak publicly,” said a total of at least 42 committees will be reviewed accompanied by recommended changes no later than June 1, according to USA Today. The anonymous official continued to explain Austin’s concern for the steadfast pace and consistency of appointments under former President Donald Trump and “deemed the fairest way to address his concern was to ask each of the hundreds of employees to resign.”
One of the boards to be impacted by these changes was established by Congress to replace the names of military bases and trademarks that have been named after Confederate generals and further banning any offensive Confederate imagery. While Trump highly resisted these changes during his time in office, Austin will be appointing four new members to this specific board.
Austin, who made history as the first Black Pentagon chief in the nation’s history, previously suspended the on-boarding process for Trump administration nominees to Pentagon advisory boards and further delayed their official transition to their seats as advisers.
It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as our country’s 28th Secretary of Defense, and I’m especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/qPAzVRxz9L
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) January 22, 2021
Austin was officially sworn in after President Joe Biden's nomination of him for the role on Jan. 22.
"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as our country's 28th secretary of defense, and I'm especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position," his official Twitter announcement read. "Let's get to work."
Within the forthcoming weeks, Austin will be naming and appointing members to each of the boards.