Hundreds of people serving on the Pentagon’s 42 civilian advisory boards were forced to resign on Tuesday upon the orders of Joe Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The move effectively purged many Trump appointees where were put in place in the final days of the Trump administration.
While the resignations were reportedly part of a broader review ordered by Austin, the Pentagon’s top spokesman did acknowledge that move was prompted by the 11th-hour appointments by Trump.
“The Secretary was deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to memberships of department advisory committees,” said John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary. “This review will allow him now to quickly get his arms around the purpose of these boards and to make sure the advisory committees are in fact providing the best possible advice to department leadership.”
The boards’ operations have been suspended and the resignations must be made by February 16. Only two individuals nominated to boards by the Defense Secretary or other Pentagon officials will have to resign. Those named to boards by a president or Congress are not affected. Neither Sean Spicer, Trump’s former White House spokesman, who was named the U.S. Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors in 2019, or Kellyanne Conway, who was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Board of Visitors, are impacted by the order.