Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to restore five Pentagon advisory boards months after he suspended the panels and booted several hundred last-minute appointees installed by then-President Donald Trump, The Hill reports.
The five major panels focus on policy, science, business, innovation and health.
After losing the 2020 presidential election, Trump booted members from the advisory boards and installed political operatives and loyalists in their place.
''Largely, the committee-level work has been completed and we are examining those committee recommendations — the secretary is — to determine how he wants to move forward,'' Defense Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
He also said details on ''what boards are going to be reconstituted and how they're going to be both chaired and populated'' will be revealed ''very soon.''
Austin became defense secretary under President Joe Biden.
The Trump appointees included Anthony Tata, a former acting senior defense official who in 2018 called former President Barack Obama a ''terrorist leader'' and was placed on the Defense Policy Board on Jan. 19, the last full day of the Trump administration.
Austin ''was concerned by the scale of recent changes to department advisory committees,'' Defense Department spokesperson Susan Gough told Air Force magazine of the decision to clear out the seats. ''For example, recent nominations affected half the membership of each the Defense Policy Board and Defense Business Board.'' She did not specify what problems Austin thought the changes might present, nor did she detail how many last-minute appointments the Trump administration tried to make in its final days or weeks.
Members from at least 31 of 42 panels were removed by Austin in February. In a report, Politico said the Pentagon was focused on increasing the diversity of the boards, which, according to two former defense officials, said have been heavily populated by ''old white guys who are consummate D.C. insiders.''
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