by Stuart Ibberson, editor
Eleven members of the Defense Policy Advisory Board were removed from their positions Nov. 25.
The board is a group of outside, high profile national security experts and officials who “provide the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, independent, informed advice and opinions concerning matters of defense policy in response to specific tasks from the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense,” according to their website.
Members who were removed include former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, former ranking member of the House Intelligence committee Jane Harman, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former Chief of Naval Operations retired Adm. Gary Roughead, former chief operating officer at the Pentagon Rudy De Leon, former George W. Bush deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch II, former undersecretary at the Department of the Treasury David McCormick, former deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton Jamie Gorelick, Robert Joseph (who convinced Libya to give up weapons of mass destruction), and former top defense official Franklin Miller.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Nov. 26, “I am grateful to the departing board members, many of whom have served for decades.”
“As we adapt the Department for great power competition, I look forward to naming new board members in the coming days,” Miller said.
The fate of the two remaining board members is not known at this time.
The firings were initially reported by Foreign Policy.
A department official commented, “As part of long-considered changes, we can confirm that several members of the Department’s Defense Policy Board have been removed.”
“We are extremely grateful for their dedicated service, commitment, and contributions to our national security. Future announcements for new members of the board will be made soon,” the official continued.
The board has received pushback from some Republican analysts saying it did not accurately reflect the views of the Trump Administration.
Foreign Policy reported that the Trump administration had long been trying to remake the board with officials seen as loyal to the president. They had received pushback from inside the Pentagon; most notably then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the then acting undersecretary of defense for policy James Anderson. Both Esper and Anderson were fired in early November.
The publication went on to say that “The White House had sought to add Scott O’Grady, a former Air Force fighter pilot shot down over Bosnia, to the board to prepare him to be nominated for a top Pentagon position, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of President Donald Trump. The administration had also vetoed adding retired Adm. Eric Olson, a former U.S. Special Operations Command chief, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as Gordon England, a former deputy secretary of defense during the Bush administration, over perceived anti-Trump ties.”
There are currently no reports on who the administration intends to appoint to the board in the waning days of the Trump presidency.