White House fires Defense Business Board members

by Stuart Ibberson, editor
The White House on Dec. 4 fired nine members of the Defense Business Board.

Joshua Whitehouse, the White House liaison to the Defense Department, sent a brief email to the nine members fired. The email stated ““if you are receiving this e-mail, your membership on the Defense Business Board has expired or is coming to an end.”

The nine members fired are: Michael Bayer, board chair, Arnold Punaro, Atul Vashistha, John O’Connor, David Venlet, Paul Dolan, Scott Dorn, David Walker and David Van Slyke.

A Pentagon spokesperson said the members terms had expired, yet POLITICO reported that three members said their tours were not close to ending.

The White House has replaced the fired members with people considered to be Trump loyalists including Corey Lewandowski who was Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, and David Bossie, who was Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager and had recently been tapped by the president’s 2020 campaign to contest the election results.

Other members appointed by the White House are Henry Dreifus, Robert McMahon, Cory Mills, Bill Bruner, Christopher Shank, Joseph Schmidt, Keary Miller, Allen Weh and Earl Matthews.

“I’m proud to welcome each of these new members to the Defense Business Board and I look forward to their contributions to help guide the Department’s business efforts in the coming years,” said acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.

“These individuals have a proven track record of achievement within their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership that will serve our Department, and our nation well,” he continued.

The news comes after last weeks’ firing of 11 members of the Defense Policy Advisory Board. Those fired included former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, and less than a month after Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

According to the Defense Department, the Board is comprised of private citizens who possess a proven track record of sound judgment and business acumen in leading or governing large, complex public sector or private sector corporations or organizations and/or a wealth of top-level, global business or academic experience in the areas of executive management, corporate governance, audit and finance, human resources, economics, technology, or healthcare.

Members are appointed to the board for a term of 1-4 years serving as special government employees.  These members volunteer their time to work on various subcommittees (task groups) on studies/issues requested by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary.

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