(Washington) The US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) announced, on Tuesday, the suspension of the activities of 42 advisory committees, as former President Donald Trump appointed dozens of believers in the last days of his term.
In a memo to the Chiefs of Services and Command, new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that 42 advisory committees tasked with providing outside advice to the Pentagon in various fields would be reviewed to determine whether they would bring “tangible benefits” to the department.
Accordingly, he said, hundreds of experts would be fired and the committees’ activities suspended until June. Most experts have been fired as of February 16.
Shortly after the November election, the Trump administration expelled former foreign diplomats Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright from the Defense Policy Board, tasked with helping shape US defense strategy.
They were replaced by former Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, who is considered a hawk, and former General Anthony Tata, who became a Fox News commentator and became famous for his anti-Islam tweets.
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossi, who are in charge of Donald Trump’s election campaign, are appointed to the Defense Business Council, which is supposed to give an independent opinion on the major contracts awarded by the Pentagon.
The experts participating in these committees are not paid, but the position is prestigious and can provide access to important information.
Although Austin said he wanted to study the utility of these committees, the Pentagon said it was a response to dozens of last-minute appointments from the Trump administration.
“The feverish activity that took place in the formation of many of these committees between November and January certainly alarmed the minister deeply and certainly helped him make this decision,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
After evaluating these committees, Mr. Austin will decide how many committees he wishes to keep and appoint new experts.