Trump administration ousts almost all of Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board

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Trump administration ousts almost all of Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.

By Lia Eustachewich

Eleven members of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board have been abruptly booted by the outgoing Trump administration, according to a new report.

Pentagon liaison Joshua Whitehouse sent the directive Wednesday afternoon, multiple sources told Foreign Policy.

Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright; retired Adm. Gary Roughead; onetime ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman; and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon were all removed, effective immediately.

Also ousted were former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Treasury Department undersecretary David McCormick, former deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick; chief US nuclear negotiator Robert Joseph; former Deputy National Security Advisor JD Crouch II; and former top defense official Franklin Miller.

The status of the other two members on the board was unclear.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The Defense Policy Board provides top-ranking Pentagon officials with independent, informed advice and and opinion on matters of defense policy.

The Defense Department confirmed the move in a statement to Foreign Policy.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor 

“As part of long-considered changes, we can confirm that several members of the Department’s Defense Policy Board have been removed,” an official said. “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 Trump administration had sought to appoint members loyal to the president to the board but got pushback from former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson.

Esper was fired earlier this month, with Anderson resigning shortly after.

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