President Joe Biden has entered office with a bevy of executive orders and more than a few controversial picks to head up vital federal government agencies.
As one example, newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has reportedly decided to oust numerous Pentagon advisory committee members.
“An important role in shaping public policy”
According to The Hill, he made the move this week to purge all of the individuals seated on the Department of Defense advisory board, many of whom were holdovers from the Trump administration.
Furthermore, Austin has ordered an “immediate suspension of all advisory committee operations” until a “zero-based review” of the bodies is completed.
Certain entities, including the agency’s policy, science, and business boards will also be impacted by the move.
The incoming Defense secretary is targeting his predecessor’s picks to serve on a commission formed with the goal of renaming military bases that honor Confederate-era military and political leaders.
“Advisory committees have and will continue to provide an important role in shaping public policy within DoD,” Austin said.
“I could have left earlier”
He went on to add that “our stewardship responsibilities require that we continually assess to ensure each advisory committee provides appropriate value today and in the future, as times and requirements change.”
Former President Donald Trump took a clear interest in building up the number of appointments to federal advisory boards. He attracted headlines for slating one-time campaign advisers including Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie to serve in these influential positions.
The news of Austin’s decision to clear house comes on the heels of a Politico report that some Trump appointees had been fired from the executive branch even as they were on paternity leave.
One former official told the outlet: “I could have left earlier but I didn’t because I was told, ‘Hey, you’ve got paternity leave coming up.’ And if I had known that you’re not going to get to use your paternity leave and you’re actually going to just work your ass off when you have a new baby and then get fired, I would have made a different decision.”
Another ousted appointee said that “it’s pretty scary to have a premature baby at home and not knowing if you’re going to have an income or health insurance.”