President Donald Trump made headlines last month with his decision to dismiss Defense Secretary Mark Esper — but shakeups within the Pentagon did not stop there.
According to recent reports, nine members of the Defense Business Board found out this week that they had been removed.
“Has expired or is coming to an end”
As Politico noted, the individuals received a “brief email” from Joshua Whitehouse, the Trump administration’s liaison to the Department of Defense.
His message reportedly stated that “if you are receiving this email, your membership on the Defense Business Board has expired or is coming to an end.”
Recipients of that email included the board’s chairman, Michael, Bayer, who told Politico: “A number of board members have been terminated with a form letter.”
Bayer shared his surprise in realizing “that the White House would, at the eleventh hour, adjust an advisory board that for 19 years had had a record of nonpartisan support with the department.”
Emphasizing his concern about the lasting impact of the decision, he predicted that it “will weigh heavily on people in the future and their willingness to serve on these outside advisory boards if they’re going to be subjected to political loyalty tests.”
“Had no indication this was coming”
Describing the development as “unprecedented,” Bayer said that he is “saddened” by the news and “had no indication this was coming.”
Another individual, who requested to remain anonymous, told the outlet that the board “has never been political, ever,” and insisted that the way members were let go showed a lack of “gratitude and appreciation for people.”
Among the new additions to the board are Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, both of whom have close ties to the Trump administration. Politico identified another addition as Army veteran and self-described “Newsmax insider” Cory Mills.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller issued a statement in response to announcements of the newest board members: “These individuals have a proven record of achievement within their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership that will serve our Department, and our nation well.”
Foreign Policy reported last month that similar changes were underway at the Defense Policy Board.