Pentagon chief to restore advisory panels after purge of Trump loyalists

Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response One officer dead after violent incident outside Pentagon Austin misses an opportunity in Singapore but scores big in Philippines MORE will reinstate five key Pentagon advisory boards after earlier this year suspending the committees and ousting last-minute appointees by former President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

Press secretary John Kirby said Austin plans to restore the five major boards of policy, science, business, health and innovation after he reviews recommendations made by a committee tasked with scrutinizing the Defense Department's 42 boards and commissions.

“Largely, the committee-level work has been completed and we are examining those committee recommendations — the secretary is — to determine how he wants to move forward,” Kirby told reporters.

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He added that the details on “what boards are going to be reconstituted and how they’re going to be both chaired and populated,” will be revealed “very soon.”

Kirby declined to give further details.

Austin in early February fired all members serving on the Defense Department's advisory panels and also ordered “the immediate suspension of all advisory committee operations” until a “zero-based review” was completed.

Among those ousted were former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey LewandowskiTrump super PAC promoting Susan Wright ahead of Texas House runoff Pentagon chief to restore advisory panels after purge of Trump loyalists Trump denies fighting with Pence for hiring Lewandowski MORE and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who had both been named to the Defense Business Board after the Trump administration fired nine members.

Also removed from the Defense Policy Board was former acting Pentagon policy chief Anthony Tata, who had to withdraw his nomination over controversial tweets in which he called former President Obama a "terrorist leader.”

The Trump administration had appointed such controversial figures to the boards after removing long-standing experts, including former secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright from the Defense Policy Board.

Kirby said at the time of Austin's major sweep that the Pentagon chief was “deeply concerned” over the “frenetic activity that occurred to the composition of so many boards in just the period of November to January.”