Pentagon taps Newt Gingrich, other Trump loyalists for Defense Policy Board

Gen. Austin: Defense secretary nomination is ‘honor and privelege’

Gen. Lloyd Austin addresses his nomination as defense secretary by President-elect Biden.

The Department of Defense has announced its intention on Monday to appoint several Trump loyalists to join the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, an independent advisory group that was established to provide advice and recommendations on defense policy matters to the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense.

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Appointees include former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, former U.S. ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization Thomas Carter, military historian Edward Luttwak, Trump adviser, corporate executive and former naval officer Thomas Stewart, former Republican Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, former Republican New Hampshire Sen. Robert Smith, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Charles Glazer, and former fighter pilot Scott O'Grady, who was Trump’s nominee for assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs.

“These incoming members bring extensive defense and national security affairs experience to this advisory committee from their time in Congress, the State Department, our armed forces and beyond," acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in a statement. "I’m confident the Department of Defense will benefit greatly from their time and service to the board.”

The announcement comes a week after the Department of Defense named China policy expert Michael Pillsbury as chair of the board and Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the former National Nuclear Security Administration administrator, as one of its members.

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The Department of Defense ousted 11 high-profile advisers from the Defense Policy Board in November, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former Treasury undersecretary David McCormick and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon.

The move came after Defense Secretary Mark Esper was fired by President Trump via tweet.

The new appointments are the latest installation of Trump loyalists after an announcement in early December that top allies Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie were among the new appointees to the Defense Business Board, which provides Pentagon leaders with outside advice on business management issues.

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It is unclear if the newly named individuals will officially become members of the Defense Policy Board, as the Biden administration can replace any of Trump's picks when he takes office on Jan. 20.

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