The outgoing Trump administration will appoint two loyalists to join the US Department of Defense’s highest federal advisory board. Foreign policy learned less than a full day before President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration of what might be considered a reward for officials close to the Lame Duck Commander in Chief.
Defense Department Chief of Staff Kash Patel, who joined the agency just a day after former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s dismissal of President Donald Trump by tweet in November 2020, was appointed to the Defense Policy Board along with Anthony Tata. Tata left an acting position in the Policy Shop last week. It was installed six months after that Conspiratorial tweets surfaced that torpedoed his quest to become Under-Secretary of State for Politics.
Typically, this is done by agency officials who join the Defense Ministry’s federal advisory councils such as the Defense Policy Board after four days of “cooling off” from government service. Tata left his job as undersecretary for defense last week and completed the onboarding requirements for the board. Patel will continue to serve in the administration until the end of the Trump administration, a defense official confirmed, and would not be fully eligible for the role until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. Biden’s new administration could quickly reverse many of those moves after taking power on Wednesday.
Michael Pillsbury, a China hawk who won importance In the inner ranks of the Trump administration, he was promoted to chairman of the board last month, but it lacks a security clearance to call meetings, a person familiar with the situation said Foreign policy. A defense officer familiar with the situation confirmed that Pillsbury had not met his onboarding requirements for the role but did not specifically address the status of his security clearance.
Foreign policy first reported November that the Defense Policy Board had been exempted from senior advisors that month, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. The board, which provides independent advice on defense policy and key strategic issues, last met in October 2020 to discuss China’s strategy and space deterrence. according to to a note in the federal register.
After the November purge, Trump allies joined the panel, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Air Force pilot Scott O’Grady and Pillsbury. Gingrich went on the air after the election claiming it was stolen, and O’Grady, who was shot down over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 and became Trump’s candidate for the by-election as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, reinforced Post-election tweets proposing Trump declare martial law and called the election result a coup. O’Grady and Charles Glazer, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, have finished joining the Defense Policy Board, the defense official confirmed.
The steps are part of a larger move to reward Trump loyalists with Defense Department promotions, particularly with Michael Ellis Furnished As the National Security Agency’s top lawyer this weekend, a professional service position that is protected by law. Ellis has a political background in the Trump administration that included trying to prevent former National Security Advisor John Bolton from getting his book published.
Meanwhile, Tom Williams, who has taken on Tata’s role in serving as chief political officer, has downgraded over a dozen departmental awards for political candidates and officials who opposed Trump or were not considered affiliated with him – before his Superiors intervened to stop the movement. Williams competed for the prestigious Service Award, the highest award he is entitled to. Miller, the acting Secretary of Defense, bestowed the award on him last month.