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Defense secretary installs 2 Trump loyalists to Pentagon advisory board

Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie both held top positions on the president’s 2016 campaign team.
Image: Chris Miller
Chris Miller testifies on Capitol Hill on Sept. 17, 2020.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller installed two close allies of President Trump, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board Friday in an abrupt shake-up of the historically non-partisan advisory group.

Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, was fired from the 2016 campaign but remained close to the president. Both he and Bossie, the former deputy campaign manager, have been involved in the president’s efforts to discredit the results of the 2020 election.

Miller removed nine members of the board and replaced them with a total of 11 others, including Lewandowski and Bossie.

The outgoing members were replaced not because their terms were up, a defense official said, explaining that the administration exercised its authority to remove them.

The board advises the defense secretary and deputy secretary on business management issues and is historically non-partisan. Members are not paid for their participation and serve no less than one year and no more than four years, according to the Pentagon’s website.

In a statement, Miller praised the new 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,” he said.

The Pentagon statement said the members who were removed from the board were serving in “expired positions,” but a defense official rebutted that claim.

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Lewandoski and Bossie co-authored a book, “Let Trump be Trump,” about their time working on the president’s 2016 campaign.

The move follows last week’s announcement that the White House was abruptly removing members of the Defense Policy Board, including Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, former members of Congress Jane Harman and Eric Cantor, and former Navy Chief Admiral Gary Roughead. Miller has yet to announce their replacements.

Others appointed to the Defense Business Board Friday include: Henry Dreifus, Robert McMahon, Cory Mills, Bill Bruner, Christopher Shank, Joseph Schmidt, Keary Miller, Alan Weh, and Earl Matthews.

The officials removed include: Michael Bayer, Arnold Punaro, Atul Vashisitha, John O'Connor, David Venlet, Paul Dolan, Scott Dorn, David Walker and David Van Slyke.