DOD names new Defense Policy Board members in latest lame-duck shake up

By Tony Bertuca / December 14, 2020 at 2:36 PM

The Pentagon announced today it intends to appoint several new members to the Defense Policy Board in the waning days of the Trump administration.

New members tapped for the advisory board include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), former Ambassador Thomas Carter, historian and consultant Edward Luttwak, retired Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady, presidential adviser Thomas Stewart, former Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), former Sen. Robert Smith (R-NH) and former Ambassador Charles Glazer, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Last week, the Pentagon announced Hudson Institute analyst Michael Pillsbury would be appointed to chair the board, while former National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who recently stepped down from her job amid disagreements with Energy Department leaders, would become a new member.

Several members of the Defense Policy Board were removed last month including Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright, both former secretaries of state.

Most members of the Defense Business Board, another Pentagon advisory group, were also removed and replaced with individuals close to President Trump and the White House.

The actions reflect the Trump team's last-minute effort to leave its mark on the Pentagon, though the incoming Biden administration could easily undo them. It is also unclear if the new board members will be able to be officially seated before Trump leaves office.

Trump announced his intent to nominate O'Grady, who became famous in 1995 when he was shot down over Bosnia, for assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, but there is little chance he will be confirmed and serve in the post and President-elect Joe Biden is slated to take office Jan. 20 and is likely to make his own nomination.

O'Grady, meanwhile, has been in the news for promoting conspiracy theories and for advocating Trump declare martial law to overturn the election.

Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, who was chosen last month to replace the fired Mark Esper in the wake of Trump's election defeat, praised the new board members.

"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," he said. "I'm confident the Department of Defense will benefit greatly from their time and service to the board."