The Defense Department on Friday said that a number of members of its Defense Policy Board — including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright — had been removed.
“As part of long-considered changes, we can confirm that several members of the Department’s Defense Policy Board have been removed,” a U.S. Defense official told Fox News.
Foreign Policy, which first reported the removals, said 11 high-profile advisers were ousted from the board, including Kissinger and Albright, as well as former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The purge was done quietly earlier this week, on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Also removed include former Treasury undersecretary David McCormick, who served during the George W. Bush administration, and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon.
“I am grateful to the departing board members, many of whom have served for decades. As we adapt the Department for great power competition, I look forward to naming new board members in the coming days,” the official said.
Foreign Policy reported that members of the Trump administration had tried to remake the board with figures more sympathetic to the president and outside of the D.C. establishment — including former Air Force fighter pilot Scott O’Grady and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
However, the outlet reports that that move received pushback from then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting Undersecretary James Anderson.
Esper was fired earlier this month and replaced with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Anderson resigned a day later