Trump Removes Soft-on-China Members of Important ‘Defense Policy Board’

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States via Wikimedia Commons

Three weeks after I published my piece urging an overhaul of the Pentagon’s soft-on-China ‘Defense Policy Board’ (DPB), President Trump did just that. Quietly, on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Defense Department removed eleven members of its important DPB including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Rudy De Leon, a former Deputy Defense Secretary at the Pentagon.

This is a significant, but underreported development.

As I noted in my earlier ADN piece:

The Pentagon’s top leadership relies on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, also known as the Defense Policy Board (DPBAC or DPB) for “independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy.”

Operating through the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD-P), the 13-member DPB consisting of prominent outside experts provides advice to the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, focusing on “long-term, enduring issues central to strategic planning.”

Sadly, today most of these experts are “soft on China” and at odds with President Trump’s forceful strategic response to the growing China menace.  An overhaul of the Board’s membership is urgently overdue.

China expert Bill Gertz also noted in The Washington Times that “Chief among those on the board with views that clash with Mr. Trump is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, architect of the conciliatory U.S. policies that argued in favor of unfettered economic and diplomatic engagement with the communist regime.”

Four other members, Adm. Gary Roughead, Madeleine Albright, Jamie Gorelick, and Jane Harman were all added to the policy board in 2011 by President Obama “as part of an effort to slant it in a Democratic direction,” noted Gertz.

Foreign Policy reported that members of the Trump administration had tried to remake the board with members from outside the D.C. establishment, and more sympathetic to the president and his views, but had received pushback from then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting Undersecretary for Policy James Anderson.

I have known Dr. Anderson for decades since serving as Marine Corps officers together in the 1980s. He is a solid conservative with a solid intellect.

Both Esper and Anderson, who were removed earlier this month by Trump, reportedly argued to keep the board in place to allow for policy continuity, according to Foreign Policy. Sadly, without knowing more from Esper or Anderson, it appears that some of the ‘continuity’ these members were promoting was a failed soft-on-China policy.

It is not yet known who will be replacing these removed members. However, a U.S. Defense official told Fox News: “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.”

We can expect the replacements before January 20, 2021. Hopefully, they will all have valuable, credible expertise and experience to add value to the DPB. But they should also reflect and represent the critical new need for a tough-on China containment strategy.


Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard Hennessy
Richard Hennessy
4 months ago

Good!! Our military leadership has become much too PC. It was encouraged by Obama during his administration.

Rich
Rich
4 months ago

especially Kissinger who I always thought was a communist

TheMadMan
TheMadMan
4 months ago

President Trump should do a litmus test to everyone that me wants to have in his Administration and in the Pentagon as well as his next Attorney General and all of his staff or just everyone he needs working with him within the White House.

James
James
4 months ago

Just wondering how many others should be removed who are getting rich off of the military/industrial syndicate?
None the less; I am glad to see those who were soft in China gone.

Omega 2
4 months ago

GOOD ACTION HERE! The ones listed here were always WISHY WASHY on military actions except wanting more wars!

Floyd Hardee
4 months ago

He should have replaced the top four managers in each Government Agency including the CIA, the FBI, the DOJ, and the FCC. He would have had better support and less back stabbing. Now he needs to separate the good grain from the tares and the chaff. Just add Biden’s in person vote and his Absentee votes to his own and that will be the good grain, legal votes. Then take the total vote of both Biden and himself. Then subtract their legal votes from this total, and that will leave the chaff, or illegal vote. The candidate left who still has the most legal votes is the winner. The Supreme Court should rule that all mail in votes that were not approved by the State legislature is illegal, therefore is tares or chaff.

Herbert G. Chapman
Herbert G. Chapman
4 months ago

Them people have been in that job so long they think they own it and can’t be removed like it would take an act of congress to remove them. How many president’s have they served under?

Herbert G. Chapman
Herbert G. Chapman
4 months ago

We the people should remove all them that are soft on immigration and border protection also. We are responsible for that!

AMFER
4 months ago

Next, the FBI and the CIA. FIRE THEM, from top to bottom, all of them. If they want to return, have them re-apply and go through a thorough and vigorous review. I would think Pres. Trump would have a few good & loyal people to head it up. There is so much corruption that has over-taken our country’s integrity through a good many past administrations – it needs to be done.

trackback

[…] November — as I had urged in October — the Pentagon announced the dismissal of most of its outside advisory group, the Defense Policy Board (DPB). Trump mostly […]


People, Places & Things