The Pentagon has appointed two close allies of President Donald Trump, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to a defense advisory board, continuing a postelection purge in the final weeks of the administration.
The acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, who was installed by Trump on Nov. 9 after he fired then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, said in a written statement Friday that nine members of the Defense Business Board had been replaced with the appointment of 11 new members.
Lewandowski and Bossie are among Trump’s most vocal supporters. The nine other appointees are Henry Dreifus, Robert McMahon, Cory Mills, Bill Bruner, Christopher Shank, Joseph Schmidt, Keary Miller, Alan Weh and Earl Matthews.
The Miller statement initially said the nine individuals removed from the board had been serving in “expired positions,” implying they were overdue to leave. But later the Pentagon amended the statement to say some board members had been “terminated.” It gave no reason for the firings.
The board’s charter says members are appointed for terms ranging from one to four years, with annual renewals.
Other developments Friday:
President Trump, continuing his end-of-term troop withdrawals from conflicts around the world, will pull U.S. troops out of Somalia, where they have been involved in trying to push back advances by Islamist insurgents in the Horn of Africa.
The Pentagon announced Friday that virtually all of the approximately 700 troops in Somalia — most Special Operations troops who have been conducting training and counterterrorism missions — will be leaving by Jan. 15.
Many of the troops will be “repositioned” to nearby Kenya, a Defense Department official said Friday.
The State Department said that it would deny visas to Chinese citizens linked to overseas influence operations involving violence and other means of intimidation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the restrictions would apply to Chinese Communist Party officials or anyone else taking part in such propaganda or influence campaigns affiliated with the United Front Work Department.
The United Front has been involved in efforts to put pressure on people outside China’s borders who raise concerns about human rights abuses in the Uighur region, Tibet and elsewhere.