- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2021

President Biden will visit the Pentagon on Wednesday for the first time since becoming commander in chief on Jan. 20 and will address a Defense Department in the midst of a major review of U.S. troop presence abroad, an anti-extremism push across all branches of the armed forces and other key changes in all corners of the military.

Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will hold a closed-door meeting Wednesday afternoon with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other military leaders. Mr. Biden then will deliver a speech to Defense Department personnel before touring the Pentagon‘s African Americans in Service Corridor.

The president’s Pentagon address comes a week after he delivered a major speech at the State Department. While presidents routinely speak to military leaders and often meet with them in the White House, Mr. Biden’s trip to the Pentagon signals that his administration is quickly trying to put its stamp on U.S. foreign policy and military affairs, and wants to rapidly overhaul some policies put in place by former President Donald Trump.

Just days after taking office, Mr. Biden issued an executive order to remove restrictions on transgender Americans joining the military, reversing a controversial Trump-era Pentagon policy. Last week, the president ordered a military-wide review of America’s troop presence abroad.

“At the direction of the president, the department will therefore conduct a global force posture review of U.S. military footprint, resources, strategy and missions,” Mr. Austin said in a statement last week. “It will inform my advice to the commander in chief about how we best allocate military forces in pursuit of national interests.”

Mr. Austin also has directed all officers and supervisors across the military to select one day over the next two months to conduct a “stand-down” to talk about extremism in the armed forces. The move coincides with a broader push by the Biden administration to confront extremist ideologies and to head off potential violence perpetrated by extremist groups.

Mr. Austin also has taken the dramatic and unprecedented step of essentially dissolving more than three dozen Pentagon advisory boards, such as the Defense Business Board and Defense Policy Board. The Trump administration in its final days appointed several key Trump allies to those panels, such as former political advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. 

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