Bloomberg nominated to defense advisory board on innovation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Wednesday nominated former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be the next chairman of a key advisory panel.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced he is recommending that Bloomberg head the Defense Innovation Board, which provides advice on new ideas and technology issues.

Soon after he took over as Pentagon chief, Austin completely revamped the department’s advisory boards, halting their activities and essentially purging their members, including a number who were appointed in the final days of the Trump administration.

The boards have been slowly restarting, with some new and some returning members. In nominating Bloomberg, the department noted the billionaire’s “wealth of experience” as an innovator in business.

Bloomberg founded the financial data and media company Bloomberg L.P. and launched Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in the last election, and then backed Joe Biden, including substantial financial support.

The board provides advice to senior defense leaders on how to accelerate innovation to meet national security threats.

Austin also agreed Wednesday to allow eight other boards to begin operating again, in addition to the innovation panel. They include the National Security Education Board, the National Security Agency Emerging Technologies Panel and the Advisory Board for the National Reconnaissance Office. He approved the restart of 27 other boards last year.