While a memo from Army Secretary Mark Esper released last week as part of the service’s ongoing campaign against bureaucratic time-sucks noted that commanders “are no longer required to conduct safety meetings,” commanders can still foist them on their soldiers if they deem it necessary, Army spokesman Lt. Col Christopher Ophardt told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
“There were so many requirements that we were putting commanders in a position of saying, ‘Do I try to do all of these, or do I blow some of these off and have an Army regulation hanging over my head,’” Ophardt said, noting that, within the Army, there's a distinction between “mandatory” and “required” briefs.
“We’re not saying ‘don’t do it anymore,’ just that it’s brigade and company commanders making the decision,” he said. “The safety brief may still happen.”
The end goal is to boost lethality and readiness. Ophardt gave the example of an Army unit ramping up for a deployment: Rather than force a busy commander to do something pointless or irrelevant, he can forgo a weekend safety brief and focus on training instead.
“It’s all about readiness,” Ophardt said. “The new system lets commanders make corrections on the fly, rather than the Pentagon telling someone in Alaska how to do something based on something that happened at Ft. Rucker.
So will the weekend safety brief ever actually die? Probably not.
“If a post has a rash of DUIs in the span of a few weeks, you can expect a safety brief,” Ophardt told Task & Purpose. “Soldiers have the opportunity to avoid them; don’t blow it.”
President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday with a letter saying he was "sorry to inform" her that her trip to Brussels, Belgium and Afghanistan would be canceled due to the government shutdown, just one day after Pelosi proposed cancelling the State of the Union address for similar reasons.
Marine Corps drill instructor R. Lee Ermey in his iconic role in 'Full Metal Jacket' (Warner Bros.)
Retired Marine Staff Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, the legendary Marine drill instructor turned iconic Full Metal Jacket actor who died last year, will be formally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, according to the cemetery's web site.