The White House and Pentagon can't seem to figure out if hero dog Conan is a boy or a girl


VIDEO: President Donald Trump honors Conan the military working dog

Just as the narrative surrounding the firing of former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer changes by the hour, the White House and the Pentagon cannot seem to agree on whether Conan, the hero military working dog from the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu al-Baghdadi, is male or female.

The confusion began in late October, when President Donald Trump tweeted a picture of Conan and the Pentagon refused to confirm the dog's gender. Amateur photo analysis led to speculation that Conan was female, but the head of Central Command appeared to establish Conan's manhood during an Oct. 30 briefing.

"He was injured by exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after Baghdadi detonated his vest beneath the compound," Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. said. "I will also note he has been returned to duty."

However, some of Conan's supporters held out hope that the dog would turn out to be a momma dog. Those dreams appeared to come to fruition on Monday when a reporter covering a White House event with Conan wrote that an administration official confirmed Conan is the embodiment of girl power.

"Your pooler retracts the earlier comment that Conan was a very good boy," Hunter Walker of Yahoo! News wrote in a White House pool report about the ceremony with Conan, Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence. "Conan is apparently a very good girl. Good girl Conan."

Conan(DoD photo)

An administration subsequently informed Task & Purpose that, yes, Conan was in fact a very good girl. Yet roughly 90 minutes later, Walker wrote a new pool report that Conan is a good boy after all.

"A White House official informed your pooler that Conan the dog is a male," Walker wrote. "Multiple officials had previously said Conan was female. "Your pooler retracts prior statements calling Conan a 'good boy' and a 'good girl.' Conan is a good dog."

That appeared to end the matter, until ABC News tweeted on Tuesday that Conan is – wait for it – really a girl despite what administration officials had claimed. This revelation came from an unnamed Defense Department official.

But Ken McGraw, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command, assured Task & Purpose that the military had quadruple checked to make sure Conan has a penis. Minutes later, ABC News promptly tweeted that Conan is a guy.

Given the Pentagon's access to spy satellites and reconnaissance aircraft – and its penchant for drawing penises in the sky — it is difficult to imagine why it has proven so hard for the military to locate a dog's junk.

As of Tuesday, there were no questions about whether Conan is really a dog or a space alien.

Soldiers from the 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in Southern Afghanistan, June 10th, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent)

Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)

Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.

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Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018

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The Navy and Marine Corps need to be a bit more short-sighted when assessing how many ships they need, the acting Navy secretary said this week.

The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.

"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.

The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.

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When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.

Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.

"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."

That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.

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