Defense Secretary Mark Esper doesn’t listen to music during PT because he finds it ‘distracting’

Mandatory Fun
The David Petraeus Workout Playlist

Love it or hate it, all service members have to take part in a time-honored military ritual of group masochism known as "PT."

Since music, as Shakespeare so aptly put it, is the "food of love," we at Task & Purpose are dedicated to asking important people what's on their PT play list. (So far, none has said AC/DC, yet the rock group seems to have become a staple of the dreaded brigade run.)


We've asked retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, Democratic presidential candidate and Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, and on Friday we posed the question to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who had spent the morning's pre-dawn hours working out with airmen at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

At first, Esper was slightly skeptical that readers would be interested in what's on his iPod.

"Are you serious?" he asked.

Of course we are.

It turns out that Esper, an exercise enthusiast, leaves the tunes behind during his PT sessions. He turns on his mind stereo instead.

"Actually, I don't like to listen to anything," Esper said during a media event. "I like to be inside my head thinking about work – I mean, trying to work through problems. And that's kind of my focus. So I, actually, anyways, find music a little bit distracting."

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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