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The Pentagon's chief spokesman can't explain why it's been nearly a year since the last televised briefing
The Pentagon used to be known as the building that speaks, but it has been more than 300 days since an official Defense Department spokesman has conducted a televised briefing. (Gerard Butler doesn't count.)
One day in the future, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will talk to reporters on camera from the podium of the Pentagon's briefing room, Defense Department spokesman Charles Summers Jr. vowed on Thursday.
However, Summers was unable to say when or how such a herculean feat might take place.
"You absolutely can expect him [Shanahan] to come into the briefing room and brief on camera, and when that happens I'd be happy to make you aware so that you're here," Summers told Task & Purpose at an off-camera press briefing.
Former Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White last spoke on camera about what the U.S. military was doing on May 31. Then former Defense Secretary James Mattis held his last televised briefing in the Pentagon on Aug 28.
Although defense officials have spoken to the media on camera since then, none has held a televised press conference in the Pentagon briefing room, as had been standard custom prior to the President Donald Trump administration.
Summers insisted the Pentagon has not made any policy changes that require press conferences to be held off-camera – and out of sight of President Trump – yet he was unable to explain on Thursday why it has been so long since White's last televised briefing.
"I can't tell you why it's been so long but I know that we will go on camera and when we are ready to do that I will let you know," he said.
When pressed by CNN's Barbara Starr about why the Pentagon has been unable in the past 300 days to have any defense officials take reporters' questions at a televised press conference, Summers reiterated his mantra that the building will speak again – don't know where, don't know when.
"We continue to get information out to you all and we will brief on camera and when that is about to occur, I'd be happy to let you know," Summers said.
Listen to Charles Summers' full answers here:
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.