The Pentagon's chief spokesman can't explain why it's been nearly a year since the last televised briefing

news

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:

SEE ALSO: Pentagon Spokeswoman Quits Following Misconduct Allegations

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon and spokesmen for the Iraqi Security Forces brief the media on the Liberation of Mosul in the Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2017. (DoD/U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Keion Jackson).

The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)

Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.

So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."

Read More Show Less

The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.

Read More Show Less

When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.

J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.

"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.

"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.

"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.

"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."

Read More Show Less