Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
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 group of vets are raising money to pay for a medal the Iraqi government awarded them, but never delivered
In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.
The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medals to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.
A small group of veterans hopes to change that.
For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.
The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.
A doctor who treated accident victims has a radioactive isotope in his body. Russia says it came from his diet
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian authorities said on Friday that a doctor who treated those injured in a mysterious accident this month had the radioactive isotope Caesium-137 in his body, but said it was probably put there by his diet.
The deadly accident at a military site in northern Russia took place on Aug. 8 and caused a brief spurt of radiation. Russian President Vladimir Putin later said it occurred during testing of what he called promising new weapons systems.
Groundwater at the Air Force Academy is contaminated with the same toxic chemicals polluting a southern El Paso County aquifer, expanding a problem that has cost tens of millions of dollars to address in the Pikes Peak region.
Plans are underway to begin testing drinking water wells south of the academy in the Woodmen Valley area after unsafe levels of the chemicals were found at four locations on base, the academy said Thursday.