Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
How to find a special connection with the Pentagon while staying in the friendship zone
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Pentagon – probably near the Fighter Pilot Bar – there is likely a black-and-white picture of the building being dedicated in January 1943 that includes your friend and humble narrator in the background being scowled at by Army Col. Leslie Groves.
Even though your spry correspondent was technically born decades later, if you work at the Pentagon long enough, you develop a special relationship with the building, much like Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining."
Thus, yours truly has always been here. In the 23rd Century – about the time that most of the problems on the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford are slated to be fixed – this reporter will still be at the Pentagon, asking some future defense official why the U.S. military has spent $100 trillion on a project to warp time and space into the shape of an intergalactic penis. (Because of China and Russia, of course.)
To cover the Pentagon, one must make it the center of one's universe. The building must become your wife, your mother, your lover, and your child. Because if you do not come to the Pentagon every single day, you don't exist in the eyes of those who work here.
The only way to know what is actually happening in the Pentagon on any given day is to come here and talk to people in person. Information is a precious commodity, and it is doled out sparingly. Most of your friendly correspondent's days are filled with conversations that go along the lines of: Did you hear about this? No, but did you hear about this?
You've read about some of the folks whom this reporter consults on a daily basis to avoid missing news: One-Eyed Jack, Hawk, Nancy Drew, and Sharp Dressed Man. (On a side note: Your humble narrator asked his first editor in D.C. if he could follow in the Washington Post's tradition and use porn names like "Johnny Wadd" as pseudonyms for sources. Miraculously, I was not fired on the spot.)
Your friendly correspondent may not be the best reporter covering the Pentagon, or the smartest, or the best looking, or even decent looking, or the best groomed, or the best smelling – the list goes on – but I certainly come to the building a lot. On days when the government is closed, this reporter still works out of the nearly vacant Pentagon just in case there is an unscheduled briefing. (It hasn't happened yet, but who knows. Also, unicorns could be real.)
When this reporter spent a day-and-half away from the Pentagon recently, returning to the building felt like trying to pass a land navigation test without a compass. During those 36 hours, your friendly correspondent was cut off from the Pentagon information mill – which operates much like the Lance Corporal Network.
One option your humble narrator considered to avoid being out of the loop again was moving into the Pentagon itself. The building has a CVS pharmacy for cholesterol and blood pressure medications and a Subway that is open 24 hours a day, so what else does a middle-aged reporter really need in life?
But a Pentagon insider convinced this reporter not to do so. To protect this person's identify, we shall refer to him as "Hulk Hogan" hereafter.
"While it seems like folks at the Pentagon spend their entire lives here, I do not recommend actually spending your life here," Hulk Hogan told your intrepid correspondent. "The Pentagon is an office building and is not meant for residential living. If you are interested in sleeping in a DOD-run facility, I can put you in touch with a military recruiter who can set you up very nicely."
"Typically, people are fighting to leave the Pentagon. I can't see why anyone would want to actually live here," the Hulkster added.
So for the foreseeable future, yours truly and the Pentagon will enjoy a special bond – but we're just friends.
WATCH NEXT: Jeff Starts A Twitter Beef With The Taliban
Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 13 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.
A sprawling new survey says a ‘culture of resilience’ helped US military families weather garbage housing for years
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Robots in the air, on the ocean surface and on the ground guarded British Royal Marines as they stormed a beach during an important April 2019 war game.
The ground robot, in particular, is a new capability for the Royal Marines. The gun- and rocket-armed, tank-like unmanned ground vehicle could boost the naval branch's firepower while helping to keep human beings out of harm's way.
Alpha Company of the Royal Marines' 40 Commando and their robot guardians stormed a beach in Cornwall in southwest England as part of Exercise Commando Warrior. The Royal Marines' 1 Assault Group supported the naval infantry.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department unveiled 17 new criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday, saying he unlawfully published the names of classified sources and conspired with and assisted ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in obtaining access to classified information.
The superseding indictment comes a little more than a month after the Justice Department unsealed a narrower criminal case against Assange.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — Three members of the defense team for Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher were revealed on Wednesday to have close ties to the Trump administration amid reports the president is considering the veteran Navy SEAL for a pardon on Memorial Day.
President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Marc Mukasey, 51, and longtime Trump associate Bernard Kerik, 63, a former New York City police commissioner, have joined Gallagher's defense team in recent months, both men told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in response to a question from a reporter after a motions hearing, lead defense attorney Tim Parlatore confirmed that he had previously represented Pete Hegseth, the conservative Fox News personality who has been privately lobbying Trump since January to pardon Gallagher, according to The Daily Beast.