The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.

"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."

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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is urging senators to vote against Patrick Shanahan's nomination as defense secretary, claiming Shanahan has mishandled an investigation into a 2017 ambush in Niger that left four U.S. soldiers dead.

"He should be worried about what lessons we could have learned from this Niger ambush and also who were the general officers that were responsible for making these big mistakes that cost these men's lives," Gallego told Task & Purpose on Thursday. "We as a public have a right to know that and he is part of the problem and not the solution."

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AP Photo/Fernando Llano.

It may be too soon for your friend and humble Pentagon correspondent to submit an embed request for Operation Venezuela Libre, but the Pentagon is certainly thinking about what's going on south of the border.

On April 30, it appeared as though Venezuela's dictator Nicolas Maduro was about to fall when opposition leader Juan Guaidó appealed to Venezuelan armed forces to join him.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Maduro the next day that "military action" in Venezuela is possible — but when all was said and done, more was said and done.

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Top U.S. and Japanese defense officials are downplaying the possibility that the Chinese military could recover the wreckage of a Japanese F-35A that crashed on April 9 in the Pacific Ocean.

The Joint Strike Fighter disappeared from radar about 85 miles east of Honshu, Japan's main island. Although ships and aircraft have spotted some debris in the area where the plane is believed to have crashed, both the wreckage and pilot remain missing.

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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)

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.

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Once again, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has vowed that a new review he has ordered into the deaths of four soldiers in Niger two years ago will be completed quickly, but he did not give any kind of timeline for how long it will take.

"To the families: I'm not trying to delay a report," Shanahan said when Task & Purpose asked about the review. "When I undertook the role, I wanted time to review the investigation, and really this is just an expedited way for me to make sure I have enough time to understand the reports and the details, so I expect this to go very, very quickly."

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