Task & Purpose Kicks Off 2018 With Big Additions To Our Editorial Team

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Tom Ricks (left) and Jeff Schogol (right)
Courtesy photos

In 2014, we founded Task & Purpose on the belief that the military and veterans’ communities needed a publication that delivered news they care about, reported by people who have firsthand personal and professional experiences with conflict and its aftermath. This year, we’re reinforcing our commitment to community-driven investigative reporting, story-telling, and analysis of culture and current affairs by bringing on two seasoned journalists who embody our mission.


Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and bestselling author, will join Task & Purpose  as senior columnist, and Jeff Schogol comes aboard as senior Pentagon reporter. Additionally, James Clark, a general assignment reporter for T&P; since 2015, will shift his attention to policy as our dedicated veterans reporter based in Washington. These moves will help us expand our reporting on the people, policies, and politics that shape the lives of service members and veterans and their families.

On Jan. 16, we’ll launch The Long March With Tom Ricks, a daily column from Ricks and his contributors that will cover news and analysis of military policy, strategy, culture, and history. Ricks’ career as a military reporter has spanned four decades, including positions at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, working on Pulitzer-winning teams at both papers. He is the author of six books, including his recent bestseller, Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (May 2017). He also serves as a national security advisor for Washington think tank New America and a military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review. Ricks was previously a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, the home of his previous daily blog on military affairs, Best Defense.

In addition to Ricks’ role at Task & Purpose, as senior Pentagon reporter, Schogol will cover breaking news related to national defense and Department of Defense policy. A seasoned military journalist, Schogol comes to Task & Purpose from Marine Corps Times, where he reported on the Marines United nude-photo-sharing scandal, hazing at Parris Island, and crackdowns on toxic commanders. Throughout his 15-year career, Schogol has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti and worked at a variety of publications, including Air Force Times and Stars and Stripes. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Schogol will join Task & Purpose on Jan. 8.

In addition to adding new staff, Task & Purpose remains committed to being a platform for veterans, service members, and family members who have stories to tell. If you’d like to write for us, visit our Submissions page for details on sending us your ideas.

Seven of the twelve Soldiers participating in the Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors Level 2 course at Fort Indiantown Gap practice folding the flag April 25. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Zane Craig)

Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.

Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.

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For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.

"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.

In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.

"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."

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Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.

"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'

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Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.

Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.

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Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.

"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"

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