U.S. President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan along with other top miltiary and civilan leadership at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence)
The White House released the most painfully obvious statement about President Donald Trump visiting the Pentagon on Friday.
According to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, per the pool report, "Today at the Pentagon, the President received a briefing conducted by military officials and members of his national security team."
That's it. That's all we got.
What was he briefed on? Could you throw in a topic or two? And you're telling me military officials and his national security team were present at the Pentagon? No way.
This normally wouldn't be worth complaining about if there were press availability at this thing, where reporters could ask some questions and report on things that Americans may find of interest in the entire affair, but alas, it was closed to press. So as one Task & Purpose reporter noted in our internal chat, the "brain-numbingly obvious" statement made it clear that, "today, where defense things happen, discussions about defense did in fact take place."
Task & Purpose asked whether there was more to come from Gidley, and will update if there is any response. We're hoping to hear a little bit more detail, such as news that the president shook a colonel's hand, or that perhaps he at one point drank from the water fountain.
We can now add this non-statement statement from the White House to the transparency greatest hits album for taxpayer-funded press operations. Also in the archive is a transcript from a "Press Gaggle by Acting Secretary Shanahan" from earlier this week which featured Shanahan saying he had to get back, asking a reporter how they were doing, and then saying pretty much nothing after that.
This of course follows the last official Pentagon press briefing from the podium, which was given by actor Gerard Butler. I wish I were making that up. And for those keeping score, the last time the top Pentagon spokesperson — you know, the person whose job it is to explain to the American people what the Defense Department is doing on a daily basis — has given a briefing on camera was almost a year ago.
President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia. (Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
The U.S. military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government says about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.
The investigation, conducted by Amnesty International, found that US airstrikes from both drones and manned aircraft killed at least 14 civilians and injured seven more people in just five of more than 100 strikes in the past two years.
"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty report said.
A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)
The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.
"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.