Jan. 20, 2023
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
Old Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20504
Dear Secretary Austin and National Security Advisor Sullivan:
The Military Reporters & Editors Association joins the Pentagon Press Association’s recent call for the U.S. government to allow media coverage of Ukrainian troops training on how to operate a Patriot missile system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
For more than 10 years, successive presidential administrations have limited press access to U.S. service members and their allies. As a result, the American public has become far less aware of the work of U.S. troops at home and abroad in training and combat operations.
Since the start of Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine last year, administration officials have refused media requests to embed with U.S. troops deployed to Europe and denied media access to American military bases overseas.
Now that Ukrainian troops are on American soil, there are no operational security reasons to preclude journalists from covering U.S. service members teaching Ukrainian forces at Fort Sill on the Patriot air defense system.
A core tenet of the Defense Department’s Principles of Information is: “A free flow of general and military information shall be made available, without censorship or propaganda, to the men and women of the Armed Forces and their dependents.”
We are willing to work with you to resolve any issues you may have in order to allow journalists to inform the American people how their sons and daughters in uniform at Fort Sill are training Ukrainian forces to protect their country from Russian missile attacks.
The Military Reporters & Editors association board of directors:
Greg Mathieson, Sr.