Senator Scott Brown, a member of the Army National Guard, will forgo a typical two-week block of summer training this year and instead serve the days individually next month at the Pentagon, a change that should prevent a long absence from the campaign trail while he seeks reelection.
The decision is a marked contrast to how the Massachusetts Republican fulfilled his commitment last year.
At that time, Brown requested to serve his annual duty in Afghanistan. The trip sparked photos of his fatigue-clad homecoming at Logan International Airport, a new afterword for his memoir, and a campaign ad this year about the lessons he learned overseas.
Brown is being challenged for reelection by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in one of the most expensive and hotly contested political races in the country this year.
The senator refused to answer questions about his summer training when the Globe asked him after an event in South Boston on July 13. Instead, Brown repeatedly said he would do his duty, just as he has through his 32-year Guard career.
His spokeswoman, Marcie Kinzel, said in an e-mail: “Senator Brown will be performing his drill at the Pentagon during the month of August.” She would not provide the individual dates, or explain the reason behind the change in his routine.
In another e-mail, she said: “As you know, the senator works with his commander on these arrangements.”
She referred questions to a National Guard spokesman. That spokesman then referred the questions back to Brown’s office, saying the specific reasons were protected by privacy laws that could only be waived by the senator.
In general, though, the military spokesman said Guardsmen can break up their summer training commitment more easily if they are not part of a unit that must drill together, such as an infantry team, or if their commanding officer prefers to have them serve sporadic days rather than a single block of time.
“If you’re working in the area, if you’re not going overseas, if you have no travel time, it’s really easy to spread it out over a couple weeks, depending on how you work it out with your commander,” said Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kohler of the Maryland National Guard. “It’s part of the nice part of our system, that flexibility.”
Another military spokesman, Major Jamie Davis of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Brown would be serving his duty in a piecemeal fashion, rather than a single block.
Brown, 52, joined the Massachusetts National Guard in December 1979. A lawyer by training, he serves as a judge advocate general, providing legal services to the military and its members. He has risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel, though he is in the final stages of promotion to colonel.
On Feb. 22, Brown transferred to the Maryland National Guard and an assignment in the Pentagon. He is the assistant to Colonel Christian Rofrano, the chief counsel of the National Guard Bureau.
As with all Guard members, Brown is required to work two full days a month, known as drill duty, and up to 15 days during the summer, known as annual training.
‘It’s really easy to spread it out over a couple weeks, depending on how you work it out. . . . It’s part of the nice part of our system, that flexibility.’
He now does his drilling and training at the Pentagon.
The annual training is typically done in June, July, or August, and Brown has done it the past two years in August, because that is when the Senate is in recess.
In his capacity as an elected official, Brown serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also is the top Republican on the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the National Guard system.Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.