Jonathan Rath Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, July 21, 2020.
All right. Good afternoon, Friends Date. Blood heavy back in the building. Eso Thank you for joining us here today. I want to begin today By taking a moment to acknowledge the passing of an American icon and hero of the civil rights movement Congressman John Lewis. Widely regarded as the conscience of Congress, Lewis marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr for equal rights. Under the law, he will be sorely missed by a grateful nation and a grateful department that strives to be a model for the values of diversity and inclusion that he fought for. His work remains an inspiration in part of the foundation on our collective fight for racial justice and equality. But also, I take a moment to thank Rob Hood, assistant secretary for alleged affairs, for his services. That apartment Rob’s expertise and leadership has been instrument on the department’s engagement with Congress, particularly in the efforts to confirm a number of senior leaders in the department since he came here almost three years ago. I don’t have any further updates on on the time honored that, but Robbo are the who will be filling in for Rob, but Rob’s last State Department will be on Friday. I want to thank the U. S Senate for confirming General Hokanson today as the chief of the National Guard Bureau. That transfer will take place in the coming weeks, but we appreciate them taking action on that incredibly important position, given the number that tens of thousands of U. S. National Guardsmen who are deployed around the country either dealing with cove it or civil unrest. Okay, I also want to give an update regarding diversity inclusion at the department. Last week, the Defense Board on Diversity Inclusion held its first meeting. In addition, Secretary release is quick Wins memo on immediate action items to promote diversity inclusion in the ranks. These include obtaining and analysing data on prejudice and bias within the force, developing educational requirements for the military to educate the force on unconscious bias, reviewing effectiveness of military service, equal opportunity offices and much more. The memo in the full details are available in the defense stock over website. We look forward to the continued engaged on this issue on the feedback we received from across the forces we saw from the Secretary’s Town Hall last week, moving on to Cove in 19 duty personal continue to be engaged in covert response operation, particularly California, Texas were approximately seven or 40 department offense. Medical support professionals are providing assistance. We’re currently touch with FEMA, whose identifying mission assignments from a dish from these states any additional protecting our personnel continues to be a top priority for the department during the pandemic. As we continue to fly, sail and operate all around the globe this morning, Secretary s participate in the international in super strategic Studies, virtual dialogue with hundreds of policy experts and international journalist on the Indo Pacific strategy and issues in the South China Sea. In addition, Secretary noted that he plans to travel to China later this year. Will have update for that for you in the coming months as we firm this plans up. The full video of this engagement about secretary is available online on social media This week, Major General Kenneth Eckman, deputy commander for Combined Joint Task Force Oi are is scheduled to hold a press briefing on joint and coalition operations in the fight against the Islamic State Group in Iraq and Syria. We expect that briefing to take place tomorrow tomorrow, Secretary Astral Travel the Whiteman Air Force Base, where he will receive a briefing on how the crews of our most visible strategic defense assets, the B two bomber, are staying safe and ready during the Cove in 19 Outbreak. He will meet with chairman to discuss diversity. Inclusion the ranks as he’s done installations around the world in the last month. Finally, I want to take a moment to remember the lives of three service members who tragically lost this month. First attendant Joseph Trend Allbaugh, 24 from Folsom, California Private first class. Alexander Blake, Class 20 from Will Amina, Oregon. His specialist, Vincent Sebastian of Aria, 21 from San Antonio, Texas. We’re forever indebted to these brave young men and their families. We cannot forget the sacrifices and commitment they made to our country At the same time, I also wanna issue the department’s sincere condolences to the family of specialist Vanessa G. And onto our entire community, military community and friends and family that support. So with that, I will open it up to questions. I’m gonna go first to the phone. I think Bob is on today. Yes. Uh huh. Thank you, Jonathan. They’ve been a number of questions that have come up in recent weeks about US force presence abroad Europe as well. South Korea Question 40 A couple questions on the South Korea part of this You do answer directly whether Secretary Esper has provided to the White House options for reducing U. S troops in South Korea and could do in a similar bank. Do, uh, explain what he meant this morning when he was asked about this, he said that he I would like to make more use of rotational model. Uh, how would that apply in South Korea? So I’ll just start with the big picture with regard our forces. So overall, with the global force posture, we have been taking a look at our lay down in Europe. Centcom, Indo pay come Africa around the globe and how our forces are put put in place because some have legacy missions on legacy, a efforts that they’ve been doing for many, many years, decades, even and so there’s been an effort to look and see whether we’re properly supporting the missions that we’ve been given by Congress and the president. And so what we’re what we’re doing is we’re reviewing that I think the secretary’s comments on Korea were pretty clear that we’re continued. That’s a continuous process, that we’re gonna do that. We’ll do that within in conjunction with our allies on. We’ll have recommendations that we may make in the future. I think as we’ve seen with Europe, we made an announcement a couple weeks ago that the secretary had made a recommendation to the president. We hope toe be updating you guys on that process in the coming days on. And then as you guys all know, that we’ve been doing the blank slate reviews with regard. Teoh Africam is the the 1st 1 and then some others, and we expect to have the the readouts of what those have concluded with regard toe rotational forces. The secretary’s goal is to remove some of the footprint of having forces for deployed that allow us to bring them back, work on readiness issues and be flexible and put us in mawr locations. The hope is on, and we can see this in Europe as well as in the Pacific. It allows us toe train in additional locations train with additional ally country. So instead of being in one country, all the time doing much of our work there were able to rotate through and instead of having ah, facilities or expertise in one area, were ableto build that expertise up in that practice in a number of different areas on and also gives us flexibility makes us a little bit more unpredictable weather, rotational or dynamic force employment on. So I think that those were kind of two of the goals the secretary has been looking at. Um, and I think those what he was was leaning into in his comments this morning. All right, we’ll go to the next one actually got here in the building. Is the Pentagon concerned about the light spread perception that those federal agents in Portland there, in fact, U S military and has been a gun asked DHS to do anything two more clearly? Martin, their agents has something other than soldiers. So we’ve saw this take place back in June when there were some law enforcement that where uniforms that make them appear military and appearance. The secretary has ah has expressed ah concern of this, um within the administration that we want a system where people can tell the difference. I’m not aware of any direct conversations with with DHS on this particular deployment or their particular operations in Portland over the last week or so. But I can say that unequivocally there no Department of Defense assets that have been deployed to our pending deployment to or we’re looking to deploy Teoh Portland at this time. You know, if he’s satisfied that the agents of Borland are, uh, identified as clearly. I have not talked to him about that. I can follow up with, um, but I have not had a conversation with him. But I think he’s satisfied the fact that unequivocally we tell the American people that the U. S military has not been deployed the Portland, Oregon, in any manner at this point. All right, Jonathan, the president says he’s going to veto the Indy A. If the language, including the naming of the base is named after Confederate generals is included in that. Is that a good idea? What impact will it have on on this building on the defense budget if it’s delayed over this issue? And where does the secretary stand on the Confederate base issue? So on the nd a, the the issue is now clearly within the legislative room. I think both the House and the Senate have included language regarding that. The president made his position incredibly clear on this on DSO. From the department’s perspective, we’re confident that the administration and Congress will reach an agreement. They understand the importance of the Indy A. We’re confident that there will be an agreement and that the India will be signed Ah, and implemented on time so that we can have ah budget for forces just follow up on Afghanistan album Can you share with us any new information on this issue of so called Russian bounties? Are you still investigating whether those Marines were killed as a result of Russian Valenti’s? Where can you rule that out at this point? So thanks for the question. I think over the last few weeks we’ve had a number of our senior leaders talk about this. I think the chairman and secretary both were asked about this last week during the hearing, and I know General Mackenzie spoke about this earlier last week in an interview with ABC on, and I don’t think I can add a terribly much toe what they cover. I think the important things to remember with this is that everybody that on our side has talked about this has been the, uh the claim that there was a quote unquote bounty program has been uncorroborated on the evidence that the department offensive scene on that Secondly, that in General Mackenzie is the expert on this is that when he was briefed on this early on, he and General Miller looked at it. They did not find that there was a closet of length there. I’m reading from his quote. I found it very worrisome. I just didn’t find that there was a causative link there. But at the same time, General Mackenzie says that took measures because we have a very high force protection standard now and that force protection Sanders going to continue into the future. General Milley reiterated the efforts that the commanders on the ground and put in place to protect our forces on DSO. I think the American people should have confidence that despite the inability to corroborate some of the allegations with regard to this, that the commanders on the ground have taken every measure they think is necessary to protect our forces. The Marines. Yeah. So we would expect that. Like I said, we have not found any corroborating evidence that would indicate that there was a bounty program on. Therefore, we do not have any property numbers that indicate that there were any victims of alleged bounty program. Um, so I believe that that we’ve We’ve spoken about this before, That we’re going to continue Teoh, examine any information that comes in on this. We’ll keep at it as we always do, because it’s important to ensure that we have the best information available with regard to our force protection. It’s also something that we have an obligation toe the families of our service members in the service members themselves to hold to account those responsible for their deaths. All right, let me go back to the phones for a couple questions here. Um, so we’ll go toe Tony Cappuccio, Lumber. Hi, John. Can you hear me? Yes, Tony. Go ahead. Press briefings. All right. We’ll goto Sylvie if he Hello. Hello. Um yes. You know, I would like to go back to our them, um, the announcement by the secretary about a trip to China. I wanted to know if it’s something that agreed to with the Chinese camped about. Oh, if it’s something that he wants to agree toe with Chinese can’t countertop. And so I wanted to know if this is what is the objective is to defuse. Tensions are easy to run. Ah, China even more so. I’m not gonna characterize where we are in the negotiation process. This I know that this is something that has been talked about at the staff level. I’m not aware as to whether the secretary has directly, uh, spoken with his counterpart on this issue, but it’s something that we’ve been been looking at Ah, and anticipating doing at some point this year looking at the calendar on where we could make that happen in terms of what the deliver Bles are from that trip, our policy team and Dave Lbr are acting assistant secretary for its is gonna be working on this, but part of its gonna be we seek to maintain mil to mil relationships with with China and Russia alike. We believe that’s incredibly important to avoid misunderstandings in the future s. So that’s something that we work through Ah, with with a number of different countries that are that are not necessarily allies or partners and so that will be a piece of it on part of will be talking about some of the some of the issues. Obviously there are concerns expressed by the United States with the Chinese activities in the South China Sea on the United States has made it very clear that we’re going to continue to fly, sail and operate wherever national law allows on. What we’re gonna do is talk to the Chinese was Secretary Pompeo and his team have been doing around the world about how there is an international war rules based order and that that is ah, that is the system that has led to prosperity, prosperity for millions and billions of people in the world over the last 75 years that has grown out of World War Two and has been helped in part by U S leadership and that rules based international order has benefited China potentially more than most any other country in the world in terms of its economic growth over the last 75 years. And then we believe that China and the Chinese people are best served by embracing that that that order as instead of attempting to replace it with a with a different set of rules. All right, we’ll keep going on that. So we’ll go to Ah, Courtney. Hi. Uh, I want to go back to something. One of Jennifer questions that didn’t get it asked or get answered. And that’s about the secretary. Support the language in the nd a that mandates renaming the military bases. And then on the announcement on the Confederate flag last week, I think there was a lot of of. There are a lot of questions after the memo came out because it specifically lays out flags that are allowed, but it doesn’t play out once that are not specifically so. Questions about a 13 flag, the pride flag. So are you going to be offering Will d o d. B providing any additional guidance on on non political glad that can or cannot be displayed publicly on basis? Well, that we left it for the services. So I take the 1st 1 and I’m gonna reiterate that the view of the department is that, uh, the issue on base names is clearly within the legislative realm is they’ve they’re continuing to debate those bills on the hill today and and this week and next week on. But we have confidence that at the end of the day, the president Congress will reach an agreement that will will have the nd a be signed on time on fully fund the department with regard Teoh the Confederate flag members just a couple things Just remember from that member like the intention of the memo is Teoh layout Ah, policy that is designed to unite everyone in the department under that one flag of the United States flying. And this represents all of us in the department of all creeds, religions, ethnicities, races and sexual orientation of the American people. Second, the policies intended to be a political. It isn’t partisan in any way, and it isn’t involved in supporting or opposing any political philosophy. Instead, it is intended to ah, unify the d o. D behind our common mission and oath to defend the American people represented by that flag. It’s perspective, so it’s not just looking at things that in place now, but things that could come in place, or flags or symbols that could evolve in the future and the attention is that it’s enduring so that it could withstand legal scrutiny in a way that that will allow us to have, ah, policy unifying policy in place. That’s not gonna be picked apart down the road. So to your point about what is including what is not. The memo clearly outlines a list of approved flags. Service members of civilian employees can display a Dio do defense facilities. And so that’s the American flag, the flag of the states and territories, military service flags, general officer flags. A number of other ones appear W M. I A. Ceremonial flags of allies and partners. So it’s generally flies that have a military nexus that could be displayed. Uh, meet those four parameters that Secretary laid out about unifying a political perspective, enduring So with regard to implementation of this number of the services of already on. I believe all the service have actually already issued Gen admin how they’re going to implement this. There will be a period for implementation this that people have additional questions on on on how it’s gonna be implemented. Obviously, the first step is gonna be their chain of command and then working with the Jags and through the services. But they will take the lead and putting this in place and provide additional guidance if necessary. All right, we’ll go to Ah Lloris Sullivan. I don’t know if you heard me, but just to be clear, the teen 14 flags are no longer allowed to be displayed. Prince incident in an office or in a in any kind of public way on your car on base memo clearly outlines a list of approved flags. Service members and civilian employees are authorized displaying the department defense and so I could could go through for you again. But it’s going to be those flags that have ah generally have a military nexus that are on that list. Um, socially, that leave it there. So go back to Laura trial Oregon. Hey, Politico, um, I wanted to just go back to the issue of, um ah, federal law in person troops in places like Portland. I’m just wondering if the president has asked the Secretary suspend active duty military or National Guard troops, um, to enhance the presence of federal law enforcement in these cases. Conversation about that. Okay. In the room. Brian. Actually, that was my question was gonna be about the whether you included National Guard when you were talking about there had been no Department of Defense assets. But you would include that. Doesn’t that doesn’t include National Guard, that there’s been no discussion about sending my National Guard on if the national was activated on behalf of the governor? I’m not necessarily. I’m not a part of those conversations that the governor may be having with his own forces in the state. I was referring to whether lowers question about whether the president had directed or had any conversations about that. Just a follow up on David’s question. I mean, clear. Clearly. You’ve seen the photographs of these long personal from DHS. They’re wearing the operational camouflage pattern. I mean, it’s there’s no, I mean, is this something you say? Hasn’t spoken to that yet? I mean, is it did you dizzy plan the secretary plan to address this, um, or issue a statement about this city concerned? Is it so? It is part of the after action review for what took place. First week last week of ah, May 1st week of June, Um, the Department of the Army and on the other entities. Doing the review is to look at some of the concerns we have and one of the ones I know the secretary did raise on that he wanted to have looked at was Thea identification and, uh, how, how visible and people’s ability to understand who is who I know. He has expressed his concern that in some cases, law enforcement, appropriately performing law enforcement duties were misconstrued with military personnel who who would not be appropriately doing those roles. And so he has raised that. I don’t know where that is in the review, but I can I can get back to you on that last with the secretary. Like to see law enforcement personnel, not where the same camouflage pattern uniforms military person. So I think that it’s gonna be part of the question of the review. I think that’ll be something. We’ll talk Teoh, um, Teoh, the those who are doing the review, and then maybe you have a conversation with the attorney general and his team and and Secretary Wolf it DHS. But I don’t have a timeline on that. I don’t have any guidelines from the secretary on what that would look like, but he has expressed on interest in the topic. Okay. Um, all right. Carla. Carla Bob, thank you so much for doing this. Um, before I ask my question that I’m a little confused about your exchange with Courtney TV about the flag. So our sports teams flag not allowed on basis because they’re not military related, And then I’ll ask my questions. Well, I’m glad you asked this question. So I will give you the list of flags that are allowed the American flag, the flags of U S states and territories and additional coming. I’m happy to read through the states. I have a list here. Mississippi does not have a flied right now, so they’re not included in that. But I have the other three other state flags. The military service flight supplies of general officers, presidentially appointed Senate confirmed civilian flags, SCS flags, military department specific SCS fights the POW am I flag, which is authorised by statute. Flags of other countries forced The U. S. Is now I’m partner or for official protocol reasons. Flags of organizations of which the U. S. Is a member. I eat NATO ceremonial command unit, branch flags or guide on So that is the list of flags that are allowed. That memo is on our website encourager. They take a look at it. It’s it’s intended to be pretty clear with regard to that. But, um, you said you had a second question. So on the situation with Iraq, the US Iraq dialogue was just having a few days, and it’s coming abundantly clear that that’s not going to happen this month. Can you confirm? I noticed the State Department lead, but this very heavily supported by D o d as well is that pushed to August now? And do we have a date? And will that be in D. C? So I don’t have I don’t have an update I can share with you today, but I just just note that General Ah, Major General Beckman will be briefing tomorrow on may be a more appropriate person. But as you mentioned that, this generally a State Department issue, so I would direct you to them as well. All right, Nancy. Yourself. Thanks. Um, I had a question about the Indy A. You know, it includes bipartisan measures that was with the administration from drawing down U S. Forces in Germany and Europe, or completely withdrawing from Afghanistan without first according to Congress, and sort of find that it won’t hurt us or allies security. The legislation also bars logistical support of the Saudi led coalition for strikes in Yemen and denies funding for any nuclear testing in 2021 I have to question one. Are there anything in the Indy A. The House version that you consider problematic for the military or deal breakers for the administration? And does the passage of this bill, which again is bipartisan, show that there’s little support on either side of the aisle for the kinds of troop withdraw down that the administration is discussed? Um, critically by this department? Can you Can you repeat that second part of the question there? Sure, I’d like to understand from your perspective, does the bill’s passage and getting with bipartisan court so that there is little support on either side of the aisle for the kind of troop reductions that the administration and secretary effort and particular have have floated as possibilities. If you spoke earlier about rotating forces, for example, so so with regard to the provisions in the bill, I’m not gonna mention specific provisions. Right now I know that there is Ah, um uh, work on ah, potential statement of administration position, which would lay out concerns. I know that Robin Hood and the team here on the White House team have been having conversations with members and with the committee’s on languages and provisions that we have concerns with. I’m not gonna not negotiate the bill here from the podium today. That’s not my role. So I’ll leave that Teoh those statements or those documents when they come out. I will say, I think with regard to the provisioning and the the movement or redeployment or right sizing of our footprints around the globe is something that is important to the department. It’s important to the country. Yeah, we have a universal support on the hill for the NDS, the national defense strategy, which makes it very clear that we have to have a pivot toward China and Russia. So we hear often from members on the hill and from staff that their support for it was a bipartisan plan. And and so you have members who voice support for that. Um, but if we’re going to support that, we’ve got. We’ve got to take some action, and some of that action involved moving forces from places where they are. We understand that it’s ah, it’s an issue where it takes time. And that’s why one of the big commitments that secretary has had throughout his time here and why I know some people are frustrated that we haven’t shared more information about the potential plans in Germany. But Secretary’s got a commitment to brief the Hill have kind of conversations and consultations with members of Congress about what that looks like on and to get their buying. And so I think with our our respect on some of these these rotations is there may be some potential skepticism a start, But we’re committed. And, ah, and working to, uh, ally any concerns that members have to make our case for, why this would put the U. S. Military in a better position to respond to future threats on why this is the right move for the country at this time. And so we’ll continue to have those conversations with the with the hill, and we’ll have the patina of this conversation with our allies and partners as well. All right, Um, so we’ll come back here to the room on the real literal Kenshin or read improvement of U. S. Military. Does there means that the reductions are yes, F k South Korea. Eso, as I mentioned before, were undergoing a global force posture review. Uh, and and looking at what our footprint needs to be in the future at I don’t wanna add anything more than that to the Secretary’s comments from this morning at the I S s summit, where he was asked the same question on I think he he answered appropriately. United States and South Korea joint military exercise resume in next month. I was no Marie, so we haven’t We haven’t stopped exercising and stopped operator training with with the Koreans with the Republic of Korea throughout the covert effort, we’ve modified some of some of those efforts to reflect the need for restriction of movements or the footprints that we can have involved. But we haven’t stopped, so we’re gonna continue toe train. We continue to exercise. Those may change. We may have additional plans and initial announcements, but I don’t have any to make today You start. Pantic assets have recently gathering in the so it’s could hear they throw over Thio was Korea are and aircrafts coming. What is the reason for the most s its content? Can you repeat that? Yes, 32 Guess it’s come to so scudi it. What is the reason? Well, I’m not gonna talk about where are strategic assets are. But I think you will see we often do a dynamic force employment around the globe to remain unpredictable for adversaries and also toe to build up the capability in the practice and having assets and having our forces practice in different areas of the world if needed. That’s first for cuts. That’s four questions. Has four questions ago us right now is either just wrapping up. We’re in the midst of operations with Australia, India, uh, Japan. I think it you’re giving you any plans for similar kind of training with Vietnam since they’re now being sort of pulled into this. This sort of, you know, our interest is the countering China. So I’m not aware of any any exercises that I think is everyone’s aware. We had Thea USS Roosevelt visit Vietnam this year, along with the with the boxer, Um and so that was a important visit on building that relationship. The secretary was actually met with the Vietnamese men deaf when we were in a CNN last year on that conference. Supposed to take place things. Your match visited Vietnam last year. Way have lots of conversations. It is important partnership. We hear from a number of countries in that region that are interested in additional exercise that they all have faced the same concern. And that is unconstrained China operating in the South China Sea on and taking extreme and excessive maritime claims. And so whether it’s the Philippines to Viet, Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries in that area, we’ve had interest from others and participated in fine office particularly, and we encourage them to do so. We encourage them toe toe, participate This Last year, the secretary mentioned 2019. We had mawr fine up operations than we’ve had at any point in the last 40 years on. We have partners and allies participated in those every year, and we would like to see more of that. All right, I will go go back to the phone address. Uh, hi. Quick question about the memo Secretary s percent about all media engagements needing to be coordinated through d. O. D. Um Secret has repeatedly talked about transparency. Some of the confused, If he does believe so, why release the memo? That sort of sounds Pentagon and the transparency it’s been going on. So I think there’s a couple a couple things having got completed in the coverage of the memo that the secretary release. So one was a memo on on coordination of media activities and coordination engagement activities that separate from the OPSEC issue. So assume any of, you know, within the Office of Public Affairs. Over the last couple years, we built out a strategic plans and assessment team that is kind of a strategic calms group on. The intention was that that would help within the building within the department ensure that whether we’re doing announcements or rollouts or or ah, big events that we were well coordinated as a department, we’ve got three million people. We’ve got 5000 public affairs officials throughout the billions. It was an opportunity to try to say, How can we better share a message? Just an example. You know, when we have an announcement about Afghanistan, um, about the peace plan that involves that involves the commander on the ground, Afghanistan that involves Centcom, that involves our policy teams here that involves the Office of the Secretary that may involve other people in the building. And so it’s important to know what everybody is doing. Um, we’ve been pushing for that that group to have a little bit more visibility and to be used more regularly. But during Cove it it actually was used very, very broadly because covert effective, the entire department didn’t matter where you were geographically, didn’t matter what you were working on. The Covad messaging piece was something that everybody was doing with from day to day. And so I think what the secretary saw you know through March and April was that we were relatively well coordinated on our messaging because it was important to make sure we had the right numbers out every day. It was important to make sure that we were the right policies that were being implemented. Everyone understood what was going on because it affected every member of the of the department and changed on a regular basis. And because of that, I think secretary saw the value in that that group being able to coordinate messaging. So if you actually see the memo, it’s not restricting anything. For the most part of it’s not restricting at ST please coordinate. And so what it is is for the generally for the services the combatant commands and for the undersecretaries within the department to coordinate with public affairs on major announcements and policies. So that’s that’s the intent of that memo. I think that’s been misconstrued somewhat. But I can see how that that took place, given the fact that the other memos came out at about the same time dealing with the operational security issues. So, um, separately talking about the operational security memos, the secretary is concerned and rightfully so with illegal and inappropriate lease of a variety of nonpublic information without proper authorization. And so while it is a crime to release classified information without proper position is important to remember, it is also inappropriate a violation of duty employment requirements as well as potential laws, Eos, regulations and government policies to release unclassified information without proper clearance. And so the focus on that was Teoh Oneto reassure people in the building that they have a requirement Teoh to safeguard classified information. I mean, you guys see these memos on a regular basis just to re up and reinstitute the commitment of senior leaders Toe Opsec and Teoh ensure that there is a process for the authorized release of information. Eso to make sure that information that has been vetted is cleared with the legal team Could with policy teams contains the full context is not pre decisional is not information that’s going to cause confusion or or interference with some of our efforts. So I hope that helps. There’s a couple different things going there. There’s a coordination memo. There’s opsec with regard to criminal issues and classified information. There’s opsec with regard Thio Thio unclassified information as well, so I have no doubt that there’s gonna be a follow up to that one. So address I’ll give you first crack at a follow up. So we’re gonna say I appreciate the explanation. You can see why this may have a chilling effect on does their weight. You can rectify that by making clear that didn’t not a blanket ban on talking to the press. It’s not a blanket ban on talking to the for authorized disclosures to the press. No, not at all. And it’s not and you guys will see the coordination memo is not a um you cannot do things without authorization from from this office. It’s it’s the commanders are gonna have the same ability to go out. I would just point you back to the secretary’s 1st 1 of this first, if not the first memo he put out last year when he became secretary, was directing senior leaders to regularly engage with the media on. And I think that we’ve seen that take place. Hey, saw the commitment, Andi, I’ll just read to you. The last line of the coordination is memos. The department benefits when we thoughtfully engage with the American public in the media in a well planned manner, and I want to encourage all of you to continue your public facing efforts. And I would just further note, you know, the secretary himself. He testified to Congress last week in a public setting. He, he, uh, participated in Town Hall that included duty personnel as well as a question from the general public, and I participated in a think tank session today that included thought leaders from around the world as well as media members. So we’re committed to being out there. This is just an effort. Teoh. Protect sensitive information in an effort to make sure the department’s better coordinated. So we’ll do a couple more and then we’ll call today. I thank you for the evening. I am generally of the daily newspaper. Just like to ask one follow up question about South Korea. Yeah, I heard what Secretary Asper said this morning, and I s but still they’re a speculations. Dirk would be reducing, not withdrawing troops in Peninsular and eso especially went both U. S and Korea side cannot reached every Monday nights and a So can you confirm that this issue is not lead to any kind of SME negotiations for Can you live right more on that? Well, look, I’ll just once again say we’re always looking our force posture. Um and, uh, the department’s commitment. Teoh, Republic of Korea strong. We’ve been allies and we’ve been there for on the on the peninsula for decades. Three U. S. Military is committed to the problem. Korea. We’re committed to being prepared toe fight tonight if necessary, were prepared Teoh with the op con transfer. We’re working through issues on that. So the relationship and our commitment toe the problem. Korea has not changed. Other than that, I don’t have the information for anything. Secretary answered this question directly this morning, though. All right, Jeff, quick question of the school memos that says that the Pentagon will open schools on base is kids. Can you explain the policy and the in the event that those schools are on basis where cove It is on the rise. So I don’t want to get ahead off Dodea on this because I know they’re putting out information today and they’re going to be talking to toe parents and teachers on the school communities. I would get very broad brushes on this of my understanding. And that is, um, remember, Dodea has schools around the world. So if you look at Dodea, they have schools in the Americas, in Europe and in the Pacific is kind of their three traunch is. What they’re gonna look at is what are the conditions in the area. And those dodea schools are gonna be linked to the d o d installation hep con status. So if the facility is open for business, Aziz usual than then The schools will be as well. But the goal of Dodea is to is to have in person classes or making available for having in person classes and if not to conduct virtual schooling. So the plan that I have seen so far has that forced condition and B Dodea students. Teachers will be present in person in classrooms or social distancing. But if it’s, ah, hip con cnd dodea, students and teachers will conduct virtual learning. So that’s the general framework of it. It’s obviously gonna be we’ve said throughout that a lot of the guidance with with regard to how the local officials and local commanders will make decisions with regard. Teoh Hip con levels has been delegated down. They know what the standards are for moving between the BNC on the the security ladder. It is. Part of it is I just want to try by, uh, state thes correctly. It’s ah, it’s gonna be whether there’s been a downward trend over the last 14 days, whether they’re seven. If there’s sufficient hospital bed space, uh, and medical care available and whether and whether our forces were getting, they have the care or access to the care they need. And so the commanders will look at that. We’ve seen some places that initially went to Green, so they were all in help. Kansi they went down toe to be that of going back up in some of these states where we’ve seen the dramatic rise in the number of covert infections and that’s that’s up to the local commanders. So all right, we’ll go back to the phone. I got a couple people. Uh, Jeff Showgirl, Thank you so much. I’m a little confused in your answer to addresses question. On July 9th, Secretary invoked opsec in talking about not releasing pre decisional and unclassified information and use the word unclassified. So can you explain how this memo on dealing with the press does not restrict information that gets to go to the press? Sure. I mean, I’ll just tell you that right now the memo on ah on public engagement coordination is literally about internal D. O D personnel coordinating their messaging campaigns. Um, it’s if you don’t if you’ve read the memo yet, I’ll be happy toe to share it with you as well. But it’s just about the coordination of that messaging The secretary, Like I said, there’s a additional guidance that was given on opsec on you raise one category of the opsec, which is which is the sense controlled unclassified information on. And then there’s also classified information. So there’s two categories there that are that are important to note, and the secretary did mention and it is appropriately concerned with the unauthorized leaks of criminal leaks of classified information in the unauthorized leaks of controlled unclassified information. So different issues. I understand the the the the conflation of them to the extent. But I could just reiterate my commitment to you that we’re gonna be talking with you guys about issues that come up. You’re gonna be ableto have conversations with the p A owes and with senior officials and others throughout the building. And look, if if if this is ah uh is in implementation in practice becomes an issue for you guys, please, My door’s always open. I’m happy to talk to all of you about that. I’ve made it very clear that my commitment to you guys on trying to get as much information out as possible on the secretary has been driving that as well since his first day is Secretary. So with that, I got ahead to a meeting in 10 minutes. So appreciate everybody for being in the building today and taking time. Teoh, participate. Thank you.