Pentagon Press Secretary Holds Briefing | January 31, 2022

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby briefs the news media at the Pentagon, January 31, 2022


Good afternoon everybody a couple of things at the top. I think you know Secretary Austin, I met earlier today with Sheikh al Thani the emir of Qatar to affirm the strength of the US Qatar Defense partnership which serves as a cornerstone of the U. S. Strategic bilateral relationship. The secretary reiterated his heartfelt gratitude to the Amir’s indispensable and and quite frankly ongoing support to our efforts uh to continue to get Americans and our afghan allies out of Afghanistan. The leaders discussed shared regional security interests, de escalating tensions in the region, countering terrorism and of course the full scope of threats represented by Iran Secretary Austin shared his vision for integrated deterrents emphasizing the importance of multilateral efforts and integrated operations with partners like Qatar to address threats confronting the region. I think speaking of threats in the region. Earlier this morning the U. S. Military personnel responded to an inbound missile threat on the U. A. This involves the activation of patriot missile batteries coincident with the efforts by the armed forces of the U. S. A. The combined efforts successfully engaged the threat and there were no injuries or casualties. We commend the professionalism of the U. A. Armed forces and confronting these threats and defending their territory. We of course stand with the U. A. Saudi Arabia and our gulf partners in defending against threats to their peoples and their territories. And with that we’ll take questions. I think bob. You’re on the line. Yeah bob, are you there? Okay. Nothing heard will go in the room john I want to just follow up on the meeting today between the secretary and of course the president just said welcoming, he will notify the Congress about his intent to designate it as a major non NATO ally. Can you, can you explain the significance of this designation? How would it help further the defense relationship between Britain and the US? I mean it it opens up a whole new range of opportunities of defense relationships. I mean not just with the United States bilaterally but with other allies and certainly I let other nations speak for themselves and their own bilateral defense relationships with with Qatar. But it does open up a full new range of opportunities, exercises operations uh um and you know perhaps um uh the application of of acquisition of capabilities as well. So um uh it’s uh I mean the Secretary was was honored and pleased to be able to to make that pledge. And obviously we’ll see where it goes on the attack today. Yesterday on the Emirates. The President just said he directed Secretary Austin to offer Americans support to ally specifically Saudi Arabia and E and he said I’m quoting him America will have the bags of our friends in the region. Are there any specific new support that us is planning on providing for these two nations? I don’t have anything specific body to to announce today but the attack was actually today. Um I don’t have anything specific to announce with respect to additional capabilities but I would tell you that we are constantly looking um even before this spate of recent attacks but certainly in the wake of them uh for additional capabilities that might prove useful to our gulf partners in this case particularly the the Emirati. So again nothing to announce today in terms of something moving. Uh but very much committed to having um a very a very discreet and specific conversation with the Emiratis about what they might need and what we might be able to provide. Yeah um bob will come back to you again. Did you did you get there? Yeah I apologize for that. I had muted myself. Sorry question about the stateside units that are on prepare to deploy orders for europe. Um President Biden said on Friday that he said what he said exactly was I’ll be moving troops to eastern europe and the NATO countries in the near term. So it seemed from that that the decision to do this has already been made. It was only a question of when and so can you say what would trigger that deployment to europe? From the US aside from the activation of the NATO response force. Thanks well um the NATO response force and what I and what the President was referring to uh aren’t necessarily the same thing that NATO has to vote on activation of the response force. I mean that’s something that would have to come from from the alliance itself and that hasn’t occurred. Um We have shortened the alert status uh for more than 8000 U. S. Troops. But and they’re and they’re making the preparations that they need now to be able to meet that shorter tether. But there’s been no decision to activate it. As for uh the addition of of forces or capabilities into the eastern flank of NATO. You heard the president make very clear what his intentions are. I don’t have any announcements to make today, I don’t have any units to talk about. But as I’ve said and frankly I’ve said it now for a couple of weeks we’re we’re going through the rigorous work of providing options for the commander in chief. Should he decide to do that? Um Where and when he decides to do that. Obviously in close consultation with the actual allies themselves. I mean you can’t just unilaterally decide to to to throw extra U. S. Forces at a country you want to make sure that that they’re on board with it and that you’ve had the appropriate conversations. And uh what I would tell you is that those sorts of conversations are ongoing. Um And uh you know I’ll leave it at there. I leave it at that I don’t again have a timeline to give you I certainly don’t have any specifics with respect to a a redeployment inside europe to to talk to in any great detail but it is very much an active discussion here at the pentagon. It’s certainly um is an active discussion that we’re having with our National Security Council counterparts as well, as and this is really important to remind with with our allies themselves court. I’m unclear on two things. Okay, so what what President Biden was talking about then is a unilateral employment to NATO ally countries around Ukraine. Right, that’s what you’re saying. Okay, why what’s I know we’ve heard about, you know, bolstering NATO defense partner defenses and Article five commitment. But the one thing I’m still unclear on is like, Is there any indication that Russia is threatening or has any plans at all to invade any of the NATO allies around Ukraine? Because it seems like everything we’re hearing is that the threat is to Ukraine. So what’s the article five commitment that the US has two allies around there? Or is it really just about showing like a demonstration of force? It’s a fair question, I think, and you can see it in in press reporting out of europe that that the Russian build up around Ukraine and Belarus has definitely got many of our NATO allies concerned, particularly those allies that border are very close to bordering Russia. Um and uh what we want to make sure we know that that I mean, Putin has said himself, how concerned he is about NATO. Um and this false belief that it’s somehow an offensive alliance aim to contain Russia or to threaten Russia, again false, but this is the narrative he’s putting out there. Um and so we want to make sure that our NATO allies understand we take seriously our commitments to them. And so if they desire, if they want additional capabilities, particularly in those eastern flank countries, um to bolster their own self defense, then we want to have that conversation with them and we want to be willing to provide that for them. That’s the unilateral movements and it it really is designed to ensure NATO solidarity and quite frankly, to help bolster the capabilities of our allies. Second and distinct from that, of course, is the NATO response force and this is a 40,000 troops strong response force that only NATO the alliance can activate. We have obligations inside that, just like other countries inside the alliance, we signed up for a certain amount of contribution to that. Um it is not something that is um uh that’s just off the shelf and you just go grab it. So you you want to make it as short a tether as possible and that’s why we’ve alerted those extra 8500 troops here in the states, they have not been given deployment orders, they’ve just been told to be ready on a shorter period of time in case the alliance activates that. Um and as for Ukraine, you’re right, the principal threat right now, at least from a military perspective is from Russia on Ukraine and to Ukrainian soil, which is why we continue to provide security assistance material to the Ukrainian armed forces. Another shipment just arrived on Friday, there will be more coming in coming days. And while we still have trainers on the ground, not just us, the brits do the Canadians do trainers on the ground to help improve the confidence and the confidence of Ukrainian armed forces. So it’s really it’s really a multi tiered approach here. But the president has been very clear, we’re not going to see American troops on the ground in combat with the Russians in Ukraine. He has made clear that that’s not on the table. So what we’re focused on is the Very real security commitments that we have, you mentioned under Article five specifically to our NATO allies should Mr. Putin decide to make or to exhibit threats against the alliance. We want to make sure that he understands unequivocally that that’s not going to be acceptable in the United States, will will fight to defend our our NATO allies and our commitments to our allies on the continent. But look again, um and pardon me for, for going on. Um but it was a very good question. We don’t think it has to come to conflict. There’s still we still believe there’s time and space for diplomacy. You actually heard a little bit from the Russians themselves, that they’re still willing to to talk. So we believe that in that time and space, we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to be ready just in case there was a need by our NATO allies, but also to allow for that time and space for diplomacy to occur. Did that answer? Talk a little bit about Russia? And are you still seeing Russia move in troops and material? Can you get specific on what you’re seeing and also as far as possible naval movements in the Mediterranean heading perhaps toward the Bosporus. Um Yeah, so I’m gonna continue to be circumspect about intelligence assessments and what we’re seeing tom but uh broadly speaking, we continue to see even over the course of the weekend additional us, I’m sorry, additional Russian ground forces move in again, uh in Belarus and around the border with Ukraine. As you heard, uh, General Milley say on Friday, these are combined arms, capable forces. So it’s not just infantry, for instance, artillery, it’s it’s um, it’s air defense. Um He’s got a full range of military capabilities available to him, which only continue to increase the number of options available to him. Whether if he decides to move militarily, we have seen increasing naval activity in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic by uh Russian fleet vessels. Um, and we’re watching that pretty closely, nothing hostile necessarily to report to or to speak to, but they have, they have put to see more ships they are exercising at sea, they are are clearly um increasing the capabilities they have at sea Should should they need it? So again, all this goes, you know, all this goes to options available to Mr. Putin. Um and he continues to create more options for himself from a military perspective. Again, we want him to see him, we want to see him exercise a diplomatic option. Which oh by the way, is also still open to him. Any indication those ships are heading toward the bus for us though, that they have to give notice that they’re going to transit the phosphorus. Yeah, I’m gonna refrain from speaking about specific uh movements of their naval vessels. I think that’s a great question for the Russian navy and uh and they should have to speak for what they’re doing and where they’re going Like way that the way that we do. Um but what I would just say is I’ll leave it at increased naval activity which is concerning um have NATO allies requested, you know, unilateral deployment of US troops to their countries? We are in active discussions with a number of allies about um US capabilities that they might desire might and might and might ask for. Um but again, I don’t have any final decisions to speak to today. On the second question on North Korea, they fired an intermediate range ballistic missile. Are you considering or prepared for the possibility that they fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. And does it affect US force posture exercises anything of that extent? Should they choose to go that route? I don’t want to hypothesize about the future launches were obviously always looking at our force presence, our force posture, our force protection, they’re on the peninsula and in the region. Um and also constantly looking at our own readiness from uh from a training event perspective and all that is factored in what we see coming out of Pyongyang. All that factors into our decision making. I would tell you that we obviously take our force protection very very seriously but also the need to be ready. Uh and so nothing’s changed about uh nothing’s changed about our desire to work closely with our South Korean allies on force readiness there on the peninsula. Um as for what he may do next, Only Kim Jong un knows the answer to that. What we hope he does next is stop these launches, stop these provocations abide by U. N. Security council resolutions and quit threatening his neighbors in the region. Um We have made it very clear as an administration that we’re willing to sit down and have dialogue with the North Koreans without precondition. That offer is still that offer still stands but in the meantime here at the Department of Defense we’re going to do what we have to do to be ready on the peninsula jenny. I’m surprised you’re going to follow up on that one. Thank you. Those Korean ones that this missile could hit the US mainland directly? What is the secretary Austin’s reaction to the North Korean threat to the U. S. Mainland? Pretty much just gave that answer. Um look, we’re I’m not going to speak about intelligence assessments of each and every launch. We we understand he’s conducting these launches. Um um it’s hard to, you know, it’s hard to get inside his mind. This is exactly what he’s doing and why. I mean, some of it could be message signaling. But you know what we also have to assume that it’s that it’s learning that it’s improving that that no matter how well or how poorly these lunches go, he learns from them and he’s able to, you know, continue to advance his program. And so to your point, yes, the secretary is very concerned about their advancing uh ballistic missile program. Um, and that is why again we’re focused on making sure that we have the right capabilities available to us and to our allies in the region. Okay. The US want diplomacy and dialogue with the North Korea without preconditions you say that many times? Yes. Yes. Okay. But if North Korean Kim Jong un once a different path, it’s the US ready to go the other way. What other way different way to go because, well, I mean, I don’t know what other ways he might be considering, all I can tell you is we still believe that that diplomacy is the right way and we have made it very clear repeatedly that we’re willing to sit down and have those discussions and that’s what that’s what we’d like to see occur. Um, so I don’t know, it would b very valuable to speculate one way or the other about other courses of action here. Clearly nobody wants to see this come to open conflict. Um, uh, that would be devastating for everybody on the peninsula and and certainly elsewhere in the region. And there’s no reason that it has to come that way. But in the meantime, while our diplomats are hard at work trying to advance some sort of dialogue, we here in the Department of Defense, we’ve got to make sure we’re constantly advancing the capabilities of the alliance and that’s what we’re focused on interview with Fox News. I did. Yes. Yes. So you have maybe you have some options to they had military options or something. Well, how does my interview with Fox news mean that I have additional military options to speak to you? And you didn’t say that exactly what the military options saying. But you can you have the other way. That means you’ve got many options. But you can tell us about some options. We um continue to explore and improve military capabilities on the peninsula in concert with our South Korean allies. Some of them are very easy to see and to demonstrate. And and we talk about them and some of them we don’t, but until there is a a peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula. We have an obligation to be ready? And that’s what we’re focused on right now? Gordon? I forget about Friday’s question Qatar and you may not know this but does designating star as a non NATO ally? Is that a requirement to do some of the things you mentioned like the exercises and the acquisition potentially or or is it just it would be a requirement inside the alliance. And again it’s it’s it’s not our decision to make. It’s simply that you know we support that process but it would be a decision for the alliance to make and and what you what comes out of that. And again I encourage you to speak to our NATO colleagues in more detail about this. But it does open up opportunities of cooperation with the alliance and inside uh the alliance regimen obviously include us so potential more arms sales more. Those are bilateral decisions made by sovereign states. So they don’t not necessarily have to deal with this designation. I wouldn’t think so. Let me go back to the phones fill. Right. Hey they’re just following up on the on the Houthi missile attack on you. A can you you said that the that the U. S. Forces uh fired patriots. Did the patriots intercept the incoming missile and or was it some other capability that did that? And then also you know what do you think is the threat that these are repeated attacks on U. S. Forces? What is the threat? And do you believe the U. S. Is positioned uh to to to deal with the threat that is you know these are weekly attacks now? Well I think just um you never want to take anything for granted Phil. But clearly um uh these attacks have have and have not been 100% successful. We continue to, as I said to fatty explore opportunities to improve our our defenses and uh and the defenses of our Emirati partners as well. So I don’t have an announcement to make in terms of what we’re gonna do differently. We’re constantly trying to make sure that we’re that we’re more ready. My understanding with respect to this particular attack is that the inbound missile was engaged by Emirati surface to air missiles. Uh they they they they are the ones that actually engage this missile. Uh the US patriots were fired but it was the Emirati uh surface air missiles that actually engaged the targets. Um I know I asked two questions clarify something with you on this in the first in the first instance when the US used the patriot, I think that was last Monday the inbound missiles were targeting at Dhafra Airbase. The U. S. Forces activate the better at this time as well because of the was the target uh like what I can tell you is the patriots were engaged. Um um I don’t have anything more detailed to speak to in terms of actual target but the patriots were are patriots were engaged. So it is the policy now that I’m trying to understand something are us forces engaging these attacks when they are targeting Al Dhafra airbase where the U. S. Forces are stationed or to defend the in general against attacks. I mean every every attack is different for me. So I I don’t want to put some blanket policy on it. But obviously we’re going to help come to the defense of our Emirati partners. If we can help defend our Emirati partners, we’re going to do that. Yeah nobody else here. Let me go back Jeff Vogel, thank you. I I just wanted to clarify the unilateral NATO deployment that President Biden mentioned on Friday is that in addition to the 8500 U. S. Troops that have been put on prepared to deploy orders as part of the NATO response force? If so, how many more troops are we talking about, Jeff? Essentially the answer to your question is yes. The 8500 troops that we talked about last week are part of our contribution to the NRF. The NRF has not been activated but the president was talking about was the potential for additional U. S. Troops to bolster the capabilities of some of our eastern flank NATO allies. Um uh I don’t have a specific announcement to make with respect to that in terms of how many where they would come from or what country they might or countries they might go to when we have something to speak to you like that. We’ll obviously talk to you about it. But as I said at the outset were an active consultations with allies about the needs. So right now we just don’t have something specific to speak to. But that’s what the president was referring to. The other thing I might just remind and again this is nothing new. I’ve said this before. Is that an option available to us is to use U. S. Forces that are already in the European theater. You don’t necessarily have to flow in forces from the States or from even other theaters. We have tens of thousands of of U. S. Troops on European soil, both in a permanently based uh environment as well as on rotational orders. And so we’re taking a look at the whole menu of opportunities are available here uh and units available. Uh And then you know we’ll we’ll work that out individually with each with each NATO ally as appropriate. Well thanks I know you don’t have, remember, can you ballpark it can you say hundreds thousands Jeff? I’m just not gonna be able to do that right now. I mean I certainly understand the the uh the interest in that. Um what I would tell you is that as we have uh an arrangement to speak to will speak to it and I’ll we’ll try to be as completely forthcoming as we can be on the details of it. Just like we were last week on the on the prepared to deploy contingent. But I don’t have a I don’t have a it would be inappropriate for me since we’re in active discussions with allies for me to to ballpark it right now. I thought that there was a small contingent, like a fraction of the 8500 that would be part of the unilateral and that. But now it’s so now it’s all 8500 would be potentially, as I said back then, the vast majority of that 8500 were for the NATO responsible. In addition to that. Now, according there are there are there are some forces uh that are being put on heightened alert here in the United States. Uh that that could be used in a more unilateral way or bilateral way is really the best way to put that. Uh but again, I just don’t have anything specific to speak to. The vast, vast majority of the ones we’ve already talked to are about Are designed for the NATO response force. So I’m just trying to understand if we’re talking about now, more than 8500 that are on prepare to deploy for for both. When you consider both the NATO and the unilateral. Am I misunderstanding it? I don’t know, maybe I’m I think I’m misunderstanding it. There’s there’s 8500, the vast majority would go to the NATO response force if it’s activated? There’s a fraction of those, some some portion of those that would potentially be used unilaterally. But now there’s an even additional and beyond that who might be used unilaterally. Is that? Yeah. Um, but what I’m talking about, an answer to Jeff’s question is is they could come from inside the European continent as it is. And general Walters can make decisions about whether to, you know, put them on a heightened alert or not. Um, and obviously, uh, he’s working his way through those, those kinds of decisions right now. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that when it comes to bilateral agreements or arrangements with NATO allies, if if they need additional capabilities, if they would want that, um, then we would work it out individually with each nation to to make sure that we’re meeting the need as as as best they desire and can accommodate and some of those needs. And again, I’ve said this before will likely come from actually on the continent that you don’t, you don’t have to necessarily deploy from the States, but we want to keep as many options available to us as possible. And and a lot of that court will be quite frankly the decision about who goes and how many and where from will actually come from these discussions with the allies themselves? What do you need? What what do you think? You know, what would be most helpful to you and how fast you needed and how long do you want it? And all those kinds of things will be settled on an individual basis with with each of these countries? Uh Let’s see uh Tony paseo. Hey john I just muted myself. Sorry question does the secretary or other defense officials have any concerns that Russia may actually move tactical nuclear missile units as a diplomatic messaging for diplomatic messaging purposes. You know new tactical nuclear weapons near the Ukraine or European allies. Has that come up at all? I haven’t heard discussions of that Tony. What what? But we watched closely as closely as we can. All the moves that Mr. Putin is making militarily. And can you say with some confidence that you’ve got to the U. S. Has got a handle on tactical nuclear weapons units that the Russians may or may not move? I’m gonna talk about intelligence issues Tony I think you can understand that wouldn’t be wise for me to do from the podium. I can just tell you that we’re watching this very very closely monitoring it as best we can. Um and and and doing the best we can to make sure that what context we do have that we’re sharing it with our allies and our Ukrainian partners as well? Uh Sylvie. Hello. Hello john can you tell us how many U. S. Troops are stationed today? Uh In Poland and how many in Lithuania? I don’t have that figure here. So I’m not gonna guess I’ll take that question and we’ll get back to you. Thank you. Of course it’s a taking questions so as always uh and that’s gonna be a very simple quick one to get for you. We’ll shoot shoot that around everybody terra cotta john thanks for doing this. Um So I have three questions one. Just a quick follow up to Courtney and Jeff’s question these forces would be in addition to the 8500. So potentially more than 8500 U. S. Troops would be dedicated to this second. Can you give us a sense of If the 80 500% what they would be doing? We understand that they come from logistics and aviation and medical support But if the NATO response force is not going into Ukraine, what would the 8500 be doing to support the NATO response force? And then last question Syria, can you give us an update on the prison outbreak and any sort of D. O. D. Estimates on how many ISIS fighters escaped? And would that necessitate potentially more U. S. Troops to go in to round those ISIS fighters up? Thanks. Okay there’s a lot there. Um I don’t have an update for you on how many prisoners escaped versus how many were recaptured by the SDF. I mean I think I’d point you to inherent resolve for more details about that that operation. Again, our support was was was fairly limited. So I just don’t have that kind of level of detail On the 8500. I think Again all we’ve done here with this 8500 is put them on prepare to deploy And in some cases shorten their tether from like 10 days to five days. Uh they haven’t been given deployment orders. They are are they represent uh a significant chunk of our contribution to the NATO response force. We are keeping all options open to to provide the president decision space. And so if you’re asking me, could the number of of forces uh put on P. T. D. O. Or advance P. T. D. O. Increase. The answer to that is yes. It could happen. Um And when and how we’re able to speak to that that that we will. Um There could also be as they mentioned earlier, uh the movement of of U. S. Forces that are already in europe uh to eastern flank allies uh at their request and at their invitation, that would not require the secretary to uh Necessarily put them on a shorter alertness posture? Maybe depending on who they are and where they’re coming from but not necessarily. So um if the question is could it go could could could troops being put on a shorter tether go upwards of 8500? The answer’s yes but I don’t have anything specific to speak to about that today. What we wanna do is make sure that we are providing options to the president and to our allies uh in case those options are needed to reinforce our commitment to the alliance. And then you ask me what will they be doing if the NRF is activated? I think it was the question. Um and as I said, when we announced them, there’s a range of capabilities that that they that they that they represent aviation, medical, logistics, certainly uh combat ground forces are included in that in that list and I we didn’t go into every little detail of every little unit, but we did identify the major units that we were talking about and where they’d be coming from. Um They they provide a whole host of of military capabilities to the to the NRF but that’s their focuses is the NRF and I won’t speculate about, you know, if the Nrf gets activated or if it doesn’t, that’s up to NATO to decide and if it doesn’t get activated, could could some of these troops be used uh to uh in a bilateral way to to bolster allies. Again, all those are interesting academic exercises, but we’re just not at that stage right now in order to be able to to engage it, Paul, Shenkman. My question is already asked. Thanks john thank you, Jared from Al Monitor. Hi Mr. Kirby thank you. Just wondering if you give us a little more background on bringing Qatar into, potentially bringing Qatar into in as a major non NATO ally. How long have these been these discussions been going on? Um and just yeah, wondering some context on that. Thanks. I’d point you to the alliance on that. That’s not again that’s not a us call to make um that’s really a better question put to the alliance again, all the secretary was indicating was that you know that we support that process moving forward. Jason Bellini Newsy Okay. Nothing heard Paul McLeary. Hi john um Afghanistan is still a non NATO major non NATO ally is D. O. D. Are you working with the alliance to to rescind that that designation? I have not heard any discussions to to that effect. I’ll take the question though. I mean um I think it’s a fair question we ought to, we ought to look at but I’m not aware of any such discussions. Um Okay let’s see heather from us and I thank you so much. Um in terms of the um carrier strike group that’s under um NATO um command right now. Since it’s the first time since the Cold War. And given that the pentagon didn’t take these steps when Russian annex Crimea in 2014 or during the 22,008 conflict between Russia and Georgia. What signal is the pentagon hoping to send by putting the strike group under NATO? Well I think it sends a very strong signal about our commitment to the alliance. Um and this is a it is very rare for a US aircraft carrier strike group to be put under under NATO command and control. Um We think it’s it’s noteworthy certainly. Um even without the exigent circumstances with respect to Ukraine, I mean it’s a strong a demonstration of how committed the United States is to to the alliance certainly when put in the context of what’s going on. Um um I think it again reinforces what I said earlier about how seriously we take our article five commitments and our commitments to our security commitments and inside the alliance. So um I would think I would hope that the message to be taken away from this is that NATO is a strong alliance, it is unified and the American commitment to the NATO alliance is ironclad Christina Anderson thank you for taking my question. Um Poland has um based on statements recently just worrying about the deployment of troops by Russia closer to their borders uh on the Belarus side. Um has there been any specific request on their part uh for additional assistance pending additional assistance or anything like that that you’ve received their. Thank you. I’m gonna not talk with great specificity as to the discussions we’ve been having with individual allies. I think you know that secretary spoke to his polish counterpart last week were in constant and active discussions uh ah with Poland about their concerns what they’re seeing their perspectives as well as um what what capabilities uh they might require uh to help boost their own uh defensive capabilities. Again I don’t have anything specific to read out with respect to any one country today. Rio I think it’s a quick program about North Korea. Do you feel an urgency to increase military pressure on North Korea to deter future missile branches? Thank you. I think everybody uh shares a sense of concern over uh the North Korean missile program and their nuclear ambitions. And we are in active discussions with with allies and partners in the region as well as uh U. N. Member states about the best way to continue to respond to these provocations. It would it would be um enormously helpful if every nation that signed up to sanctions for instance, actually implemented them and um and complied with them. Um so there’s there’s there’s still a lot of international work that that needs to be done and again without speaking to each specific launch or um what we may know about each one. I would tell you we’re watching this very very closely and we’re going to continue here at the pentagon to make sure that militarily we’re ready to meet our security commitments inside the alliance with the R. O. K. Yeah. As a matter of command and control and I’m interested in. I understand that the 8500 troops that will go as part of the response for us will fall under NATO, the other troops that are being considered unilaterally do they? Will they fall under European command is just as a matter of yeah most likely most likely if it’s a bilateral arrangement that we have with the country and um and we send U. S. Troops to that country uh to bolster their self defense, they would fall under general Walters and his European command commander had as opposed to general Walters and his NATO supreme correct that that would that would be most likely that would be the arrangement. Okay everybody. Thanks very much appreciate it. Yeah.

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