Pentagon Press Secretary Holds Briefing

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby briefs the news media at the Pentagon, February 9, 2022


Afternoon, everybody. Just a couple of things here at the top. I think you saw yesterday that the army released a climate strategy to counter the existential threat that climate change. Climate change poses to the service’s ability to respond to national security challenges and threats. The strategy is nested within the department’s climate adaptation plan and interim national security strategic guidance. The Army is focusing its climate preparedness and resilience approach on three lines of effort, installations, acquisitions, and logistics and training. Among the objectives that are outlined in the strategy are the goal to achieve a 50% reduction in army net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 compared to 2000 and five levels to attain net zero Army greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And to proactively consider the security implications of climate change and strategy, planning, acquisition, supply chain and programming documents and processes. Mm hmm. Alright, we’re having problems here. Can I have this bear? I’m sure there’s more after that. The strategy is available on army dot mil and the army will be talking about more more about it in the coming days. And clearly the secretary appreciates the work that the army is doing on these important climate change priorities. In Africa, the annual training exercise Cutlass Express 2022 is underway after an opening ceremony in Djibouti on the sixth of February. Now in its 20th iteration, Cutlass Express is sponsored by U. S. Africom and led by U. S. Naval forces, europe Africa and US sixth fleet. The exercise is being conducted in the vicinity of Bahrain Djibouti Kenya Madagascar Mauritius and the Seychelles until February 17 14 nations are participating and will conduct several maritime security exchanges to include vessel queries and ship boardings, airborne maritime patrol operations and search and rescue drills. The exercise promotes national and regional security in East Africa, increases interoperability between the U. S. African nations and international partners. Finally, I’d like to announce that the secretary has approved the next round of D. O. D. Advisory boards and committees for resumption of operations. These are gonna be listed in the press release. That will be going up on defense dot gov here very very shortly. So you don’t have to write all this down. But I will list them for the record. These boards include the Defense Innovation Board, the National Security Education Board, the National Security Agency, emerging technologies Panel, The advisory board for the National Reconnaissance Office, the Army Education Advisory Committee, the Education for Seapower Advisory Board, The Board of Visitors for the Western Hemisphere, Institute for Security Cooperation, the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Scientific advisory board and the board of regions uniformed services. University of the health sciences positions for these boards will be filled in in coming weeks. Clearly keep you up to date on that. The departments boards and committees have been and will continue to be a valuable resource as we defend the nation. Take care of our people and succeed through teamwork. Uh And I know that the secretary and all our department leadership look forward to working with these advisory boards going forward. Finally, in light of all that, I’d like to announce that the secretary has nominated Mr Michael Bloomberg to serve as the chair of the Defense Innovation Board to leverage his experience and strategic insights on innovation, business and public service. Mr Bloomberg, as you all know, an entrepreneur and a leader who served three terms as the mayor of new York city will bring a wealth of experience and technology, innovation, business and government to the Defense Innovation Board. His his leadership will be critical to ensuring the department has access to the best and brightest minds in science, technology innovation through the team of divers experts that he will lead as chair of that board. And obviously the secretary is very grateful that Mr Bloomberg was willing to take this additional responsibility on and very grateful that he’s willing to serve in that capacity and with that we’ll start taking questions bob over to you. Thank you, john, two questions related to Ukraine situation. First, do you have there been any additional shifting a movement of US troops within europe um units uh, to eastern europe beyond what you’ve already described? I think last week. And the second question is regarding the lack of media access to the troops who are on the ground there, who are deploying their, can you just take the explain what the rationale is for that position of not providing full access. Sure, Well, first of all, thank you for the question. And and we obviously have received the letter from the Pentagon Press association leadership regarding their concerns over this and we certainly appreciate you sharing those concerns and we obviously respect those concerns very much. Um look, any decision to provide media access to our troops, whether it’s in an operational environment or a training environment um is a decision that we take seriously, we don’t make decisions to grant access or not to grant access lightly. Uh and there’s lots of factors that go into that. Um ah uh sometimes it has to do with operational security, sometimes it has to do with with how that kind of access nests into the larger strategy that we’re pursuing. So what I would tell you bob is again, absolutely respect the desire to do it. Uh I hope you know how much I respect that too. We’re just not at a point now where uh we are able to provide that kind of access and if that changes, believe me, I’ll be the first one to let you know that, but uh we’re still working our way through. Um what sort of coverage is best suited for this particular mission? Um uh and I say the following not as a not as an excuse or anything like that, but uh you know, to remind them this is a very small number of troops that are that are quote unquote deploying and quite a few of them are actually just redeploying inside europe and that we have 80,000 other troops in europe. So the the additions that were making while the secretary deems them necessary to reassure our the eastern flank of NATO, they are but a small fraction of the total number of troops that we have in europe and have been there and have been there again as part of our NATO commitments for a long time, john is it a host country issue or is it a strategic messaging issue? Are you worried that Putin could use the images of U. S. Troops arriving in Poland and elsewhere and view it as offensive? I mean, what what is the thinking here? Yeah, I mean, there’s again, there’s a lot that goes into a decision like this, jen and uh, and and some of it is uh what what is the what is the larger goal here on the geopolitical stage? And what we’ve, what we’ve been saying, I think pretty consistently, is that we believe there’s still time and space for diplomacy. We still believe that there’s headspace with Mr. Putin that that can be operated inside of, We still believe that that he hasn’t made a final decision. And so a lot of what we’re doing, not just what we’re doing, but how we’re talking about what we’re doing is designed um, to make it very clear where the United States national security interests are and what we’re trying to achieve here in a nutshell. What we’re trying to achieve here is a de escalation of the tensions and a diplomatic path forward and and virtually everything that we’ve done, everything I’ve set up here and quite frankly everything I’ve not said up here is designed to help us get to um a better outcome, a peaceful outcome, a diplomatic outcome nobody wants to see except with the exception of possibly Mr Putin any military conflict breaking out in europe. So we’re being very careful. Um we’re trying to be very deliberate and again I was just uh I would just beg your understanding of that just to follow up the 82nd Airborne that’s arriving in Poland. There’s The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that they are going to be setting up tents checkpoints in the event that Americans have to be to flee Ukraine frankly, if the if Russia invades is that their mission, can you explain what their mission is? Will there be setting up evacuation points? Are you ruling out sending the U. S. Military into Ukraine to help evacuate Americans? I think you’ve heard us say consistently that there are no active efforts in play too militarily evacuate American citizens from Ukraine. The State Department has been exceedingly consistent and clear about warning Americans from from away from traveling to Ukraine and the president himself just the other day um advised Americans to leave Ukraine, given the current tensions. Uh so there’s been plenty of time and opportunity and it’s it’s not a war zone. I mean there’s plenty of physical opportunities to to remove yourself from Ukraine, including commercial air railroads, good highways, there’s lots of ways to to leave and all that is still at play right now. And again, we’ve said from the very get go, there’s there’s no no effort right now ongoing. Nothing that we’re expecting to use military assets to move Americans out of Ukraine. That that’s the same today now. Like I’m almost there there was a lot lot of questions and I’m just I’m gonna work my way through this. Um when the secretary decided to send leading elements of the 82nd Airborne, which we talked about very publicly. Um We said from the very get go that one of the reasons why we chose that unit is their multi mission and they’re on a high alert readiness posture as it is. That’s their job. That’s what they do and they do a lot of things really, really well and they can do those things quickly. And we said, as Secretary said in a matter of fact, when he was up at this very podium that uh they are multi mission capable and they’re gonna be ready to do a number of contingencies, including and he was asked, you know, would that include evacuation. And he said if that’s what we’re called to do, we’re capable to do that. So I can’t rule out the fact that uh these soldiers could be used with some into some degree with evacuation assistance on the other side of that border. Um and certainly they’re going to be prepared to do that. In fact, I’ve said that myself publicly That the ability to contribute to any assistance that might be required might be required the 82nd would be prepared to do that now as for what exactly they’re, you know, how they’re going to prepare for that mission physically and tangibly. Um you know, I don’t have anything to to speak to uh with great detail today, but that is clearly going to be, is one of the missions that they’re capable of doing, trained to do and we’ll be ready to do if needed. But then the other thing that I’d like to just foot stomp and it kind of goes back to what I said at the risk of sounding redundant. Um if Americans that are in Ukraine heed the warnings that they have gotten from the State Department and from the President himself, there should be no need For the 82nd airborne to have to assist with evacuation assistance evacuation missions. If if Americans that are in Ukraine are are paying close attention to the to the warnings and advisories that they’ve gotten and uh and do the right thing while there’s time to do it. Does that answer your question? It was a long and I appreciate your patience. Megan can we get an update on the groups of troops who are newly arrived or newly moved around in europe? How many have made it to Romania? How many have made it to Germany? How many made it to Poland? And also jen asked about the Wall Street Journal and Poland situation in Romania. What are they going to be doing in Germany at the command headquarters? What are they going? What is that, what are their days going to look like once They’re also the striker squadron? I think they’re leaving Germany today. Um, it’s going to take them some, some days to get to Romania. I think there’s some very small leading elements as you might expect when the army moves. They always move some leading elements. So there’s a, there’s a, there’s some small elements of already in Romania preparing for the rest to come. Uh, they’ll be operating uh, with our Romanian counterparts. Um, uh, I don’t have anything more detailed than that. I’d point you to Yukon to, to really speak to that. But they’re remember they’re really going to, to reassure, uh, and to be able to provide additional capability in Romania. I would also remind Megan there’s another, there’s already 900. Um, so this, this 1000 almost doubles what we already had in Romania. Um, nothing really significant changes in terms of the 82nd airborne, they continue to flow in in tranches. So, um, Of the 1700 that we said, we’re going um, less than half are already there are there and and the rest will flow in over the next few days and again they will be establishing themselves as I answered to gen, uh, to be able to respond to multiple contingencies and to conduct whatever missions are called on to do one of them could very well be uh, preparing for some sort of evacuation assistance on the polish side of that border. So to follow up the army’s fifth Corps has a headquarters in Poland that they stood up recently ostensibly for this sort of mission. Are they being involved at all in any of this or you know, where they were considered to be involved in any of these deployments? Yeah, I mean, I think they’re absolutely involved and I think the striker squadron sort of reports up through that chain of command as well. Um, I’d point you to you calm to speak with more specificity about how their, how they had different headquarters are going to be broken down. Yeah, jenny, thank you. I have a application on the Korea china and North Korea’s. And the first question is the three party U. S and South Korea. Japan Defense Ministers meeting will have, is that thing to say? I’m sorry, what Defense ministers to the party tops to South Korea? Us Japan Defense Ministers meeting will be held as soon. Okay, announced yesterday Is status, is it? I mean when we have a date. Oh, I think we’ll have very well have more to talk about that. Um pretty soon. And that means very soon. How soon? It’s very soon? Well you didn’t mention the date but I didn’t mention it. But another. Okay, skip that. Anyway, skip that anyway. Yeah, I found that out very soon. And the other one, the north Korea’s I C. B. M missile operating base Which is located just 15 miles from the Chinese border. Aren’t you worried about this? What is your opinion on that? I’m sorry. Can you repeat the question? Pay attention please. Yeah. And those I was just looking to see. I was just looking to see if I had more on your first question. Um Yeah I’m sorry go ahead on the north Koreans CBM missile operating base Which is located just 15 miles from the Chinese border. So I’m too worried about this. I don’t have any information on that journey. I don’t have any information on the installation status in north Korea. Just give me another one. China has a place to support for Lucia’s invasion of Ukraine. And also North Korea also said that it supports Russia through face to face meeting with Russian poutine recently. So what is the United States is stranded? Told china and north Korea. Do you have any new strategies? I don’t, I mean are you referring to the the readout of the conversation between Xi and Putin. Yes because the Chinese please. The you know, they involved with the Russian crisis. They strongly promised with put it in and also North Korean Kim Jong un face to face meeting with the Russian authority. He also supported Russia to involve Ukraine crisis. So if those china, north Korea involved Ukraine crisis, do you have any new strategies? I mean do you do you have any strategy a strategy to china? And I don’t have any new strategy with respect to china and North Korea and whatever statements they might have made in support of what Mr Putin is doing. We’re focused on uh again trying to find a diplomatic path forward here so that it doesn’t devolve into conflict over Ukraine. And to make sure that we’re shoring up our our our contributions to the NATO alliance which we take very seriously. I’ll only say what I’ve said before. I mean these two countries Russia and china are not countries with a whole lot of friends and aren’t part of our part of broader alliance systems that they can rely on. And every indication that we’ve seen is this in recent days here. This is more of a partnership of convenience of anything else between Xi and Putin and uh and and these are not two countries that are uniformly aligned on every issue. Um so they can speak for themselves and what they put out in their little communicate that’s that’s fine. Um we’re focused on making sure that we are committed to the NATO alliance that that that that that’s obvious uh into trying to find a diplomatic path forward here. Orne, my CNN colleague nick Paton Walsh is reporting based on troops to Afghanistan and medical records as well as interviews with doctors, victims and witnesses, none of whom were interviewed by us military investigators, that there are further questions about the role gunfire may have played in the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing and navigate. Should the pentagon further investigate this matter or depending on leadership, feel that the matter has been satisfactorily investigated to this point in the investigation, we believe was comprehensive. It was credible and it was quite definitive and or, and I think you were here in the room when the investigating team came up here and and laid it out for you over the course of an hour or more pretty detailed work. And as as they said, and I’m quite frankly quoting from their work, the investigation found no definitive proof that anyone was ever hit or killed by gunfire either us or Afghan. Um and I think I’d leave it at that. Let me go to the phones here, Carla, I promise. I won’t forget you, but I haven’t done anybody here. Uh Travis Triton from military dot com. Hey john, thanks most of my questions were asked, but I did want to ask there looks like there may be an agreement on the hill on annual defense funding. And I know there was a lot of dire talk from the military branches about the effects of str and I was wondering if you could just um uh talk about the current situation in D. O. D. And how you’re faring on a stopgap budget measure. Thanks. It’s not for us to to speak to a stopgap spending measure. It’s really for Congress to speak to that we and we certainly hope that that we can get full funding for the year and not obviously not another cr that takes us yet another month or two. What the secretary has been very clear about is the importance of four year funding and what that does for us. I mean with a C. R. As you know, Travis we can’t start new programs. You can’t build new ships you were going to have to delay uh perhaps as much as 100 military construction projects. And when you do that it’s not just the military installations that are affected, it’s the local communities and local businesses Around those installations that will suffer in order to pay for the 2.7% pay increase that we want to give our troops much deserved by the way. Uh that that money is going to have to come from other accounts and that and that could eat into operational readiness as well. Uh it could affect health care funding for military families. So um all of these things are at stake the ability to to conduct new research and development in new important technologies like microelectronics like artificial intelligence like hypersonic. All of that would have to be slowed down if we don’t get full year funding. So we’ve been nothing but clear. The Service Chiefs were up on the hill a week or so ago. I think they laid it out in very specific terms with what living under a continuing resolution. Well, it means you described it as dire talk and uh and frankly I think we would agree with that that there are there there could be dire consequences if we can’t get full year funding for this year. Now. Look, the Congress has never failed to to appropriate for us in the past. And uh and the secretaries uh obviously interested in making sure we get that four year funding. We we certainly call on the Congress to to do what they’ve always done. Uh and that is to to support the department with with funding for a full year as was authorized. Um Qassim from Honolulu. Yes John thank you very much. The Washington Post had acquired actually an army investigation on withdrawal from Afghanistan. And in that report, Brigadier General Sullivan told the investigators that he wanted to state supplies to host 5000 evacuees at Kabul Airport. But his efforts was complicated because he was not permitted to discuss the possibility of a full scale evacuation with anyone other than British officials. So my question is why would us prefer not to be transparent to the partners who without hesitation took arms to support the US after 9-11. So first of all, what the Washington post is reporting on are the raw materials that went into the Abbey Gate investigation, which you all we were briefed on Friday. So these documents that were released under the Freedom of Information Act are really the raw material that went to that investigation about Abbey Gate. Uh, and in the course of that investigation, clearly lots of uh, lots of questions were asked and answered. I would refer you to the documents. I’m not going to be in a position where I’m uh Relitigating every single statement made across the course of what is about 2000 pages. What I would tell you is this This was a tough mission over the course of 17 days. And what those documents reveal, if you look at any of them is a lot of good people. And I’m not just talking about in the military. I’m talking about with our State Department colleagues and our and to your point our coalition partners and allies, a lot of good people, making a lot of tough decisions in unrelenting circumstances, very difficult circumstances with as an increasingly desperate uh crowd of afghans who were trying to to leave the country. Um, and we’ve been nothing but honest and open about the fact that it wasn’t perfect in every regard. We’ve got an after action review going on right now. We’re going to learn from the mistakes were made. But we’re also very proud of the fact that together with our interagency colleagues at the State Department, Brave diplomats who are on those gates with our marines with our coalition and allied partners, that 124,000 people were safely evacuated from Afghanistan. That’s no mean feat. You know, one of the things we don’t talk about today is the fact that we’ve got just over 6000 now um Afghans that are on two military bases here at home. I mean tens of thousands of afghans are now starting new lives in this country because of the work that the inter agency did, not just the military, we housed them provided a safe and secure environment but HHS was involved and DHS was involved and the State Department was involved. There was a lot of good work that was done here. I’m not going to relitigate every single document in that uh, in that trove there, that’s on the, on the Foia website. You can read it for yourself but I would beseech you as you do that to just not forget the larger perspective here of what we were able to get done. Mike breast Washington examiner. Oh Mr Kirby thanks for taking my question back in December. You said that there were active discussions going on about mandating the coronavirus booster vaccine. Where does that stand right now? No decisions to speak to mike with respect to any decisions on um, making the booster mandatory. I think we’re still examining that joe Gould defense news. Hi john, thanks for taking my call. Um, the American Federation of Government Employees. It’s America’s largest federal employee union um wrote a letter urging lawmakers to repeal a series of caps on civilian workers at pentagon headquarters functions. And their argument is that, um, those roles are being filled by, um, uh, an inflated contractor workforce. Um, would the pentagon welcome that move by lawmakers if, if they decide to follow the recommendation of the union joe I’m gonna have to take your question there partner. I am not aware of that letter or that issue and uh, I don’t think it’d be good for me to speculate on that. So let me take that question, we’ll get back to you, Carla, just jump going back really quickly to jen and to bob’s question. So can you confirm the details that troops that are currently in Poland are setting up tents, checkpoints and other things to prepare for an evacuation. Currently I know of no tents that are being set up right now, Carla again, there’s only sort of Less than half of the leading elements that are there, the 1700 that we talked about. Um, that’s not the whole of the 82nd airborne uh, 1700. Um, uh, so it’s, it’s not even the whole unit itself and that’s 1700. About less than half of them are on the ground right now. Um I can’t speak to uh specifically whether tents are being set up again, they would be prepared to do that kind of thing. And I I certainly am not going to rule out that in coming days or weeks that they might be setting up um some temporary facilities just in case there’s a need to in case there are Americans who are coming across that border and need help. They’re trained to do that. They’re trained to do a lot of things. That’s that’s one thing they’re trained to do, but this isn’t, and we’ve been very clear, we’re not talking about a classic noncombatant evacuation operation where you’re sending in great tales and flying people out, that’s that’s not what’s envisioned here. And frankly, again, I hate to be redundant, but I’m gonna be it doesn’t need to come to that. I mean, if if if things work out the way they should, there will be no reason uh for them to handle any evacuees, because there won’t have been an invasion, another invasion by Mr Putin and Russian military forces. And even if that is the course that happens, another invasion, um If Americans are listening listening carefully and following the guidance by the State Department and by the President of the United States, they they should be leaving now. They should have been leaving before now. And there’s plenty of ways to do that. Just by going to keep on jumping on an airplane and leaving or getting in a car and driving across the country. I mean it’s, you know, there’s, it’s not a military conflict zone right now and there’s no reason why it should, has Poland been designated as the evacuation point? Should it come to that? I know, I don’t think that there’s a, we’ve designated specific evacuation points in this. This will be something that the 82nd and the and the general Walters as the European command commander would be thinking about. I don’t know if he’s made final decisions on that right now. Again, um, uh, there we want to be ready for everything. We would ask that Americans in Ukraine also make themselves ready and do the right thing for themselves and for their families and and not travel to Ukraine. And if they’re in Ukraine to leave Ukraine while there’s time and certainly every capacity and capability to do so safely and efficiently through normal commercial transportation. You said that no additional troops have gone to europe but have any additional troops in the United States been placed on high alert since you last updated us. Not that I’m aware of. Okay, thank you, john first I have a question on Ukraine. So you’re asking thousands of Americans families to upend their lives in Ukraine and live, which is not an easy decision to make as, as you know, why should they do that based on what up until now you say, we don’t know where, we don’t think Putin has made a decision. We don’t have the intelligence to say whether this is going to happen or not. So you’re asking them to make such a crucial decision that will have major implications on their lives without giving them any real information that there’s an imminent threat. That’s what I’m getting at is I think I’m going to take issue with the question there. First of all, we’re advising them to do this and the State Department has, I don’t want to speak for my State Department colleagues, but they’ve been very clear about that guidance and that and that advice obviously, uh we can’t make them do it, they have to make those decisions for themselves. Um and I think 40, you’ve been sitting on these briefings as well as anybody else. We’ve been nothing but clear about the continued military build up along that border with Ukraine and Belarus, uh and the continued military options that Mr Putin has available to him. We have been I think extraordinarily transparent um about uh the possibilities of military conflict inside Ukraine. Um And so we made no bones about that. And and in our best judgment as a government. Our advice is that this is not the time to be going to Ukraine. It’s not the time to be staying in Ukraine, each of these families, you’re right, these were not saying their easy decisions, we understand that and they’re gonna have to make these decisions for themselves and as appropriate. All we can do all we must do as a government is give them the best advice and guidance we can based on the information that we’re seeing and what and what we know to be the case on the ground. So that’s what we’re doing. Ask another question. Sure. So do you, I asked a couple of days ago again about the operation against ISIS leader Hiroshi Northeastern Syria, do you have any updates on whether you revise the number of civilian casualties during that operation Tony Capasso of Bloomberg. Hey john sorry, I accidentally muted myself. I have a budget question Fy 23 budget question yesterday. Secretary Warm with confirmed that the D O. D. Is not your received top line guidance from O M. B. Which isn’t surprising since D O D said over its desired number in mid january. But here’s my question, what is the current D O. D inflation estimate for Fy 23? It was 2.2% for 20 for 22. There’s a lot of interest in this subject and I know DOD. has an inflation estimate for 23. What is it Tony but I will take your questions. Um Sylvie written answer. Hello. Hello john, thank you. Um I have actually three questions first. I want to know if you have any, you have any any indication about more Russian troops arrivals at the border with Ukraine. I want to know if you have any detail on the arrival of Russian bombers in Kaliningrad and also the Russian uh, Chief of Defense General Gerasimov has arrived in Belarus today um as the exercise military exercises going to start, I wanted to know if for you, it’s something usual or if you find his presence on the ground concerning concerned by his presence on the ground. He’s the Chief of Defense for uh, for his military, it’s not uncommon for Chiefs of Defense to observe exercises. I think you have to look at it in the context of what’s going on. Obviously. Um, we’re not looking at this exercise in a vacuum. Um, uh, and we understand that senior military leaders are very much involved in facilitating this build up build up, which we believe is destabilizing and unnecessary has nothing to do uh, since since NATO is not a threat uh, to Russian sovereignty, since Ukraine is not a threat to Russian sovereignty, there should be no reason for this build up. So we obviously are viewing this certainly in light of what’s going on, but but his presence alone at this exercise is not setting off alarm bells here at the pentagon. Um, I’m not going to talk about the Russian bomber deployments. I’ve, I think I’ve made it very clear and continue to do so that I am not going to put the United States Department of Defense in the position of speaking to Russian military movements with great specificity, um, that we, we can speak for our own. Um, but I’m not gonna detail on a day to day basis. Uh, every movement of every unit inside the Russian armed forces. Um, and as for uh, troop numbers build up your first question. We have continued to see even over the last 24 hours, additional capabilities flow from elsewhere in Russia to that border with Ukraine and in Belarus As before we’re not going to get into it, uh, providing specific numbers, but that, but the numbers continue to grow. Uh, we maintain that he’s north of 100,000 for sure. And he continues to add to that capability. We also see indications that additional battalion tactical groups are on their way. Uh, and so every day he adds to his options every day. He adds to his capabilities every day. Um, he continues to destabilize what is already a very tense situation and he could easily destabilize by moving these forces back home. Um, and by committing to a diplomatic path forward Caitlin Doornbos from stars and stripes. Hey john, I’m following up on some previous questions. I know you’ve got no ongoing plans for evacuation, but I just want to see if you can confirm that the pentagon has received approval from the White House to evacuate civilians from Ukraine should Russia invade. And then also, I know you you’re being pretty tight lipped on north of 100,000. But I think we’ve been at north of 100,000 for about six weeks now. Is there anything more you can give us as far as I’ve seen, reporting them all the way up to 140,000. 470,000. Thank you today. No Caitlin, I’m just gonna stick it north of 100,000. Um but he does continue to add to his capabilities. And look in terms of the approval process. I mean you guys have been covering this place long enough. You know I mean the secretaries, the the top of the chain of command here in the military at the department anyway the commander in chief, the President is at the top top of the chain of command in terms of uh the use of the United States military. So um Secretary issues the orders but on on an issue of this importance. From a geopolitical perspective, of course there’s going to be interagency discussion and of course um there’s going to be the involvement by the president and decisions of this nature Nancy. Youssef Yeah, thank you. I’d like to go back to your answers about embedding and why um journalists can’t do so. Um you said that among the reasons was um that embedding was um that you’re considering the national security interests and that the U. S. Wanted diplomacy to play out. But journalists were embedded in the run up to the 2003 invasion when the U. S. Also was hoping diplomacy will prevail. And I’m having a hard time understanding how less transparency reflects the national security interests of the nation that promotes freedom of press worldwide. So I was hoping you could give us more a more specific answer on why journalists can embed with deployed troops and what the process will be going forward in light of the P. P. A. Letter. Thank you. Thanks Nancy. I do think uh again I stand by what I said to bob. We obviously uh respect the job that you do and appreciate it. Um and we try to provide as much transparency and access as we can. It oftentimes is not as much as you want and and I get there’s a natural tension there, there are a lot of factors that go into making decisions about access to you. I mean even just how many briefings we’re going to do every week is not something we do accidentally. Um We make these decisions very deliberately and they are nested inside larger national security goals and national security efforts and I fully appreciate that not all of our decisions are going to be popular. Um uh and uh I do think Uh comparing this to 2003 in Iraq is not a fair comparison. Uh This is uh this is a modest number of forces that are redeploying or I’m sorry relocating um to uh to provide reassurance to allies And as as measured against the percentage of 80 some odd 1000 troops that are already in europe. It’s a it’s a pretty small addition. Um and it’s really done about on reassurance. Uh, so if there’s a change in the approach that that we’re going to take care of the department, I will absolutely let you know. I do appreciate the concerns that have been very clearly communicated. And again we respect those concerns And um and uh we have obviously duly passed those concerns on up the chain of command. Pierre john I’m here. Shipmate you there? Yes. I have a question Iran today announced that they have a new ballistic missile. Do you have any early assessment of uh this missile? Uh If it is also the injuries to U. S. Soldiers and two allies in the area. I have not seen the announcement by Iran that they have a new ballistic missile program. So I I don’t have any specific to say that that said we have, I continually watched as Iran has improved their ballistic missile program. Uh and we are keenly aware of the regional threats that that ballistic missile program poses. Which is why we’re working so hard with allies and partners in the region to be able to counter those kinds of threats and to make sure that we are contributing to their self defense needs as well. Okay, I’ve got time for one more. and I’d like to go to anna Maria from Romania tv right there, man, okay. It looks like ana Maria was not there. Does anybody else have one more referring today the Iran reviewed the new missile. It’s the high bar um shaken, It’s 900 miles and it runs on solid fuel so it puts us bases in Israel within within range. And then it’s been announced today at the heels of the new round of negotiations in Vienna concerning the Iran nuclear nuclear program. So how do you do you think Iran is messaging something to to the U. S. And Israel? And again, I can’t speak to this announcement Friday. I haven’t seen it. So I’d rather reserve comment on a missile. They claim they have, I just don’t have anything specific on that. You guys are as always a little bit ahead of me in terms of what’s out there in the new space. Um, but as to your question are they are they messaging frankly, we see their malign activities as much more than messaging. I mean they are malign activities on their own. They are destabilizing in the region. They’re supporting terrorist groups across the region. They are harassing maritime shipping. They are advancing a ballistic missile program that is designed for offensive purposes to to inflict harm and damage uh potentially lethal. So on on other states, other people’s and our allies and partners. Um we don’t we don’t look at this as a messaging issue. We look at it as a legitimate national security threat issue in the region, to our people, to our facilities and to those of our allies and partners. Alright. Thanks everybody. Yeah.

Share with Friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.