Senior Navy Official and Senior Protection Official Maintain a Background Briefing > U.S. Division of Protection > Transcript

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, everybody for becoming a member of us right now. Earlier than we kick issues off only a reminder that right now’s briefing can be on background. Our two briefers would be the (redacted), and me, (redacted). You could attribute (redacted) feedback to a Senior Protection Official and my feedback to a Senior Navy Official. I am going to flip it over to our senior protection official in a second who will present some transient remarks, after which I am going to present a short ops replace, after which we’ll be glad to take your questions. We do have a restricted period of time right now. So, we are going to name on reporters and simply ask that you just restrict your comply with ups. And once more, right now’s briefing is on background.

With that. Let me flip it over to our senior protection official.


Hello. I assumed I simply the context, along with the battle that you just’re seeing unfold, which I do know (SMO) will communicate to is we simply returned from the fifth assembly of the Ukraine Protection Contact Group that Secretary Austin has convened on this time once more in Ramstein the place we began and 48 nations (inaudible – AUDIO ISSUE)

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  OK, are you able to hear us now? Did you hear (inaudible)?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Nice. OK. So, 48 nations and two worldwide organizations. The — there have been two I’d bucket the main focus of our goals and our achievements on the assembly, as first to proceed to make sure that all of the nations who’ve been contributing and has been collaborating are conscious of and delivering the capabilities that Ukraine wants proper now for the battle towards Russia, on in Ukraine to defend the nation and retain Ukrainian sovereignty. And at this assembly, there was a robust focus as effectively on what is important to supply Ukraine capabilities over the medium to long run, recognizing that Russia wants to grasp that the worldwide neighborhood stands behind Ukraine, that Russia cannot depend by some means on holding out and ready till the worldwide neighborhood weakens, that the message is clearly that we’re fascinated by each by way of the protection industrial base having the ability to present the capabilities that Ukraine wants sooner or later for an efficient protection and due to this fact efficient deterrence, and the sorts of coaching that Ukraine would require. We have all been engaged on coaching within the quick context to have the ability to assist the Ukrainian battle right now. However as we glance down the highway, what sorts of various coaching applications will Ukraine require? And so, these have been the main focus of each side of the Contact Group. And nations have been actually united in that long run perspective, in addition to ensuring that they are targeted on persevering with the availability of capabilities for Ukraine instantly.


And I am going to present a fast ops replace right here. So, right now is 201 of Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked large-scale invasions of Ukraine. There is definitely loads of reporting on Ukraine’s ahead motion over the previous day, so I am going to intention to maintain that in context of what we have seen in additional than six months of preventing. And as at all times, we’re delicate to the truth that Ukrainians are actively engaged in fight operations as they battle to defend their nation and take again territory from Russia’s invasion. So, I will not discuss to potential future operations or talk about areas that would violate operations safety, and we’ll depart it to the Ukrainians to explain their operations, however it’s clear they’re preventing arduous.

Usually, across the battlefield, general, we assess the Ukrainians are making progress as they battle to liberate and reclaim territory within the south and east. On the bottom within the neighborhood of Kharkiv, we assess that Russian forces have largely ceded their features to the Ukrainians and have withdrawn. To the north and east many of those forces have moved over the border into Russia. We additionally assess that Ukrainian forces have very probably taken management of Kupiansk and Izium along with smaller villages. Notably, we’re conscious of anecdotal experiences of deserted gear, Russian gear, which could possibly be indicative of Russia’s disorganized command and management. It’s our evaluation that Russian forces proceed to focus effort from Seversk to Bakhmut, and Bakhmut continues to seem like the main focus of the place Russian forces try to achieve floor. We proceed to see heavy use of artillery and airstrikes.

Zaporizhzhia, as a lot of you will have probably seen, the IAEA has reported the final reactor has been shut down and put into its most secure state. And we proceed to look at shelling within the space close to the plant. Within the neighborhood of Kherson, we proceed to see deliberate and calibrated operations by the Ukrainians to incorporate some average ahead motion. And on the maritime facet, by way of the maritime image, we’d assess the Russians have a couple of dozen ships underway within the Black Sea that features caliber succesful ships which have contributed to strikes in Ukraine and supporting the Russian invasion. We additionally proceed to see grain shipments transferring safely. Within the air, we assess the airspace over Ukraine stays contested, and that Russians have carried out elevated airstrikes over the weekend, many impacting civilian infrastructure which have contributed to widespread blackouts.

And with that, we’re glad to take your questions. I am going to begin with AP (Lita Baldor).

Q:  Hello, thanks. For — for (SMO), are you able to, you talked about kind of wanting down the highway at coaching. Are you able to give us a way of the kinds of coaching that’s being thought-about for the Ukrainians form of sooner or later and what the U.S. could be keen to do? After which (SDO), are you able to give us a way of whether or not or not the U.S. is seeing any proof of Russian troops both regrouping or coalescing, or is it — is it scattered? Do you see any form of effort for Russia to try to regain some battle rhythm?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Certain. On coaching, the USA is already has been for a few months now been coaching Ukrainian forces on the best way to function among the newer, extra trendy capabilities that we’ve been supplying to Ukraine over the previous few months, in addition to upkeep, restore and sustainment of these capabilities. So, we will surely proceed that space of coaching. Some nations have begun to spend money on and work on primary coaching for incoming Ukrainian troopers. And the leaders mentioned wanting ahead, then the following logical step in that development, which is larger stage unit coaching, persevering with to take a look at ensuring that you’ve got the kind of coaching for capabilities which may be being delivered sooner or later issues that, for instance, the USA, has now moved ahead to obtain for Ukraine by USAI system — air protection programs reminiscent of NASAMS. So, we stay dedicated to creating certain that Ukraine has the coaching that it must successfully make use of weapon programs and protection programs that we’ll be offering, but additionally that full vary of primary to larger unit coaching, larger stage unit coaching that they’re going to require for an efficient army.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  And Lita, by way of what we’re seeing the Russians as talked about, they actually have gave the impression to be withdrawn from that Kharkiv space that I highlighted. When it comes to what they do subsequent, actually, I do not need to speculate. We have seen experiences, in fact, popping out of Russia saying that they intend to redeploy or to recommit. However that is one thing that we’ll proceed to watch and regulate. Finally, our focus proper now’s on persevering with to supply the Ukrainians with what they want, broadly talking, on this engagement, however so far as what the Russians do, you understand.

All proper. Let’s go to Dan Lamonthe, Washington Publish.

Q:  Hey, good afternoon. A query for both of you if I may please. For (SMO), the video games over the weekend are encouraging for Ukrainian within the West, however can you set them into broader context? It nonetheless looks as if went a good distance up in negotiations and it nonetheless looks as if this might, you understand, in all probability drag on for years or months at the very least. After which, for (SDO), please, the features by Ukraine have sparked a dialog about broader assist. The German Minister this morning fielded questions on whether or not to ship fighter jets, battle tanks, the Lithuanian Minister has raised the identical. Do you suppose these features in current days modified the sport in any respect by way of the form of assist U.S. officers ought to present? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, thanks, Dan. So, by way of offering the strategic context, you understand, this continues to be a troublesome battle for the Ukrainians. Clearly, they’ve gained again some floor close to Kharkiv, and so they proceed to conduct counter offensive operations within the south. And so, I do not suppose there’s any false impression that this may proceed to be a troublesome battle. And, once more, our focus can be to proceed to work carefully with the Ukrainians and the worldwide neighborhood to supply them with the assist that they want, as they push again on the Russian invaders.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Yeah and fascinated by future capabilities that Ukraine would require as you notice, that is now a matter of not simply non-public, however even public dialogue. Clearly, leaders throughout Europe and the worldwide neighborhood are starting to consider that long run context. I’d say we are going to proceed, the USA will proceed with our method, which we expect has been profitable up to now, which is before everything, to be in fixed contact and dialog with Ukrainian armed forces to grasp how they see their wants. Second, to categorize these wants by way of sorts of capabilities to attain sure goals, reminiscent of, for instance, air protection capabilities. After which third, to consider particular programs that will convey these capabilities successfully to the Ukrainians in a sustainable method. So, for instance, within the air protection house, UAVs, each strike and surveillance UAVs and people trendy air protection capabilities. That is only one space of capabilities for instance. Definitely, fighter plane is one thing to contemplate as a part of you what Ukraine’s necessities could be going ahead. They do at present possess fighter plane, and so they’ve been efficient underneath powerful situations in making use of these in some regards. So, that should be a part of — that is one other instance of a functionality that should be a part of an evaluation of that medium to long run, which we are going to do in shut session with the Ukrainians.

Q:  If I may comply with up there. What is the DoD perspective at this level on the battle tank dialogue?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  You realize, once more, the Ukrainians are displaying that they’re fairly efficient within the counter offensive in utilizing armor as a part of their counter offensive. So, clearly, that form of functionality is essential. However we have no particular plans a couple of particular functionality at this level for that medium to long run fascinated by precise applications of provision.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Let’s go to Oren Lieberman, CNN.

Q:  Hey, two fast questions, if I could. Sorry about that. Simply took me some time to unmute.

First, I used to be questioning for those who can provide us an replace on the Ukrainian Air Drive. It has been a while since we have gotten an replace on background on, you understand, what kind of numbers of sorties are they flying? And are they — have they expanded the kind of vary of operations or what they’re capable of do, particularly given the HARMS and different capabilities the U.S. has given them? After which extra broadly talking, given Russian failures, withdrawals on the battlefield right here, is there a U.S. concern that Putin may escalate not directly that he hasn’t completed earlier than, whether or not that is some kind of chemical organic assaults and going nuclear? Does that seem extra probably now that did, say, two weeks in the past?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, thanks very a lot, Oren. When it comes to the Ukrainian Air Drive, I am not going to, you understand, for operational safety causes, I am not going to have the ability to talk about that stage of element, and I am going to refer you to the Ukrainians to speak about their present operations so far as their air power goes. Clearly, as was talked about, they’ve an Air Drive, and so they have an air functionality that they are using. When it comes to, you understand, potential escalation from the Russians, actually nothing, particularly, indicating that that could possibly be the case. We’re monitoring that carefully. Definitely, as evidenced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we’ve seen what they’re able to doing. But it surely’s one thing that we’ll proceed to regulate.

Q:  Thanks.


Let’s go forward and go to Howard Altman, WarZone.

Q:  Thanks. Sorry, I needed to discover the unmute. A few questions. Initially, Ukrainians are speaking about worrying about consolidation as they transfer ahead, significantly within the Kharkiv offensive. How involved are you about them being overextended and having a — being vulnerable to Russia counterattack? That is one query. The second query is, are you seeing — We’re seeing some chatter on social media about assaults within the Rostov space, the Taganrog airbase, et cetera. Are you seeing something alongside these traces? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Howard. Yeah, by way of, you understand, the place the Ukrainians are and what they’re fascinated by potential Russian operations, I would refer you to them to speak about that facet of the marketing campaign. And I am sorry, are you able to say your second a part of your query once more?

Q:  Yeah, certain. So, are you seeing any indication of assaults on Russian bases within the east of the Azov Sea Rostov space, that Taganrog airbase? There’s been some on-line reporting about that, however are you seeing something alongside these traces?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I haven’t got something on that, Howard. Thanks, although.

All proper. Let’s go to Mike Brest, Washington Examiner.

Q:  Hello, thanks for taking my query. May you please give us an replace on Russia’s use or try to obtain weapons from any international nations? Iran, North Korea or any third occasion? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yep. Thanks very a lot, Mike. Nicely, as has been talked about, you understand, they’ve acquired supply of some drones from Iran and have additionally reached out to North Korea to request ammunition. Past that I haven’t got any new updates to supply.

Let’s go to Jack Destch, Overseas Coverage.

Q:  Thanks a lot. I am simply curious for those who can describe militarily the elements that contributed to the Russian collapse? I imply, are these all items melting away? Have been the Ukrainians scoring casualties right here? And simply an replace, for those who may, on what the U.S. is aware of about something occurring with Russian unit morale after these Ukrainian features?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so broadly talking, what I’d say Jack is that the Ukrainians have basically introduced the Russians with a number of dilemmas alongside the ahead line of troops, so to talk. And so, we have seen the Ukrainians used to nice impact, the capabilities that they’ve throughout the battlefield, to vary the battlefield dynamics. And so, whereas once more, you understand, it is actually for Russia to reply the query by way of why their forces reacted the way in which that they did up within the Kharkiv area, it’s indicative of the experiences that we have seen by way of low morale, logistics points, the shortcoming to maintain operations. And so, once more, that is one thing that you want to regulate. However I believe, once more, you are seeing only a change within the equation in the case of the dynamics on the battlefield.

Alright, let’s go to Jim Garimone, DoD News.

Q:  Thanks. Thanks for doing this. (SDO), throughout the throughout the contact assembly, the Secretary mentioned the following assembly would come with the protection industrial base chief. So, I am questioning if there’s just a little extra to that just a little extra granularity to that. And (SDO) I am simply I am simply curious, what are the experiences of prisoners taken by the Ukrainians? Are they — are they taking prisoners? Any thought of the scope of that?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  OK, Jim, on now, I used to be listening to your canine bark. So, I forgot what your query was. I am sorry. I used to be attempting to think about what sort of canine you will have. (inaudible) The following assembly of the Contact Group. So, the following the assembly that was introduced will not be the Contact Group itself. It will be a gathering underneath the auspices of the contract group, and it might be we count on a subset of contact group members who want to convey collectively their nationwide armaments administrators to fulfill with Undersecretary LaPlante, who’s the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment. To comply with up on some normal however clear dedication to fascinated by protection industrial base points to ensure that not solely can we proceed to maintain provision of capabilities to Ukraine, but additionally that we proceed to maintain robust protection capabilities on the a part of allies and companions in addition to ourselves. So, that will be the main focus of that assembly. It’s at present deliberate for late in December (EDITORS NOTE: The assembly will happen in October), I refer you to A&S for his or her particular plans on that, however I believe they’re transferring ahead with these plans.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  After which, Jim, to your query on prisoners, I’ve actually seen press experiences on that. However I’d refer you to the Ukrainians to speak about any, any points of their operations in that regard.

OK, let’s go to Laura Seligman from Politico.

Q:  Hey, thanks for doing this. Only a couple questions for you, (SMO). Are you able to discuss in regards to the operation in Kharkiv? How, how far do you assess that these, these forces are going to have the ability to get with the restricted manpower that they’ve? How far east Do you suppose they are going to have the ability to push? What is the evaluation? After which for you, (SDO), I am simply questioning, I am looking forward to the south. And what occurs if the Ukrainians begin to attempt to push into Crimea or attempt to launch assaults into Crimea? Would the U.S. be in assist of one thing like that? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Laura. All proper. So, in, you understand, as I discussed, I do not need to speculate about, you understand, potential future operations. You realize, as I highlighted, the Ukrainians have made some features within the Kharkiv area. However once more, by way of speculating on how far they may go, or what their plans are, that is actually one thing for them to speak about.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Yeah. I believe that solutions additionally your query about Ukrainian successes within the south in Khierson, and you understand, the place it would lead them. I’d simply say, you understand, our place is kind of clear and constant that we assist Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And the Ukrainians will make their very own decisions about how they conduct political and army insurance policies to maintain their territorial integrity and sovereignty. However we’ve a principled assist for Ukraine in these goals.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Go to Tara Copp, Protection One.

Q:  Hey, thanks for doing this. Jack grabbed my questions. Nicely completed. However I do have form of a comply with on to that. I used to be questioning, what you assess to be the distinction maker right here. Is it simply — was it a matter of time that Russian forces are lastly being worn down? Or do you suppose it was a particular mixture of apparatus coaching location? Why now principally, is the battle appear to be turning?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, what we have seen since you understand, Russia’s I believe we – that is an understatement – ill-advised invasion of Ukraine, is that the Russian management was political and army management made quite a lot of miscalculation, actually huge miscalculations, not solely in regards to the worldwide neighborhood’s assist for Ukraine, Ukrainian skills, however in regards to the capabilities of their very own forces, the Russian army was riven with every kind of weaknesses that weren’t obvious to the management and possibly ought to have been. And we noticed numerous these weaknesses play out within the failure to — within the preliminary goal of seizing keys and overthrowing the federal government. So, in that sense, it was only a matter of time earlier than these basic assets started to have their affect on the Russian operations within the east the place they, you understand, thought that they had a bonus. However numerous the important thing components of a robust protection are the capabilities of your troopers, the capabilities of logistics, and command, and we have seen fractures in all of these components, and so they performed out in lots of locations in over time within the east.


Let’s go to Tony Capaccio, of Bloomberg.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Hello, for senior protection official, (you) talked about a number of dilemmas that the Ukrainians have been presenting to the Russians. Are you able to stroll by in an English some, what are a few of these a number of dilemmas and the way the weapons we have offered has helped create these a number of dilemmas.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Certain. Thanks, Tony. And that was me, senior army official. So, actually, for those who take a look at the totality of the battlespace that we’re speaking in regards to the operations within the Khierson area in addition to Kharkiv, in addition to within the central line there. The Ukrainians are conducting operations which are forcing the Russians to make choices on the battlefield about the place they are going to apply their assets, and the way, and so what we have seen is the Ukrainians making use of the capabilities that they’ve to incorporate these which have been offered by the U.S. and our allies and companions like HIMARS, GMLRs, HARM missiles to be able to once more change the dynamics on the battlefield. And so, that is, once more, compelling the Russians to should make choices and determine the place they are going to expend their assets. And as we have seen, given the challenges that they’ve, from a sustainment and logistics standpoint, in addition to from a command-and-control standpoint, it is a very arduous downside to unravel.

Q:  One comply with up, how deeply concerned was the Pentagon in serving to plan or talk about this northeast offensive? We’re all caught unaware of I imply, we deeply concerned by way of the discussions and offering intelligence.


SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, you have been in shut contact with and dialog with Ukrainian army and we, you understand, that they had a number of choices. We actually present them with data on, you understand, on situations. However in the long run, it is a Ukrainian alternative. The Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian political management made the selections on the best way to conduct this counter offensive.

Q:  OK, you were not shocked, and DoD as an establishment, otherwise you as a senior official following this? Shock on this northeast offensive?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, it is form of a number one query. So, yeah, I imply, clearly, as was highlighted, I imply, we’re in common communication, sharing data with the Ukrainians, however on the finish of the day, they make their choices on their operational plans, and when they are going to execute.

Q:  OK, thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Let’s go to have time for only a couple extra, we’ll go to Louis Martinez, ABC.

Q:  I’ve a query for each of the officers. It is relating to what senior army official simply spoke about, which was the impact that the weaponry from the West has had and altering the dynamic on the battlefield? Are you able to say that it was truly pivotal on this new motion that we’re seeing this new offensive within the northeast? As a result of it laid — it formed the battlefield in such a method that it hadn’t been earlier than? So, simply are you able to speak about how pivotal that was? In the least bit? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, Tony, I am going to simply form of present some ideas, after which flip it over to the senior protection official if there’s anything. However once more, for those who step again, and also you take a look at the assist that the U.S. and the worldwide neighborhood are offering to Ukraine, by way of the capabilities that they are bringing to the battlefield to defend their nation, I believe that has been extremely useful. However once more, on the finish of the day, it is the Ukrainians which are within the battle, and so they’re those which are utilizing this gear, to fight the Russians and defend their homeland. So, you understand, actually a lot of the credit score, if not most of it goes to the Ukrainians and what they’re doing to make use of these capabilities to nice impact.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  And I’d simply say that communication was very important in serving to us perceive early in the summertime with the Ukrainian noticed earlier than them. And initially, they noticed earlier than them the artillery battle that the Russians supposed to wage. And that actually drove our focus early in the summertime on offering by PDA packages, the 155 millimeter and different howitzers, and ammunition. After which (the) Ukrainians have been very clear that they noticed that the Russians had the benefit of the truth that on the time, Ukraine didn’t have precision strike capabilities. And so, the Russians had, you understand, logistics nodes, command and management nodes, staging areas for his or her troops. And it was at that time that, once more, with the method the place they mentioned they wanted the aptitude to handle that. That is after we began specializing in the potential for offering the HIMARS and GMLR system. So, it’s completely a partnership and in listening to the Ukrainians, understanding what they’re seeing, after which seeing what we will do to supply them with capabilities to handle that want.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  We have got time for another query. We’ll go to Courtney Kube, NBC.

Q:  Hey, hey, are you able to guys, there’s been some experiences that the Russian army hasn’t deployed any further battalion tactical teams into Ukraine, and appears to have suspended future fight deployments. Are you able to touch upon that? Are you seeing any further deployments of Russian army items into Ukraine?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, Courtney, that not — I haven’t got any data to supply on that.

Q:  So, I imply, it is one thing that we have truly had previously the place we have been capable of get on these briefings, the numbers of Russian items which have been which are in have been deployed, or is that one thing you’ll be able to take? There’s — there is a precedent to offering…

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, that is form of answering your query with the double adverse, however I’d say we’ve not seen Russian the Russian authorities not deploying further troops to Ukraine. How’s that?

Q:  You have not seen them not deploy. So, you, you’re nonetheless seeing them deploy further items.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  I am unable to affirm that they don’t seem to be deploying further items to Ukraine.

Q:  OK.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  OK. All proper. Thanks very a lot, women and gents. That is on a regular basis we’ve right now. Have an incredible day trip right here.

Supply hyperlink