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DoD News Briefing with Lt. Gen. Lute and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Kimmitt from the Pentagon

Presenters: Director of Operations, J-3, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East, Mark Kimmitt
February 09, 2007
            GEN. LUTE: Good afternoon. Let me start with just a couple of opening comments on the real theme of today's session, which is progress in what we call the center of gravity in Iraq, which is Baghdad City proper. And then we'll open ourselves up to questions. 
 
            First of all, operations to secure Baghdad are today under way, but we're really only in the very early phases of that operation.   
 
            The aim, of course, is to break the cycle of sectarian violence and thereby provide time and space to the Iraqi political structure to give them an opportunity to assume more fully complete political, economic and military lead in their own country. The Iraqis, of course, for the operation are in the lead, and we're in support. 
 
            The plan, as you probably know, calls for setting up a combined Iraqi army and Iraqi police command structure under a single commander. Today Lieutenant General Abboud is that single commander. He's in command of what they call the Baghdad Command. And he has two division commanders subordinate to him, one -- (to staff) -- if we can have the Baghdad map, please -- one in command of brigades east of the Tigris and the other in command of Iraqi brigades west of the Tigris. 
 
            There are seven Baghdad districts shown up here on the map, and there are now Iraqi brigades assigned to seven of those nine. Eventually all nine will be covered by Iraqi brigades. And in those seven districts that have Iraqi brigades, there are seven U.S. battalions currently partnered with those Iraqi brigades. 
 
            Within these districts, we're beginning to see another indicator of progress with the security plan, and that is the opening of the first JSS. Those are joint security stations. These are relatively small 24/7 operations centers which will be jointly manned by Iraqi army, Iraqi national police -- sort of the paramilitary organizations -- Iraqi local police and their U.S. support chain. 
 
            Ten of these stations are now open today, and eventually there will be about three times that number. And these will be the centerpieces of 24/7 presence in the districts. 
 
            We're also beginning to see the stand-up and rehearsals of Iraqi and U.S. reserve units at multiple levels of command -- so at the battalion and brigade level. This, of course, is very important, that we have reserve set before we enter into full-fledged clearing operations.   
 
            Now, I guess probably the best summary, in short, is to say that early progress has been made. We're beginning to see good, solid evidence across all the lines of commitment made by the Iraqi government, but it's very soon in the -- it's very early in the operation. We're just in the opening days. 
 
            By way of incoming or inbound troop reinforcements, I can report that the first of three Iraqi brigades due to join their brothers in Baghdad is now operating in the city.  The second Iraqi brigade is enroute, and the third is programmed to deploy later this month. 
 
            On the U.S. side, of course we have five brigades headed that way. The first, the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne, is operating in Baghdad today, and the second of the five brigades is enroute to Kuwait and then later to Baghdad. Brigades, as we say, numbers 18, 19 and 20, if you follow the math, are all still here in the states doing preparatory training. 
 
            So in summary, so far so good. But we're in the very early days of what will be a very deliberate campaign that will unfold only over several months, and we should not expect quick, easy or dramatic results. 
 
            And with that, Mark and I are ready to take your questions. 
 
            Q     Sir, not specifically about the Baghdad operation, but an al Qaeda-linked group has posted a web video in recent hours that they purport is the shooting down of a U.S. military helicopter on Wednesday. Can you bring us up to date on that scene -- what you know about that downing and the recent spate of all -- 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Sure. Let me put that event into a somewhat broader context. Over the course of the last -- about three weeks, we've had six episodes of attacks -- casualty-producing attacks on helicopters. Four of those were against U.S. military helicopters and two against contractor helicopters for a total of six. Of those six, so far investigations suggest or reveal that two of the six were directly attributable to enemy fire while our helicopters were in close contact with the enemy. So these were sort of what we call troop in contact scenarios, so the helicopters were in close contact. 
 
            Another two of the six are believed to have been downed by enemy fire while those helicopters were not in contact with the enemy, and the remaining two for other than enemy contact purposes. So one, we think, may have been pilot error, a wire strike, and the other is now indicated to be a mechanical failure. So it was a variety of causes for this pattern of six. 
 
            As for the videos, you know, this enemy is very astute in the use of the media. He has in the past a pattern of posting things on the websites and claiming responsibility for attacks that did or did not occur and in some cases other attacks which occurred but were clearly not attributable to him specific but he claimed responsibility nonetheless. So I'd be very cautious about drawing conclusions from things that are posted on the Internet. 
 
            Q     Just to follow up there, General, are you saying that the helicopter which crashed on Wednesday -- is that the one you're attributing to mechanical failure? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: The early indications on this last -- so that the sixth in this pattern -- is mechanical failure. 
 
            Q     Can I follow up on that a little bit more? So four of six are attributable to enemy fire, right? And I mean, can you just take that a little further? Has there been an uptick in attacks, you know, on the ground against coalition helicopters?  I mean, what's the -- do you have any explanation for the -- is there an increase in enemy activity directed at helicopters I guess is what -- 
 
            GEN. LUTE: It's really too soon to tell. 
 
            And because of -- for several reasons. First of all, we're still looking into all these episodes. And second of all, if the pattern does prove out, as I suggested, sort of two, two and two, by way of cause and effect, those very small number of incidents in total wouldn't reflect an overall change in pattern. So it's a bit too soon to tell. 
 
            Q     Can I ask a planning question? General Lute says that there's early progress. But the secretary, twice now in the planning world has said in the last week that he thinks it's prudent to plan for alternatives to the Baghdad security plan if it doesn't work out. He says it's only planning. 
 
            What are you planning as an alternative to the Baghdad security plan, and what indicators are there that would make you go down the route of saying the Baghdad security plan isn't working? And I say this because the secretary himself has brought it up. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Do you want to start with that, Mark? 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Yeah. Quite frankly, we do planning for all sorts of contingencies. It's just part of our responsibilities for whenever we have a plan, we've got to look at alternative outcomes, alternative scenarios. We, of course, are not going to talk about what those plans involve. We don't want to telegraph our moves ahead of time to either those who -- primarily those who would not wish us well. But it would be irresponsible for us not to be planning, not looking at all the potential outcomes of this.   
 
            What's most important, though, is that most of our effort right now is being devoted to making this plan work. We're sending in additional troops, we're sending in additional civilian assets, we're sending in additional resources. Our primary effort is to make what is being called the Baghdad security plan a successful one. 
 
            Is there a chance that it will not work? That is why planners continue to plan. No commander in this history of warfare has ever said, "This one's going to work 100 percent, so don't worry about an alternative." 
 
            GEN. LUTE: If I can just follow up on that. The last thing a military commander wants is to be surprised, and his best insurance against being surprised is to constantly plan. So as soon as a plan is printed, signed and issued, planners go back to work beginning to work on what we call branches and sequels, and these are essentially "what if" plans in the event of unexpected failure or unexpected success. So we plan on both sides of the equation. 
 
            Q     But just to clarify, has Secretary Gates asked the department to plan for an alternative to the Baghdad security plan? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: We -- Barbara, we don't go into ongoing planning outside of the sort of framework that Mark and I just described. 
 
            Q     May I ask a question on the Baghdad security plan itself? I think you've indicated before that you were going to look very closely at the Iraqi commitments, how timely they were and how well-staffed the units that they were bringing into Baghdad were. What's your impression so far for the brigade that's arrived? How well staffed? Is it very close to its capacity?
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, you've probably seen the same open press, open-source reporting that I have that the brigade arrived at 60 percent strength, the lead brigade. We've checked with the commanders on the ground, and so far they're satisfied with the strength level at which the brigades are arriving. But you know, again to go back to my opening statement, we're in the very early days of this. So even our brigades don't arrive all at one time and then suddenly we can drop the flag and count heads. So it's a bit too soon to, I think, use that one report as some sort of indicator. 
 
            Let me broaden the question of Iraqi commitments, though, and just cite a few things. First of all, they said they were going to create a unified command. They have. They said they were going to commit more troops to Baghdad. They have. They said they were going to have a no-holds-barred rules of engagement, set of rules of engagement, meaning that no geographic or political -- geographic location or political entity would be immune from law and order in Baghdad.   
 
            You know, and just two days ago we saw where, in a very prominent event, where an Iraqi Shi'a deputy minister of health was detained by Iraqi security forces because of evidence that he was linked to the Jaish al-Mahdi militia. Now, I'd offer that three or four months ago the event that took place just yesterday would have been unthinkable. And it really demonstrates this new commitment by the Maliki government that the rules of the game have changed. So time and again, over and over, they've met their commitments. 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: And it's not just meeting the commitments on the military side. The prime minister has been very clear with the Council of Representatives as to his plans. The Council of Representatives has given unanimous approval for this plan. In his discussions with his commanders, Prime Minister Maliki has said, "I'm very much behind this plan." And so it's not simply providing military but not providing rhetorical support. His government is behind this plan. They understand it is their plan. They understand that we are there to help support. 
 
            I would want to make one comment about the Iraqi units. The plan was built fully understanding that the difference between Iraqi battalions and American battalions is, because of the nature of the pay system so on and so forth, there was never an expectation that these units would come in 100 percent. Thus far, the units that are coming in are coming in at adequate level for them to perform the Baghdad security plan. The number of what they'd come with was fully anticipated by the planners, and it's still within the range that they believe is going to prove successful in the Baghdad security plan. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: The real key there is that this lead Iraqi brigade that we're talking about, this 4th Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Army Division, it's already assumed battlespace inside Baghdad proper. So it owns one of those nine districts today. It would not have been placed in that position of responsibility and authority had it not been at adequate strength. 
 
            Q     (Off mike) -- you mentioned you've got seven U.S. battalions partnered with the seven Iraqi brigades at this point. I mean, you've already got a fairly good U.S. contingent partnered up there and without even the surge forces already in yet. 
 
            Are you going to be rotating those battalions out as time goes along and as the U.S. troops come in? I mean, how is that going to work? Or what -- I guess what I'm really driving at is, just give me a better sense of what the surge forces will be doing as they flow into the country over the next few months. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, some of the surge forces -- for example, the first one, the lead brigade, 2nd Brigade, 82nd, is assuming responsibility for portions of Baghdad in partnership with Iraqi security forces, and some of that brigades -- that U.S. brigade’s battalions are among those that I mentioned in terms of having already established partnership relationships with Iraqi security force brigades. 
 
            Other brigades as they flow in will assume partnership responsibilities above the Iraqi brigade level so, for example, with Iraqi division structures, and others will be responsible for supporting roles on the periphery of Baghdad proper. So there's a variety of things that the brigades are headed to Baghdad to do. 
 
            Q     Can I quickly follow-up? Can I ask about -- 
 
            GEN. LUTE: You've been very patient, so you're on deck. Please. 
 
            Q     Let's go back to the helicopter issue just very briefly. Is it still the belief that those four were downed by small arms fire and not missiles? Is that the general belief? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: We don't have any definitive evidence that there were missile attacks involved in the surface-to-air fire that we think brought down the four helicopters mentioned. 
 
            Q     All right, then, just on the other Baghdad issue. Can you explain how you've addressed the unity of command issue that General Keane, Senators McCain, Levin and others have warned about? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, this has been explained repeatedly in testimony and publicly. But just to review the bidding, there is a clean Iraqi security force chain of command, which for the first time, by the way, integrates Ministry of Interior forces with Ministry of Defense forces. So this is both an Iraqi army and Iraqi police chain of command, and it's pure. There are no Americans inserted in that Iraqi chain. 
 
            A counterpart to that is a pure American chain of command that runs from General Casey today, but tomorrow General Petraeus down through the battalion commanders and so forth. The two chains work in parallel and coordinate their operations at multiple levels starting all the way down at the joint security station level that I mentioned earlier today and all the way up to the point where General Casey and soon General Petraeus will be working side by side with General Abboud coordinating their plans. 
 
            This is not the first time -- this is not by any stretch of the imagination the first time that we, the American military, have operated in this structure of parallel chains. We did it in the Balkans; we've done it repeatedly. 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: And we're doing it in Afghanistan right now. But one thing is certain in all these command arrangements -- there will be an unbroken link from the private on the ground all the way to the president of the United States. We'd never forfeit the chain of command. We will be operational control or tactical control, but at no time in any of these parallel arrangements will we forfeit the responsibility of that unbroken chain of command from the president down to the soldier on the ground. 
 
            Q     I don't think that's the concern. The concern is that a joint unit going out there, the Iraqis will not want to go and take that building, and the Americans will say we have to take that building. That's the concern. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: And that's the value -- that underlines the value, first of all, of the American embedded advisors in the Iraqi structures; so that as they formulate their plans and the supporting arrangements to those plans, which will rely on Americans, that those are done shoulder to shoulder, side by side from the outset. So you're not launching on operations here which are planned separately, and they only come together on the ground. From the inception, they're planned in a combined or a joint way. 
 
            Now that mitigates this concern that you're going to be out there and have sort of two separate ideas of what the plan is supposed to do. 
 
            Sir.
 
            Q     Thank you very much. You mentioned that indications are that the Marine helicopter that went down suffered mechanical malfunctions. Can you elaborate on what kind of mechanical problems might have downed this? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: No, I really can't, except to say that there are some eyewitness accounts that caused professional aviation officers to believe that it was more likely -- most likely a mechanical malfunction given this particular type of aircraft, its flight pattern and the immediate aftermath of the early indicators. So the response of the aircraft that leads the people on the ground to believe early in the investigation that it was mechanical. 
 
            Q     But can you elaborate what are these early indicators? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: You know, I don't want to get into that for two reasons. First of all, because there are families involved, and I don't want to be premature in any judgments which are going to be very important obviously to the families involved. And second of all, the investigation continues. 
 
            Q     And lastly, what is the other, of the six crashes, that was not caused by enemy fire? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, one of the two contract helicopters is believed to have gone down other than by military fire. 
 
            Q     Is it the Blackwater you're talking about or -- 
 
            GEN. LUTE: It was a contractor, right. 
 
            Q     Can I go back to the Baghdad Security Plan? Both of you seem to be expressing an awful lot of optimism about it in these early days. For both of you, what are the indicators that you look at right now from day one that worry you? What worries you about the Baghdad Security Plan? What are you watching the most to see if it does work out? 
 
            And as a follow-up, I'd like to ask, on a different matter, if either of you could explain why this latest out of NATO and Seville an additional three and a half maneuver battalions for Afghanistan. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: You want to start with Baghdad, Mark? 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Yeah, I'll start with Baghdad. 
 
            First of all, wouldn't characterize what we're saying up here as optimism as much as it is realism. The fact is there have been commitments that were being made by the Iraqis towards the Baghdad Security Plan. Thus far, they have met those commitments, which give us a realistic view that at this point in time, we are provisioned and resourced sufficiently with both physical resources and support from the Maliki government to move forward with the plan. 
 
            If you take a look at some of the other activities that have gone on while this plan is being prepared and executed -- because at the end of the day, what this is about reducing the violence so that we can build confidence within the Iraqi society so they can move forward to address those yet resolved issues that are causing the violence: reconciliation, de-Ba'athification, amnesty, hydrocarbon legislation, budget. Look what happened. Twenty-four hours ago, they came to a resolution on the budget. The budget is moving forward. Hopefully, the next step is going to be the work on the hydrocarbon legislation, the Kirkuk referendum. These are the issues that, since they are as yet unresolved, is leading to some of this violence. But the fact that there was a commitment made on the part of the government to reducing the violence is buying the political space, providing the political space for the parties to come together to address the root causes of some of that violence. It's really all about building time and space, providing time and space to build political momentum. 
 
            Q     General Lute, Afghanistan? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Afghanistan is a much different picture than Iraq. You'll appreciate that just recently, based on a request from the commander in NATO, the U.S. extended for 120 days a brigade which had already been there for about 12 months. So we've recognized NATO's request, based on a reading of intelligence reports, that suggest that once again the Taliban is likely to increase its attack pace in the spring months. 
 
            There's been for several years now a pattern of increased activity.   
 
            This spring in particular we have intelligence that indicates we need to be ready. In fact, we want to be more than ready. We want to take the offensive and get in front of any intended Taliban operations. 
 
            Now, aside from -- beyond the three battalions that we extended just recently, General Craddock, U.S. Army, but here hatted as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, has requested other allies match the U.S. three battalions with another three battalions.   
 
            And it's all for the same reasons, the reading of the same intelligence, and pointed towards getting in font of any intended Taliban operations this spring. 
 
            Q     I'm very sorry, but you said particular intelligence about this spring. Do you have something to suggest --  
 
            GEN. LUTE: I mean particular compared to past seasons.  
 
            Q     Exactly. So are you suggesting that you expect something different this spring than the regular spring offensive? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: In the last six to 12 months, there's been a pattern of upswings in violence in Afghanistan. So for example, if you look at the seasonal patterns from '06 and compare them to -- or from late '05 and early '06, last winter, to this winter, attacks were about double what they were, even adjusted for the winter suppression of violence. 
 
            So we expect that rise in attack, that spiking of attack, to continue through the winter period and into the spring. So that's particularly what I'm pointing to. 
 
            Q     And if you don't get three and a half nonequivalent -- three and half non-U.S. maneuver battalions, does the United States military then have to offer up battalions, because it's a requirement now put on the table? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, you'll appreciate that troop strength alone is not the only card that commanders on the field have to play. They can change the way they operate. They can change their concept. They can change the way some of the troops already committed are based. They can add enabling support that is other than ground combat troops, that make the troops that are already deployed more capable, and so forth. So there's any number of adjustments that the commanders on the ground can make. 
 
            Q     Let me just try it this way. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: So there's no absolute do-or-die failure with regard to three additional battalions. 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Yeah, let me make two -- 
 
            Q     But let me just ask, then, please --  
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Please. 
 
            Q     -- what should Americans take away from this? Are more U.S. troops going to Afghanistan? 
 
            GEN. LUTE:  Well --  
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Right now the request has been made to the 26 nations within NATO. And in fact these additional three units that General Craddock has asked for are those units to fill out the extant requirement in what is called the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements. 
 
            These are for, I believe, a maneuver battalion operating out in Nimroz in the far west, in Daykundi. So this is filling out a long-standing request that the NATO commanders on the ground have seen as necessary not simply for the near-term requirements but also for the long-term requirements to maintain stability inside the country. 
 
            But I think it's also important to understand that this is not suggesting that there's going to be a huge military offensive that somehow is going to put either the NATO troops or the U.S. troops at extreme peril. This is not a overly significant threat. The threat is to the people. The threat is to the success that we have made thus far in Afghanistan.   
 
            We are operating in Afghanistan in an environment of consent. We are able to build roads, bridges, schools because by and large the vast majority of people inside of Afghanistan recognize and welcome the presence of the coalition and the NATO forces. That's the target of the Taliban, to convince the people of Afghanistan that they need to side with the Taliban rather than side with the Karzai government who we're supporting.   
 
            So that's the real danger in the spring offensive, that somehow the Taliban is able to get a leg up on the population. They certainly will not get a leg up on the NATO troops or the coalition troops, because they are trying to make the people of Afghanistan choose between the Taliban and the legitimate government of Hamid -- President Karzai, which is why it will be so important that this offensive this spring is our offensive and not the Taliban offensive. 
 
            Q     Are more troops headed to Afghanistan? 
 
            GEN. LUTE: If I can just follow up. This is not fundamentally about a military victory in Regional Command South, Kandahar Province, Helmand Province or Afghanistan at large. It is fundamentally a question of governance and giving the Karzai government enough capacity to reach outside of the capital city proper, Kabul, and out into the provinces and demonstrate the kind of commitment and capacity to the Afghan people that Mark just described. So the marginal change in troops, shouldn't expect that that's going to be decisive. 
 
            As more particular to your question, Barbara, we don't anticipate right now -- there's no further requests on the books for additional U.S. troops. So I think you can read that the three battalions in the form of this extended brigade that I've already mentioned is the U.S. contribution to this NATO effort. 
 
            Q     Can I ask again about the Baghdad security plan? One of the potential problems that's been raised is the idea that the militias and the insurgents might simply try to wait out -- wait until the U.S. increase has diminished again and then resurface. How do you avoid that problem? 
 
            MR. KIMMITT:   Well, first of all, part of it is that we are bringing the troops -- the Iraqi troops inside of Baghdad. There's no plan for them to leave anytime soon. And should the insurgents decide to wait them out, when they finally emerge what they're going to find are more capable Iraqi security forces operating in the streets of Baghdad, who have built more and more a relationship with the people on the streets of Baghdad who can give them intelligence. 
 
            So there is as much of a danger if the insurgents try to wait out this program than if they actually -- in fact, there's probably as much reason for them, rather than waiting, to preemptively start fighting simply to get a leg up and to demonstrate that this plan might not be working when, in fact, it is. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: If their going to ground leads eventually to their deciding to enter into a political solution, then that's a “W”.  That's a win for us. And of course, they've got a vote. I mean, they're at a crossroads.  They can decide to fight or they can decide to settle politically. 
 
            Q     They can decide to wait and then fight again. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: And they can decide to wait and join the political process, you're right. So the solution inside Baghdad has got to have durability, and the durability comes by way of the Iraqi part of the equation. 
 
            STAFF: One or two more is all. 
 
            Q     Are you both satisfied now that, as Secretary Gates has essentially said, that there is the sort of will and mechanism in place to come right behind the troops and do, you know, holding and building in a prompt way? You know, something that, you know, I guess everybody agrees hasn't always been done in the past. I mean, is that -- are you satisfied that that is ready to go? 
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Part of the major discussions that were held on the Iraqi strategy review during the November/December time period is that very consideration. It's not simply enough to bring troops in -- Iraqi troops, U.S. troops -- to quell the violence unless there can be some holding and building. That will be essential to the ultimate victory in this operation. 
 
            We are satisfied at this point that our colleagues at State, our colleagues at USAID and Treasury are making a firm commitment to be part of this process as well. There are going to be additional provincial reconstruction yeams. We're hoping to see more additional ministry advisers because it really has to be more than simply a kinetic solution to the problems inside of Baghdad and inside the country. It has to be kinetic and it has to be non-kinetic. It has to be clear and hold and build. And we're satisfied that our colleagues are working every day with as much energy to solving this problem as we are. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Frankly, I think one of the underappreciated dimensions of this new approach is the tactical integration of the military effort with the other-than-military effort on the U.S. side. So the extra PRTs, these interagency teams that Mark mentioned, are to conceptually be embedded with -- operate alongside -- our brigade combat teams. 
 
            This is new. This is a new concept. They've always sort of resided in parallel structures, with the PRTs reporting through the embassy to State and then our military chain here. And now what we're going to have is tactical integration of the military and the non- military arms. That's a very important innovation; that certainly, for me, is very promising. 
 
            Q     Can I ask at what point the protection concerns you have of co-located Americans, with many bases, along -- in Baghdad's most treacherous neighborhoods -- alongside Iraqi national police, who by your own reckoning are terrorists in uniform, many of them are just so militia -- many of them are beholden -- 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Right, well, the "terrorists in uniform" quote is not mine, okay? But -- 
 
            Q     No, it's not yours. But they are, by the Pentagon's own documentation, so-called militia. 
 
            GEN. LUTE: Well, one of the concerns we have for force protection of the small, embedded adviser teams -- I think those are the ones that you're talking about -- which are typically 10- to 12-man teams embedded 24/7 with their Iraqi host units, so an Iraqi army battalion or a police battalion would have 10-man team. 
 
            General Casey, about two months ago, recognized that it was time to invest more in this effort. And he is in the process now of increasing those 10-man teams, the strength of those 10-man teams, to about 30 to 35 Americans. And one of the fundamental reasons he made this call to up the ante with these adviser teams is so that they can provide, more thoroughly, their own force protection. So 35 people as advisers afford themselves enough internal, U.S.-based force protection, and that was one of the reasons that he designed that concept.   
 
            MR. KIMMITT: But it's also important to look back at the history thus far. We have been working embedded training teams in Afghanistan, transition teams inside of Iraq, with our troops working with these units, for a couple of years now. And I think the record right now would demonstrate that by and large, the force protection question has not been an issue up to this point. And this should make sure that it's even less of an issue in the future.   
 
            STAFF: Let’s make Jeff’s the last question:
            Q     General, the defense department has not budgeted for the increase in U.S. troops beyond this fiscal year. Can you secure Baghdad without that funding?   
 
            MR. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, I don't know that that's entirely correct, that we have -- as I was sitting down with the staffers from the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee today, we had that very discussion about our future funding requirements. And there is clearly a portion of the FY '08 budget that includes the global war on terrorism, the cost of this war. So I'm very comfortable that what we have in both the FY '07 main, the bridge supplemental, and this supplemental, and what we are looking at next year for the Defense budget in FY '08, that we've covered those costs. So I think we clearly have understood that this war is going to continue on, that these costs are going to be required, and that the United States Congress and the taxpayers of America are going to provide us the resources we need not only to be successful in Baghdad security plan, but in the continued program in the war thus far.   
 
            Q     So if I understand you correctly, DOD is planning on funding the increase beyond the fiscal year. Is that correct?   
 
            MR. KIMMITT:  I am comfortable that the increase in the budget which we have submitted this week to Congress, which talks a roughly $594 billion program for '07 and roughly a $623 billion program for FY '08 -- at this point in time, our best judgment is it's going to cover the cost that we anticipate over the next year.   
 
            Thank you very much.