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DOD News Briefing with George Little and Capt. Kirby from the Pentagon

Presenter: Pentagon Press Secretary George Little; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations Capt. John Kirby
July 12, 2012

             MR. GEORGE LITTLE:  Good afternoon.  Before we open it up to questions, let me comment on a study by the Congressional Budget Office yesterday on the department's 2013 budget request and Future Year Defense Program.

             CBO's analysis makes clear that if Congress blocks proposals to achieve cost savings contained in the department's 2013 budget, particularly efforts to address skyrocketing personnel costs, we will risk violating the strict spending caps that Congress itself imposed on the department in the Budget Control Act. 

             In their analysis, CBO took the department's long-term budget plans and assumed that Congress would reject some or most important cost savings proposals.  For example, CBO assumed that Congress would not allow us to raise TRICARE fees by modest amounts with a focus on military retirees in order to save nearly $13 billion over the next five years.  CBO also assumed that Congress would provide higher pay raises than those we have proposed.  And they assumed Congress would reject our proposal to fund the portion of Army and Marine Corps end strength that will be drawn down in the years ahead in the so-called OCO budget, rather than the base budget.

             All of these proposals were designed to help us meet the spending caps of the Budget Control Act, while preserving our ability to invest and maintaining a ready and well-equipped force that remains the strongest on the planet.  Fiscal discipline requires tough decisions, the kind the secretary and the department's senior leaders have made in our FY 13 budget request.

             The CBO report underscores the point the secretary has been making:  To responsibly square fiscal discipline with national security, you have to make tough decisions informed by a strategy, as we've done.  If Congress does not allow us to proceed with these changes, we will be forced to look elsewhere for savings in order to meet the requirements of the Budget Control Act.  That means cuts to training, weapons modernization, and other programs that are essential to avoiding a hollow force.

             CBO also assumed that DOD will not be able to meet the aggressive targets it has set to control the growth in weapons acquisitions costs, and instead assumes that future acquisitions programs will perform as they have too often in the past.  Their analysis makes clear that we can't let that happen and that we instead have to improve the performance of our acquisition programs.  That's precisely what we're doing.

             If you can't control costs, then it's hard to live with tough budget caps.  CBO's report makes it clear why we need to continue to press ahead on all fronts with our efforts to achieve cost savings, and we need to -- and we need the close partnership of Congress to do so.

             On another topic, let me say that this is a bittersweet day for me.  This is, in all likelihood, Captain Kirby's last joint on-camera briefing with me at the podium.  He's, as you know, about to take over as chief of naval information, the head of Navy public affairs, and he has been over this past year an outstanding colleague.  He is the consummate professional.  And I look forward to continuing to work with him in another capacity.  He's been a true partner, and I'm honored and pleased to call him a true friend.

             CAPTAIN JOHN KIRBY:  Thanks.

             MR. LITTLE:  Thanks, John.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Thank you.

             MR. LITTLE:  You bet.  Anything to add?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  No.  No.

             MR. LITTLE:  All right.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  That was pretty nice all by itself.

             MR. LITTLE:  All right.

             Q:  (off mic)

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  No charm school.

             MR. LITTLE:  All right.  Sure thing, Bob.

             Q:  When General Gurganus was speaking to the press corps yesterday from Afghanistan, he was asked how many Marines are in his regional command.  He -- he wouldn't say.  In fact, he said that when he talks numbers, he gets in trouble.  Is there some sort of either written or verbal stricture against saying how many troops are on the ground in Afghanistan by region?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  No, there's -- there's no policy guidance from this building about giving, you know, the broad outlines of what force posture is in any regional command.  It's certainly up to a regional commander to make that determination about -- about how much detail he wants to provide.

             Q:  A specific number of how many Marines, for example, are in Afghanistan, can you say today?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I don't think I can give you a raw figure today, but we can certainly take a look at that for you and see what we could give you.  But there's no policy against it, and it's not a classified number.  I mean, there's 88,000 total in Afghanistan right now, U.S. forces.

             Q:  That takes me to my second question, a follow-up:  If there's 88,000 there now, which has been pretty much the number for, I don't know, several months, probably, when does the drawdown actually begin that's going to get you to 68,000 in a couple months?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I'm just looking to see if we have it broken down by regional command.  We don't.  Well, those are -- that's a decision really that General Allen has to make.  And -- and we should let him speak to that.  I would also -- but I would tell you that -- that in -- in some ways, the surge recovery, phase two of the surge recovery, this -- this 23,000, they've already started to come home in some number from certain places.  And I think General Gurganus said this yesterday, that he'd already started to pull some of the Marines out as -- as part of phase two from R.C. Southwest. 

             So some of them are already going home.  But this is -- this will be, as I said on Tuesday, this is an operational decision that General Allen has to make, and he has the wherewithal to do that on his own timing, as long as he meets the guidelines of getting them out by the end of September.  So -- so some of them have already gone.

             Q:  Isn't already a plan in place that the Secretary has endorsed that lays out the timeline?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  There is.  The -- the -- he has submitted -- General Allen has submitted a plan for the surge recovery that has gone up the chain of command.  The Secretary has seen it and endorsed it.  But it is -- as all things -- inside -- inside the timeline, it's -- it's meant to be somewhat fluid, as well.  In other words, General Allen can modify it as he sees fit.  I don't know the degree to which he sees fit.  I mean, that's really a better question for him.

             MR. LITTLE:  All right.  Justin?

             Q:  All right.  Can I ask you about this recently unclassified Iran report?  I want to quote from it.  It says Iran continues to progress with the uranium enrichment, steadily growing its missile and rocket inventories, and it's also boosting the lethality and effectiveness of these systems.  So my question is what evidence is there that this administration has slowed Iran's military progress in the last four years?

             MR. LITTLE:  Well, Iran has -- in violation of international obligations, to include U.N. Security Council resolutions -- continued to develop certain capabilities.  And we've expressed serious concern.

             This administration has been very clear and very strong on the issue of Iran and its military and nuclear capabilities, developing widespread international consensus to bring pressure to bear on the Iranians, to help impose sanctions that are biting at the Iranian regime, and a host of other actions that have made it more difficult for the Iranian regime to justify its actions in certain areas.

             Yes, they have been developing weapons.  We've known that for years.  And I think the report that you referenced simply acknowledges what we've all known for quite a while about Iranian misbehavior.

             Q:  It also says that, in the next few years, it may be possible that it could develop an intercontinental ballistic missile.  Does that -- is that something you're focusing on?

             MR. LITTLE:  Well, we're concerned about the full range of capabilities, especially those that are outside the confines of what Iran should be able to develop.  I'm not going to speculate as to what they may or may not do, but we certainly closely monitor Iranian capabilities and pay special attention to its routine violations of its international obligations.

             Q:  On Mali, the ECOWAS is setting up an international force to be sent in northern -- the north part of the country – and they've already warned that they would need logistics and intelligence report, probably, from western parts.  Is the U.S. ready to help?  And I guess with what type of assets?

             MR. LITTLE:  I don't know that we've made a commitment or decision one way or the other on that particular proposal that's being considered.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Not aware -- not aware of a decision.

             Q:  Question on the Pakistan supply routes.  So with the resolution of that standoff on the supply routes, the money for Pakistan, $1.1 billion -- (inaudible) -- is now being released, that's for fiscal 2011.  What's the plan for continuing to provide that counterterrorism support for fiscal year 2012 Pakistan?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  It's important to remember that these -- these funds are -- are claims.  These are prior claims.  The coalition support funds are -- it's a mechanism through which Pakistan can -- can claim reimbursement for funds that they've expended in fighting terrorism.  So these are existing claims that go back, as -- as you say, into 2011, and we are now going to process those claims and consult with Congress as we do so.

             So it's not just about, you know, paying them right now.  They have to be processed, like all the CSF prior claims have been.  There's been no decisions going forward now about -- about future claims.  I mean, again, it's -- it's a process of claims, and so we're dealing with those existing ones, prior existing ones, and we'll work through future ones when -- when we need to.

             Q:  But are there criteria for how you will judge the future claims and how they will be processed?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  There's -- as far as I know, there's no change to the process here, in terms of the mechanisms by which Pakistan makes the claims or -- or we process them. 

             Q:  How much is at stake for 2012?  Is there -- is there a ballpark figure that you have?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I don't have a ballpark figure.  And, remember, the year isn't over.  I mean, we're -- we're only halfway through 2012, so --

             Q:  The submit them in tranches, right, the first half and the second half?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  They do -- they do submit them in tranches.  I don't know what -- I don't know what --

             Q:  (off mic)

            CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I don't know.  I don't know.

             MR. LITTLE:  Barbara?

             Q:  Admiral-select Kirby -- wanted to get that in there -- I have --

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  My mom will be happy to hear that.  Thank you.  (Laughter)

             MR. LITTLE:  It doesn't exactly roll off my tongue yet.  (Laughter)

            Q:  Well, I do want to ask you about Iran.  Right now -- and the Persian Gulf -- what is the military utility for the United States for keeping two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Well, right now, we don't have two carriers in the Persian Gulf.  In fact, as we sit here today, there are no U.S. aircraft carriers in the gulf.  But there is -- there are two carriers assigned to the Central Command area of responsibility.  And that's been the case for many months now, and I expect it will be the case for many months going forward.

             These are -- but the force posture in any part of the world, whether it's Central Command or Pacific Command, is based on the combatant commander's requirements that -- that he submits to the Pentagon to the services to fill.  And it's based on his assessment of the need in the region.  In this case, the Navy is fulfilling the combatant commander's requirement for two carrier groups.

             And it's not just about Iran.  It's -- it's a big, very important region.  Our defense strategy that we unveiled earlier this year made it very clear that while we rebalance to the Pacific, the Central Command area of responsibility is going to remain vital and important.  It's a dangerous place to be.  And we are -- we have a lot of security commitments there, a lot of allies and partners that we have made commitments to, and this force posture is meant to fulfill the combatant commander's requirements.

             Q:  All right.  Let me try again.  What --

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I thought that was a really good answer.  (Laughter)

             Q:  General Mattis some months ago requested a number of -- public knowledge, a number of ships and additional assets for the region.  You have fulfilled that.  But explain to the American people why right now you need them when U.S. intelligence says they haven't seen any threatening moves by the Iranians, the Iranian naval forces in weeks, if not months, that things are very quiet and calm out there right now?  So why do you need two carriers, six mine countermeasure ships, all the stuff that's there now?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Well, look, I mean, back to what I said before, it's not just about Iran.  It is -- it is a vital region of the world.  And those carriers are not in the gulf right now.  They come and go as needed.  It's a very important region.  A lot of oil traffic goes through there.  The Straits of Hormuz are a natural chokepoint.  Regardless of bellicose threats from Iran to close it or not, it's still a vital chokepoint that the United States Navy has been -- been patrolling since after World War II.

             So it's -- this is a continuation of a longstanding presence in a very dangerous part of the world, and we have other commitments to other nations there.  Again, it's not just about Iran.  It's about meeting commitments to other partners and other allies.

             Q:  Do you think that Iran right now poses a threat to keeping -- to potentially close the Strait of Hormuz and the oil shipping lanes?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I think that's a great question for Iran to have to answer.  Certainly, their bellicose statements and threats aren't helpful to enhancing security there.  But as we've said before, we're very comfortable with the force presence we have in that part of the world to keep our commitments to our friends and our allies there and to keeping the oil flowing through -- through the strait.

             MR. LITTLE:  Kevin?

             Q:  (off mic) in the last, I guess, week, the administration has said that the OMB director and Ash Carter will both head to the Hill to finally, I guess, talk to the Republicans who've been asking for the administration to lay out these sequester effects to come and have this on-camera thing.  Why now?  Why -- why has -- why is Ash Carter going up there to -- going up to have that session?  And will he do what's being asked?  Will he -- will he lay out these effects of sequester or -- or is this going to be more of a posturing back-and-forth again?

             MR. LITTLE:  Well, I think the deputy secretary is going up to the Hill because Congress would like for him to come discuss the effects of sequestration.  And he's going to be very straightforward about what the potential effects of sequestration might be.

             We have laid out some of those effects already, what we believe, the potential job losses inside the department and inside the defense industrial base, for example.  So I think the deputy will be prepared to have a very robust dialogue, and it's important to have that dialogue with Congress.

             Q:  So are you -- is the building's position still that there's no preparation being done for sequester?

             MR. LITTLE:  Nothing has changed since Tuesday.

             Q:  Since Tuesday?

             MR. LITTLE:  Right.  We're still not in planning mode for sequestration.

             Q:  Is there -- is there a drop-dead date to come, where that has to change?

             MR. LITTLE:  We haven't identified a drop-dead date.

             Brian?

             Q:  Another quick follow-up to Barbara's question and then a separate one, if I may.

             MR. LITTLE:  OK.  All right.

             Q:  The additional resources that General Mattis requested, can you say at least whether or not it's tied at all to the sanctions?  In other words, as the sanctions get tighter, this concern that perhaps Iran could lash out in response?  Is that part of the thinking?  Or is that totally divorced?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I think it'd be overstating it to say that the -- that the force presence in that region right now or even in the gulf specifically is directly related to the sanctions or to the potential for a lash-out, as you put it, as a result of those sanctions.

             It is -- as I said to Barbara -- it's really -- it's really about the region writ large.  And part of the challenge in the region is, frankly, Iran.  I mean, just need to be honest about that.  And they have been in the past at least verbally threatening, and have made it -- you know, made their intentions pretty clear.

             So certainly Iran is a -- factors into our thinking when we're thinking about force posture in the -- in that area of the world, but it is not the only factor, and it's certainly not tied directly to the sanctions.  And if I may, while I'm on this topic, I mean, we still believe here in this department that the -- that Iran has an opportunity here to meet its international obligations and we believe that the diplomatic and economic pressure that's being applied needs to continue to be applied.

             Q:  Second question, different topic?

             MR. LITTLE:  OK.  All right.

             Q:  And -- you may have addressed this recently -- I don't think you have -- but can you say where there is a formal process in place on the implementation of "don't ask/don't tell" or the repeal of "don't ask/don't tell"?  Sort of, is the department doing any sort of formal assessment of the process as it's going on?  And is there timelines to report that out?  The people have asked, are we going to hear anything from the Pentagon on how it's going?  Is there going to be a report to Congress?

             MR. LITTLE:  I'm unaware of the specific report that it's going to Congress, but if that changes, I'll certainly let you know, Brian and all of you.  But we have monitored the progress of "don't ask/don't tell" repeal and implementation, and it's gone very well.  The Secretary's had discussions with the Service Chiefs and the Service Secretaries, and the consensus is that the implementation has proceeded in a very effective manner.

             As you know, we're working through questions related to benefits and so forth.  We have to continue to work through those, so that's, I think, the next major set of issues to work through.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  And I would say it's something the Services -- it's part of daily life here to just -- just to see how things are going, but for all intents and purposes, it's implemented. 

             Q:  Now, if you did write a report on it, how many pages -- (Laughter) --

            But seriously, has the Secretary replied or is he going to reply to Chairman McKeon's request to basically get rid of this policy that Pentagon reports to Congress be 10 pages or -- or shorter?

             MR. LITTLE:  As I said in my written statement yesterday, we take very seriously, as does, of course, the Secretary, first and foremost, who's been a member of Congress himself -- we take very seriously our obligations to engage regularly with Congress to inform them of the activities of this department.  He's made it a top priority here, and I can vouch for him at CIA, as well, to establish very good relationships with the Hill.

             The Department of Defense has regular engagement with our oversight committees across all of the activities inside this department.  We deliver hundreds of reports per year.  We deliver oral briefings.  We have regular communication with members and staff.  And we will continue to do that.  That is our obligation.  It's our responsibility.  And we value effective oversight.

             The issue that arose yesterday related to guidance that was issued last year suggesting that inside one directorate, the policy directorate, inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense, that congressional reports, to the extent possible, be limited to about 10 pages.  It was a hard -- it was not a hard and fast 10-page limit.  There were, of course, exceptions for statutory requirements and other circumstances.

             Our goal has always been, even with this written guidance, to ensure that Congress has full and thorough information.  The goal of that guidance was to ensure more concise and well-written reports to Congress.  We were trying to actually deliver value to members of Congress.

             Today, the undersecretary of defense for policy has rescinded last year's guidance.  And I will read directly from a memo that he has issued to that directorate. 

             Referring to last year's guidance, the explicit intent -- this is not the entire memo, by the way, but I will go ahead and read a part of it -- the explicit intent was to ensure more concise and well-written reports to Congress.  Nevertheless, this part of the previous guidance appears to have been misinterpreted and has generated concern about the seriousness with which policy takes its congressional reporting responsibilities.  Therefore, this page limit portion of the proceeding guidance is rescinded effective immediately.

             Reports to Congress should be -- should still be concise and well-written, as well as relevant and timely.  However, there is no page limit.  Congressional reports should be as long as necessary to ensure that they fully answer the questions posed by Congress.

             With respect to the particular report that generated some of the questions today, I would note that -- and this is last year's -- or this year's China report -- it's lengthier than 10 pages and contains a classified annex that's much longer than 10 pages, as well. 

            So this was guidance issued last year, with a very good purpose and goal in mind.  Our goal is to provide timely and information -- timely and accurate information to Congress, and that's what we'll continue to do.

             Q:  So technically speaking, was it ever policy?

             MR. LITTLE:  It was guidance.

             Q:  Well, is that policy or guidance?

             MR. LITTLE:  It was -- it was guidance, I would say, Jim.  That's how I would characterize it.

             Q:  And how closely was it adhered to?

             MR. LITTLE:  I don't have --

             Q:  I'm sure a China report was not the only one that exceeded 10 pages.

            MR. LITTLE:  Well, I think that there have been other reports that have exceeded 10 pages.  I don't personally have the inventory of all of the reports, and I haven't done the math, but suffice it to say, we have had a number of reports that have been longer than 10 pages.

             This really was an attempt to provide some parameters, to guide concise information delivered to Congress.  That's it.  And, of course, we always bear in mind the cost of producing these reports, which in some cases could be quite high.

             Q:  But either way, what you're saying and telling us now is this problem is over, you've -- you've taken back that guidance?

             MR. LITTLE:  We have rescinded the guidance.  We've taken onboard the concern about the guidance inside this one directorate, inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and from our vantage point, we are moving on.  We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Article I branch of our government.

             Q:  So is there a cost estimate of how much more it costs to produce lengthier, longer reports?

             MR. LITTLE:  I do not have that --

             (CROSSTALK)

             MR. LITTLE:  I don't have an answer for you, but perhaps we can produce a report on that for you, OK?  (Laughter)

             Q:  So do -- do you have any accurate record on how many pages beyond 10 members of Congress even read?  (Laughter)

             MR. LITTLE:  That's really a question best directed to members of Congress.

             Q:  George, did the Secretary weigh in on this matter at all?

             MR. LITTLE:  No, this was really limited to the directorate -- the policy directorate inside OSD.  The Secretary's obviously aware of the concerns expressed by members of the House Armed Services Committee, and he takes seriously those concerns, but this decision was made by Undersecretary Miller, and he issued the guidance very recently to those on his staff.

             Anything else on --

             Q:  (off mic) and if that could maybe help, you know (off mic)

            CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Well, the stuff we write for George is in crayon.  (Laughter)

             MR. LITTLE:  I've been a professor before, and, you know -- and this reminds me of some of the questions I've gotten about, you know, how long should this paper be at the end of the semester?  Double-spaced, font size, et cetera, that's right.

             Q:  So that's not the issue?

             MR. LITTLE:  No, that's not the issue.  No, it's page limit.  But we -- let me be very clear.  We -- we take seriously this concern.  We've addressed it, and we're turning the page.

             Q:  (off mic) different topic?

             MR. LITTLE:  Well, let's let some others -- yeah, OK.  Joe, in the back.

             Q:  I have a question on Syria.  Could you give us an assessment, how do you see the current situation in Syria?  Do you see any achievements that -- do you think that the opposition has made in the -- in the past few weeks?

             MR. LITTLE:  The situation in Syria remains very serious, Joe.  We are very concerned about the regime's actions.  They continue to pursue violence against their own population.  It's abhorrent, deplorable, and just about every other synonym associated with those words.

             We are naturally watching the situation closely.  We continue to work with our foreign partners to try to bring pressure to bear against the Syrian regime.  That diplomatic and economic pressure we think is having an effect.  And we have seen, as you all know, certain high-level defections of late that show that some members of the Syrian regime are making the correct and moral decision to remove themselves from a group of people who are doing great harm to the Syrian people.

             Q:  (off mic) the Pentagon has had any contacts with -- with the opposition, with the Syrian opposition?

             MR. LITTLE:  I'm unaware of any contacts.

             Q:  Do you have any clarification on the movement of the Russian ships, the intent, what they may or may not be carrying for possible delivery?  Has the U.S. sought clarification from the Russians?

             MR. LITTLE:  Anything related to ships and water, I'm turning over today to the future CHINFO for the United States Navy.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Yeah, United States Navy, not Russia.

            MR. LITTLE:  Right.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  We -- as I said Tuesday, we know that the Russians have stated that they have dispatched a couple of vessels to the Mediterranean for the purpose of exercising those vessels and the sailors on them, as well as resupply to their base at Tartus.  We've seen nothing that indicates that's anything other than their intention and their desire.

             But, no, we have not -- to my knowledge -- certainly not from the Pentagon -- reached out to the Russian ministry directly to ask them or ascertain the specific intent.  But that's what we believe to be the case and certainly taking them at that word -- their word.

            Q:  No indication that they intend to deliver arms, parts, helicopters, anything --

            (CROSSTALK)

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  No, as I said, everything we've seen indicates that they're doing exactly what they've been saying that they're going to do, that they -- they may be conducting some exercises in the Med, and -- and they may be working to resupply some of their facilities there at Tartus.

             I mean, as we said before, I mean, this is -- it's a volatile situation.  Some of their Russian citizens have come under attack.  So, I mean, it's certainly reasonable to expect, if they have a military facility in another country, that they would want to make sure they're doing what they need to do to -- to keep that base safe and viable.

            Q:  And any indication that they're putting in additional armed forces to guard those installations they have at Tartus?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  No.  Again, other than what we -- what they've said, just in terms of resupply -- now, there may be -- I mean, I don't know.  There may be some personnel swaps that are going to take place here.  I don't know.  But, again, that's a better question for them.  But the point is, we -- you know, we think they're doing exactly what they're saying they're doing with respect to -- to those ships.

             Q:  Are you meeting with the Russian generals, which are just meters away?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I'm not.  I'm not allowed in the meetings.  But I suspect -- look, I -- as we said the other day, I think certainly issues regarding Syria are going to come up in discussions today with General Makarov, who is here meeting with General Dempsey.  I certainly would expect that -- that they'll talk broadly about the situation in Syria.  And then I would point you to a readout statement that I think the Joint Staff is going to put out after the meetings are over today.

             MR. LITTLE:  John?

             Q:  George, have any of the Japanese officials expressed concern to DOD about this latest Osprey incident earlier this week in North Carolina?  And do you have any information about what might have necessitated that emergency landing?  Was it a mechanical problem or something else?

             MR. LITTLE:  The Marine Corps is looking into what might have contributed to this emergency landing.  I'm unaware of any contacts with Japanese officials on this particular issue.  I'll let you know if I hear differently.

             Mike?

             Q:  George, earlier this week, a "Taliban smuggler," in quotes, was detained.  And they found substances which included poison.  I wonder whether you have any evidence that the Taliban are either developing or have acquired or are trying to acquire unconventional munitions to use in attacks against ISAF?

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  That's the first I've heard of that report.  Broadly speaking, I mean, the -- these are dangerous people.  I don't have any specific or seen specific indications that they're pursuing a chemical weapon of some sort.  But, frankly, it's almost beside the point.  I mean, they kill in a wanton, indiscriminate fashion, and I don't -- they don't need any excuses to do that, based on their own code.

             So I've not seen anything to that regard.  We'll take the question and see if there's anything on it, but I just don't know.

             MR. LITTLE:  We have time for a couple more.

             Q:  George, back on the -- the Osprey issue and Japan, more broadly speaking, is it your expectation that once the full -- that the final investigations on the -- the MV-22 incident in Morocco and the CV-22 in Florida are briefed with the Japanese, is your -- is your expectation that at that point the operations will -- will be able to start and start the training routes and the -- and the operations of that squadron?

             MR. LITTLE:  We do expect that, at a certain point -- I don't have a particular date for you -- but, yes, where we have deployed Ospreys, we expect to enter them into operation.

             Q:  Do you have a timeline or an update on when those -- those briefings will be completed?

             MR. LITTLE:  I don't have a timeline for you today, no.  OK.  Last question?

             Q:  On the Osprey, recently there's more local -- excuse me -- local municipalities and cities outside Okinawa that are trying to start to express opposition to having Ospreys fly into their airspace.  Are you starting to be concerned -- (inaudible) -- government-to-government agreements going to be intervened by local politics in Japan?

             MR. LITTLE:  It certainly wouldn't be appropriate for me to -- to speak to local politics in Japan.  We, of course, understand and -- and respect Japanese public opinion and take it into account.  The Japanese are very close allies and have been for decades.

             With respect to the -- to the Osprey aircraft, it has a very strong safety record.  I understand that there have been incidents recently, and we're going to get to the bottom of it, and we've been open with the Japanese about what we believe have contributed -- the factors that have contributed to those incidents. 

             But overall, the Osprey is doing very well and has been deployed in various parts of the world, including the warzones, and has a very effective track record and is a very important part of our fleet.

             Q:  And it's being considered for use with the President's staff  and he’s impressed -- is that correct (off mic)

             MR. LITTLE:  I haven't -- I haven't seen that.

             Q:  (off mic)

             MR. LITTLE:  I said last question, but all right.

             Q:  Thank you for saying yes to me.  The report -- the report -- a report out today that detainees were drugged by the United States, I think you've probably seen this.  I'm wondering what you can tell us about it.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I don't have -- I've not seen that report.

             Q:  The I.G. report.

             Q:  Yes, the I.G. report that detainees at Guantanamo -- Bob, correct me if I'm wrong -- drugged for -- interrogation

             Q:  There were -- there were some qualification on what the drugs were for, but --

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Why don't you let us take a look at that --

             MR. LITTLE:  Let's take a look at that.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  -- and get something back to you?

            MR. LITTLE:  Yeah.  OK.  OK.  One more.  All right. 

             Q:  I have a question about a specific alleged situation at Bagram prison.  An individual, a Pakistani named Jan Sher Khan, he has claimed that when he was 16, he traveled to Afghanistan to work on U.S. construction sites, but was, he claims, wrongly detained and wrongly accused of being an enemy combatant.  He has since been released from jail, but he says there's other foreign juveniles in the prison that he claims have been mistreated.

             Do you have a response to this case?  Are you familiar with this specific case?

             MR. LITTLE:  I'm not familiar with this specific case.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  I'm not, either.  Again, you'll have to let us take that question.  And, obviously, we hold ourselves to a pretty high standard of -- of -- of detention operations and humane treatment of those that we have detained.  But we'll have to take a look at this one.

             Q:  If an individual felt they were wrongly accused and in a prison, could you speak about the policies, the procedures they could go through to try and get their case heard?

             MR. LITTLE:  When it comes to detention facilities in -- in Afghanistan, I think ISAF and the Afghan government are probably in the best position to answer those.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Yeah.

             MR. LITTLE:  OK?  Thank you, everyone.

             CAPTAIN KIRBY:  Thanks.

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