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DOD News Briefing with Maj. Gen. Campbell and Maj. Gen. Layfield via Teleconference from Ft. Campbell, Ky.

Presenters: Commander, 101st Airborne Division Maj. Gen. John Campbell and Commander, Joint Warfighting Center, Joint Forces Command Maj. Gen. Stephen Layfield
February 04, 2010

                JIM TURNER (spokesman, Pentagon Press Office):  Okay, Generals Campbell and Layfield, this is Jim Turner at the Pentagon Briefing Room.  Can you hear me? 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  Jim, we got you -- got you loud. 


                MR. TURNER:  Got me.  Great.  Well, let's -- let's get started. 


                This morning, we have with us Major General John Campbell, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division; and Major General Steve Layfield, commander of the Joint Warfighting Center at Joint -- at Joint Forces Command.  Both officers are joining us this morning from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to discuss their participation in the Unified Endeavor 10-1 Mission Rehearsal Exercise. 


                This exercise, which ends tomorrow, is designed to train the headquarters forces for their deployment to Afghanistan later this year, as Combined Joint Task Force 101. 


                Generals Layfield and Campbell will provide some opening remarks, and then we'll open it up to questions. 


                General Layfield, let's start with you. 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  Well, good morning to everyone out there; and want to thank you for the opportunity to talk about one of the key reasons that we in America do in fact enjoy the privilege of being protected by the finest military ever fielded, and that is our ethos of realistic and relevant training. 


                As a member of our nation's Joint Warfighting Center, I am proud today to join Major General John Campbell, commander of the Screaming Eagles, 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault, and to spotlight the training that General Campbell and his team are undergoing right now -- training that is preparing this outfit to accomplish their upcoming mission in eastern Afghanistan. 


                One of our learned keys to success in creating a training environment that is real for the training audience is to make sure that it's current and relevant.  We do this through a continued reliance upon and a connection to the deployed force currently in Afghanistan and in theater.  We observe, we listen, and we learn from the deployed force, and we take their best practices and their lessons learned, and then we bring them back to the States and we blend them into a highly realistic training environment. 


                This is a complex environment that the Screaming Eagles are up against, and it's the relevance of that training that we have to replicate. 


                During this exercise the 101st will have been training on and exposed to joint tactics, joint techniques, procedures and challenges that are in theater today.  On today's complex battlefield, we do not fight alone, and our training reflects that.  We rely upon and we integrate with our multinational, our interagency and our nongovernmental partners in all that we do.  Therefore, they're all present in this exercise this week. 


                The final component of the training program is a follow-on staff assistance visit.  Our training and assistance to this great outfit does not stop here.  Joint Forces Command and our trainers from the Joint Warfighting Center, they will deploy with the 101st Airborne Air Assault at various points of time.  They'll do so to gather those lessons learned I was talking about, and they will provide any follow- up assistance General Campbell and his team need.  We're going to be with them through the exercise and during their deployment. 


                Training is a continual process, and we continue to refine our training product to make sure that our forces in the field, your forces, have the latest and most relevant training available.  As far as the Screaming Eagles and the 101st Airborne Air Assault are concerned, they're ready. 


                Thank you very much. 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Hey, Steve, thanks. 


                And welcome to everybody out there in Washington, D.C.  It's much better to be here at Fort Campbell than it is to be with you in the building, and I'm sure -- I can't see you right now; I'm not looking at a screen that shows you -- but I'm sure we know some of the folks  out there, and thanks for taking the time to be with us at this conference here. 


                As General Layfield said, this our capstone event to get the 101st ready to go to Afghanistan.   


                It's been going on here for about the last two weeks.  We're very appreciative of both the Battle Command Training Program out of Fort Leavenworth and the Joint Forces Command who've taken on the second week to get us ready to go. 


                It's a great opportunity for us.  It's much like the brigades. And I'm sure you're all aware of our CTCs, our Combat Training Centers, where our BCTs [Brigade Combat Teams] go to JRTC [Joint Readiness Training Center], or to the NTC [National Training Center].  For the division, the MRX [Mission Rehearsal Exercise] is our capstone event.  So as we get ready to go to Afghanistan, this is a completely awesome force. 


                They brought in many resources, as Steve has talked about, both the interagency, civilian play.  The foreign plan -- this thing is pretty incredible.  I've got 10 officers from Afghanistan; it includes four general officers.  We have the 201st Corps commander, the 203rd deputy Corps commander.  These are the same folks that I'll build relationships with now and that I'll work with in Afghanistan.  Now, that just shows you how much -- or how important this is for Afghanistan to send those senior officers back here to Fort Campbell to help us train to get ready for that engagement. 


                We've also got the general officer from Poland who will take over Task Force White Eagle; we have the general officer from France who will take over Task Force Lafayette; I've got Colonel Roy from the 86th National Guard out of Vermont that will be with me in theater, so an absolutely superb opportunity to build relationships that will be used in theater. 


                The other great thing about the 101st going back into Afghanistan to follow the 82nd is that General Scaparrotti has provide a great number of SMEs, or subject military experts, that come back here to Fort Campbell to help apply the lessons learned they've seen during the rotation.  And they've been absolutely invaluable.  So to General "Scap" and his folks, we really appreciate that.   


                But they're here for us for two weeks.  They're showing us the latest TTPs [Tactics, Techniques and Procedures], the processes that they go through.  And this will prove invaluable as we continue to rotate between the 101st and 82nd. 


                We're going to take over RC-East [Regional Command-East].  As you know, that's 14 different provinces, 159 districts.  We'll continue to try to maintain the momentum that the 82nd has had working with their Afghan national security forces.   


                The biggest change since the 101st was there last June is three things:  One is you have a new commander in ISAF [International Security Assistance Force]; you have an entirely new headquarters at IJC [ISAF Joint Command] with General Rodriguez; and then the civilian uptick in all the country, but especially RC-East where I think it's leading the way, I'll have a co-lead senior civilian personnel currently from USAID that will work with me in RC-East.  So I think that's critical to continue to build the governance and the development of the Afghan people there, and I really look forward to it. 


                But would welcome any of your questions and stand by for that. Thanks. 


                MR. TURNER:  Okay.  Thank you. 




                Q     General Campbell, this is Bob Burns from AP.  You mentioned specifically Poland and France being represented in the exercise.  I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about how you're going about that part of your training with allied representatives.  And are there other countries represented directly? 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Hey, Bob.  Thanks.  Good to hear from you again. 


                Yeah, absolutely, the folks from Poland that would take over the same area that they currently have a contingent right now.  General Bruskowski (sp), I think, is the name.  Hard time pronouncing that. But he's been working very closely with us here for the last two weeks.  He's been to Afghanistan, has met with his counterpart.   


                And so he has brought his staff here to Fort Campbell.  He is over in our battle command training center.  He has a staff and they're going through the same processes and procedures and getting used to how the 101st will do business in Afghanistan.  We have 82nd subject matter experts that are co-located with him, so they're helping through the different reports and procedures that they use now. They'll actually beat us in the country by about a month, his staff right now.  So the relationships we're building with them will prove invaluable.   


                We've also got France, and they're doing the same thing.  They brought a contingent -- they're anywhere from 15 to 20 PACs [personnel].  The key members of his staff engage with my staff, and I think that will pay great dividends for them as well.  We also have officers from Pakistan, so we're working border issues.  We've got officers from Canada, from the U.K., and it's just worked great dividends for us. 


                MR. TURNER:  Luis. 


                Q     General Campbell, it's Luis Martinez with ABC News.  Were Afghan security forces supposed to be part of this exercise as well? And can you run us through what some of the exercises are that you run through?  Are there real-life scenarios in terms of how you would  react to certain elements or situations that your troops find themselves in? 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Yeah, absolutely.  Came a little broken, but I think you asked about the situation we're using with our Afghan partners here.   


                Let me jump back on -- one other nation I failed to mention was Italy.  General Berlani (sp) is playing the IJC commander, so I call him General Rodriguez.  But IJC has sent back additional folks here as well to make sure we're embedded and nested with the commanders in 10 at IJC.   


                For the Afghan piece, all the scenarios that we're running, we're running it 24/7, and the same type of intel feeds, the same type of reports that the headquarters would receive in Afghanistan, we get that now both from IJC, so from higher, and also from the brigades. We have brigade cells representing all of the brigades that will be in country.  So if there is an attack on a different COP [Combat Outpost] or a FOB [Forward Operating Base], we're getting that intel.  We're seeing the feeds beforehand, so we're operating all our intel systems.  We have the interagency involved in that.  And in everything that we do by, through and with our Afghan partners, they're tied into us. 


                We just went through a scenario where we had both an Afghan soldier and a coalition soldier that were hit on an ambush and then were reported as missing.  So we went through the procedures that we would go through, working both with our Afghan partners and the -- and the U.S. procedures that we would go through. 


                So they're tied into everything we do.  But the -- in fact, we're using the actual scenarios that both the 82nd and other units have used in Afghanistan.  So very realistic, I think both for our Afghan partners and ourself. 


                The biggest thing I get out of it, though, is the relationships I'm building with the counterparts at the 201st and the 203rd.  The other big change since the 101st was there last time is that General Scaparrotti has embedded General Oster (sp) as a TAC [Tactical Command Post] both at the 201st corps and the 203rd corps.  So my DCGs [Deputy Commanding Generals], or deputy division commanders -- one is Steve Townsend (sp), who I think many of you know, and Warren Phipps (sp) -- they're embedded with their counterparts, and they're playing a TAC (sp) at distributed headquarters, away from the main headquarters, with the actual partners that they'll have in Afghanistan.  So they're building that relationship, the staffs that they have here.  And they haven't brought everybody.  A minimal staff are working through the procedures of the TAC (sp) headquarters as well, and that's been absolutely important for us. 


                MR. TURNER:  Donna. 


                Q     It's Donna Miles from the American Forces Press Service. I'm curious, sir, with the new strategy and the surged troops coming into Afghanistan, how, at the division level, is that changing how you will operate?  And as a result how you're training to operate on the ground? 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  That's a great question.  We're tied in with both IJC and RC-East today.  So all of the updates they get, any policies or changes that they make, we're completely tied into a portal system. 


                Every week -- the relationship I have with the 82nd commander right now is, every week we do a face-to-face over Tandberg [secure video phone] and I get updates.  General Scaparrotti's told me any decisions that will affect the 101st, we'll make those as joint decisions.  So that relationship is pretty incredible, and it helps us with situational awareness. 


                As far as the training piece of it, you know, at the BCT level, that really hasn't changed.  We're really operating at -- taking care of the population.  We've incorporated all the tactical directives that both General McChrystal and General Rodriguez have put out. We've used those in our home-station training.  At JRTC, they've incorporated vignettes and scenarios to really emphasize the new additions in the tactical directives.  So I think we get at that. 


                On the uptick of forces right now, General McChrystal has said that RC South is a priority.  Many of those forces are going there.  I believe right now, as part of some of those additional forces, we will potentially get one additional brigade in RC-East.  And right now, based on the announcement earlier this week, that'll probably be my 4th Brigade.  So the relationships that we have doing home-station training and having that brigade in the same battlespace, I think, is absolutely critical. 


                We talked a little bit about campaign continuity.  You know, in the past, our brigades, at least from the 101st, have deployed both to Iraq and to Afghanistan.  And at the training level, the division had to focus two different ways as we helped our brigades get ready to go. 


                We are totally focused on Afghanistan, and all our brigades are focused on Afghanistan.  So all of our training and our resources and our energy go toward that way -- just a quick example.   


                This week, we started a world-class language and cultural piece here.  We took advantage of what the PACC -- I think you're all familiar with the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell out there on the Joint Staff -- we were offered up some language training slots in their last course.   


                We sent about 30 soldiers out there last December-January time frame -- I'm sorry, back in October time frame.  So they were immersed in that training for three or four months.   


                What we've been able to do now that we're focused on Afghanistan is move a lot of that here to Fort Campbell.  And we'll continue to sustain that as we rotate through campaign continuity.   


                As the brigades go through JRTC -- my 3rd Brigade went through in October -- they were focused on Afghanistan.  The lessons that they learned, they've passed on to their other battalion commanders and brigade commanders.   


                And for the next rotation that we just finished two days ago, with our 1st Brigade, they took what 3rd Brigade learned and incorporated that in.  So that's absolutely critical.   


                We'll do the same thing now with my 2nd Brigade.  It will go to JRTC in March.  And now 4th Brigade will go to JRTC in May.  So the campaign continuity, the division focus on one AOR, is just absolutely critical.   


                We could do that before with our BCTs.  They could deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, because we have such great brigade commanders and great soldiers and leadership and noncommissioned officers.  But the synergy and the relationships we build back here that we can take forward, I think, just gives us an additional capacity and capability.  


                Q     General Campbell, Barbara Starr from CNN.  I wanted to let you know that I asked General Mixon this same question earlier today.   


                Now that the president, the secretary and the chairman have publicly supported the congressional -- potential congressional repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," how will you as a senior commander solicit and get the views of your troops, about the impact of a potential change and how it would be implemented?   


                And what pressure do you and the troops possibly feel that now the only correct answer is to say you support all of this?  How can you give and your troops give their honest view about this matter?   


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Well, thanks, Barbara.  Good to hear your voice again.  And I did not hear what you talked to the USARPAC [U.S. Army Pacific Command] commander about.  But my feeling is this.  I feel no pressure at all based on what I think the secretary and Admiral Mullen have already come out with.   


                You know, leadership is a contact sport.  You've got to be engaged every single day.  And I have absolutely no issues with talking to my soldiers, telling them how I feel and then getting their input.   


                So no pressure at all on that.   


                You know, leadership makes a difference, both from the squad leader all the way up to the division commander.  And I think a great strength of our Army right now is our soldiers and our young junior leadership.  So if I was to go ask a soldier, "How do you feel," like -- I think I would get that feedback.   


                And I don't think we've -- think we've set the command climate throughout the divisions, throughout the brigades that all our soldiers would feel comfortable telling their leadership exactly how they feel.  So I feel no pressure -- bottom line. 


                Q     Just to follow up, within the 101st, what are you hearing from the troops so far?  And since you feel no pressure about it, what is your view?  Do you think that you can implement a potential repeal?  Do you see issues?  Concerns?  What are your thoughts on this matter? 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Barbara, you know, if the decision is made -- once again, this is a law, and as you know, the military forces would follow law.  So if in fact the law is changed, we'll follow the law. 


                I see no issue with implementing that with our soldiers.  Our soldiers follow orders.  I think, as leaders, what we do is explain to our soldiers why we do something, make sure we don't keep them in dark.  We can articulate our positions with them.  And I have no issues or -- and no questions that our soldiers will obey that law.  Once again, leadership is a contact sport, and you got to do that face to face.   


                To tell you the truth, the last two weeks involving this exercise, as this discussion has come back up, I have not engaged in that conversation with the soldiers.  Based on what I'm hearing today and based on what has come out in the news, once I'm finished with the MRX, we'll make sure that we do that engagement with our soldiers.  But you know, I feel no pressure, absolutely, and I give great credit to our soldiers and our noncommissioners -- and our officers that they'll obey any orders that we ask them to do there. 


                Q     Can -- 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  I really don't think it's a big deal with the 101st. 


                Q     Can I just follow up with General Layfield?  Because, sir, of course, you have a broader, beyond-the-101st sort of oversight of the U.S. Army.  Do you have any sense at this point about how the Army will go about -- you know, Secretary Gates says he wants to know what the troops really think about the challenge of implementation.  How will the Army go about precisely finding out what the troops think and assembling that information, getting their honest views, and formulating, you know, whatever your thoughts are about potential challenges to implementation? 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  Well, first of all, you know, I want to echo everything John just said.  And you're right, the Joint Forces Command, we do get a chance to get out and see a broader military footprint.  We train joint forces, not just Army forces, Barbara, as you know.  And so we get a chance to talk with all the services and see them in their training environments. 


                But John is spot-on.  One of the great strengths of our military today, and it's relevant in this division right now -- if you were here, you'd feel it and see it -- is the command climate.  The leadership talks to their troops, our troops talk to their leaders. There's no problem with that.  And so when John says he has no issues talking directly to the soldiers and getting their feelings on things, I believe that, and it's true.  And that's the case for all of our military that I've witnessed out there. 


                And everybody knows -- we all know that our leaders are forming advice right now, and we'll wait for that advice.  And like John says, I've never been in a situation in my entire military career where soldiers didn't follow orders and get on with their mission, and I see no different with that coming up. 


                Q     Good morning, Generals.  Ann Roosevelt, with Defense Daily. 


                To go back to the exercise, I wonder, first, for General Campbell, during this exercise, have you discovered things you might want to change with your own processes as you go through this?  And secondly, have you discovered things you might want to push down to your brigades about training or about what you might expect through this exercise? 


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Yeah -- I'm not sure who it is; I couldn't hear the name there.  It sounded like Ann.  But if that's you, thanks for that question, a great question. 


                Absolutely.  Part of the exercise, and the way that both BCTP [Battle Command Training Program] and Joint Forces Command runs this -- I mean, this is my exercise, so at the beginning of the exercise, I kind of lay out what my training objectives are.  And then there's also some focus areas I want to get at.  And a lot of it has to do with the procedures of how we're going to operate in Afghanistan in some specific functional areas. 


                And we didn't have all the answers as we came in.  And part of this whole thing is to get better each and every day.  And so that's kind of my guidance to my staff:  get better at something every single day.  And I think we've done that. 


                So we've gone through many processes.  We've taken a look at some of them.  And as we've come up to something that doesn't make sense, or there's a better way to do it, we've absolutely had to change how we -- how we do that.  So I mean, that's a benefit of doing that now, as opposed to waiting till we get into country. 


                A lot of the -- a big part of my job -- there's a lot of decisions that will get made.  You know, what I get paid to do is make the tough decisions.  There's easy decisions and tough decisions.  I'm going to let the easy decisions go to somebody else, and make sure that I provide the commander's intent so that my commanders and staff understand which ones those are.  And then, the hard decisions, they get raised to me. 


                And what I got to work through here is all the -- all the data that we -- that we turn into information. 


                It's got to come to me at a level that I can consume that piece, make sure I'm getting the best available, and then make that decision.   


                So we've really wrestled a couple different ways to do that.  I have changed a couple processes on how we do that.  And I think once I get out of here, I'm going to go on another leader's recon and link up with the 82nd here probably mid-month and take a look at what I've learned here, apply that to what they're doing in the 82nd and we'll continue to adjust. 


                The great thing is, I have some time to do that.  In the back of my mind, I know there's great momentum in what the 82nd is already doing, so I don't want to go in theater and come in and say, bump, I'm going to change this or do that.  So I have to be nested with what General "Scap" is doing there as well.  


                So we have taken some things here and then gotten back to brigades and said, hey, the format on this particular report or the frequency of this report I want you to adjust, and that will help facilitate the information that I get.  So there are lessons learned that we're passing down to our brigades, and having the brigades that will be underneath me here really helps that out.   


                I do have brigades that we believe will follow on my brigades potentially.  I have some of the representation here as well both on the aviation side and some other IBCTs [Brigade Combat Teams].  And we bring them into the fray and make sure we bring them on early and make sure they understand how we operate at the staff level.  So I think that's been very beneficial for us.  


                Q     (Off mike) -- ask a follow-on to that.  General Layfield, what are you learning that you'll take back to JFCOM for future iterations of such headquarters training?  And will any of it apply to the work JFCOM is doing with the small units? 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  Well, thank you for the opportunity to jump onto this.  Again, I concur with precisely what John was saying about the learning continuum he's on.   


                Our guys at Joint Forces Command are in a(n) unbelievably unique position to be able to see precisely what's working out there and what needs adjustment.  We have a forward support element that is embedded with every deployed force right now, and they stay there.  And one of their main missions is to do just that, to see what's working, to make  sure that we're adjusting to what's working, and to make sure that we stop training what isn't working.  And that's what they do.   


                We've done it with this outfit here.  And we do it real time.  If something happened today, we would analyze it, we'd discuss it with the division and we would put it into practice right now, and then we would share it with the remainder of the military force out there. 


                This is a great strength of the American military.  It's a huge strength.  We've refined how we do this.  The electronics and the technology today allows us to do this real-time.   


                And so one of the great things that we have learned, during this particular rotation, is that -- that would be a big part of the adjustments that John is making and that we'll make at Joint Forces Command, for future exercises and that is, there has been an insertion of another headquarters into the ISAF footprints called, you know, the ISAF Joint Headquarters with General Rodriguez.   


                This is a new entity in theater, hasn't been there on previous rotations.  And it's got, you know, a very specialized mission to control the operations out there, while General McChrystal focuses up and out on strategic watch.  And General Rodriguez and John will work very, very closely together.   


                And so we have to watch that specifically for any nuances or change that we need to blend into the training environment, for this force and our follow-on forces.  And so for me on a personal note, this is one of the big takeaways that we're looking for as we speak.   


                And there are many more.  But the fact that we have an ethos to stick with and remain relevant and up-to-date and pride ourselves as the U.S. military, on the ability to adjust to what's happening out there and adapt to it, so our commanders have the greatest chance for success that we could possibly allow them.   


                Q     General Layfield, can I ask you, sir, how did the shift to population-centric operations in Afghanistan affect the training schedule that you had going into this exercise or from previous exercises, in the sense of like how -- what you needed to conduct for the exercise to go on in the future.   


                And for General Campbell, you spoke earlier about the JRTC and all the Afghan-centric training that's going on right now.  Do you think that this is going to go on for the foreseeable future, for your division, that you're going to have to concentrate on Afghanistan specifically and not as much on full-spectrum?   


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  I only got the last part of it.  I don't think we heard the question to General Layfield.  You were coming kind of broken.  I think the only part I got was the question on, is that what I'm going to be doing for the foreseeable future and not full- spectrum, I think is what you said.   


                You know, the Army has a goal to get to a 1:2 dwell.  And I think as we continue to increase the dwell based on potential requirements coming down in Iraq, the opportunities to continue to look at a wider range of full-spectrum ops will be out there for training.  We've got very good models and a strategy and a road to war to get at where we need to get at.  And based on that time frame, we're able to work up where we need to get at to accomplish the mission. 


                I think, for the brigades that I have going in, starting now -- and 3rd Brigade's en route as we speak -- throughout the end of the summer we've got a very good plan to focus on Afghanistan.  Once we come back in, based on the next time that they would deploy, we could adjust that to include a little bit more full-spectrum or we could focus on Afghanistan.  That's a little bit farther out in the future. 


                But the lessons that we've learned, the new things like the language and the cultural aspects that we've been able to import here, instead of doing four months in Washington, we do it here so we have better-quality time, dwell time for our soldiers.  We'll try to continue to sustain that. 


                Q:  (Inaudible) -- try for General Layfield?  You want to try and ask it?  Because --  I think it's my microphone.  General Layfield, we'll try again.  How did the shift to population-centric -- you're not hearing me.  You want -- 


                MR. TURNER:  How does the shift to population-centric -- 


                Q:  You know, the strategy towards population-centric emphasis, you know, how did that affect their training exercise? 


                MR TURNER:  How -- yeah, okay.  How did -- how did that shift affect your training, the population-centric? 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  How'd the shift to populations -- yeah, I'll answer it from a Joint Force perspective and pass it off to you -- okay, I think your question -- and I'm not sure who was asking it, John, but I think your question was how did the -- General McChrystal's tactical directive and his shift towards a population-centric approach -- how does that -- how has that affected our regime? I think that's what you said. 


                Dramatically.  It has -- it has caused all of us to go back and reinforce what we were doing in that arena to begin with.  We've always been population-centric and concerned about civilian casualties and concerned about what General McChrystal's directive says.  This has just reinforced that ethos.   


                And so it has caused us to go back and scrub every single training venue, every training vignette that we put on to a training audience and make sure that we're giving them the opportunity to be challenged with that sort of guidance coming from their new commander, General McChrystal. 


                And so yes, it has definitely not changed anything with respect to how we put on an exercise; it has clearly refocused us on what we want to present to the training audience for him to be able to produce exactly what General McChrystal's asking him to do in theater.  


                So thank you for the question.   


                MR. TURNER:  Okay.  With that, I'm going to turn it back to you, gentlemen, for any closing remarks you might care to make. 


                GEN. LAYFIELD:  Well, I'll go first, very shortly, and turn it over to this great commander.   


                We're out here embedded right now with the CJTF-101 [Combined Joint Task Force].  And I will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that this is a very mature organization, a very experienced organization, and we are -- we are giving them every challenge that we can. We are talking to theater daily, and we're throwing things at this outfit, so they can be as best they as they will be able to be when they hit the ground running. 


                The 101 Airborne Air Assault is ready, and I just want to say that in no uncertain terms.  It's a great outfit.   


                Over to you, John.   


                GEN. CAMPBELL:  Thanks, Stephen. 


                We really do appreciate the great support that Joint Forces Command has provided us -- I mean, the interagency piece, the civilians, our soldiers, the coalition participation makes this just an incredible exercise -- and feel very good that what we've learned will carry us and make that momentum go further in RC-East for us and will save soldiers' lives in the end result.  I mean, that's a big deal there.  Bottom line is, it'll save it. 


                This is a critical year for Afghanistan.  The president and General McChrystal have taken a look and said 12 to 18 months to make demonstrable progress.  I think, with exercises like this, it'll help move us toward that quicker.  So I feel very good about that. 


                And you know, the last thing I'd really like to say is thanks for asking us these questions.  Thanks to the community here at Fort Campbell, both in Kentucky and Tennessee, as we stride that border. We have the greatest community support of any Army post.  And then thanks to our families.  We couldn't do what we like to do and soldier without the great support of our Army families.  So, Army strong. Thanks. 


                MR. TURNER:  All right, gentlemen.  Thank you very much.









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