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Official Says DOD Is Focused on Threats From State Actors, Terrorists

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby held a briefing with journalists today, covering a broad range of topics from China, Russia and Pakistan to COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Russia

Kirby said there's been an unusual build up of Russian military activity near Ukraine in the last several days.

"We continue to consult with allies and partners on the issue," he said. "We continue to monitor this closely. Any escalatory or aggressive actions by Russia would be of great concern to the United States.

"We would urge Russia to be more clear about its intentions," he added.

China and North Korea

Both nations have been building up their nuclear missile capabilities.

"What we're focused on is being able to address the threats and challenges in the region," Kirby said, referring to the "pacing challenge" from China, as well as potential actions by North Korea.

The Defense Department, he said, would "obviously support any level of dialogue and discussion that reduces the threats of weapons of mass destruction," but the matter would be better addressed at the State Department and White House levels.

A man speaks at a podium.
Pentagon Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon, Nov. 5, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Wheeler, DOD
VIRIN: 211105-N-SH180-1027

"What we have to stay focused on is making sure that to the degree there is a threat and a challenge, that we're ready to deter that threat and challenge and defeat it if necessary, and that's what our focus is on here. But nobody wants to see an arms race that leads to conflict and confrontation," he added.

Pakistan

Pakistan remains a key partner in the region, he said. "We look for opportunities to continue to work with Pakistan to address what is a shared threat, a shared terrorism threat along that spine between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and we're going to continue to explore opportunities to do that."

Kirby added that Pakistan itself has fallen victim to terrorism in that border region, and the country's citizens have been killed or wounded, "so, they have a real stake in this."

Vaccinations

Kirby also reminded those present that Nov. 22 is the deadline for DOD civilians to show proof that they've been vaccinated for COVID-19.

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