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Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder Holds an On-Camera Press Briefing

BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: All right. Well, good afternoon, everyone. Just a few things to cover and I'll get right to your questions. 

As you're aware, North Korea conducted another ballistic missile launch last night launching to short range missiles. The United States strongly condemns this irresponsible act, which violates numerous unanimous United Nations Security Council mandates. The DPRK is urged to immediately cease actions that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, escalate military tensions, destabilize the region, and endanger the peace and security of innocent people. In response to the DPRK’s provocative ballistic missile launch, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group joined by two Japanese Navy destroyers, and one Republic of Korea Navy destroyer arrived October 5, in the Sea of Japan to conduct trilateral Ballistic Missile Defense exercises. These exercises send a clear message of allied unity between our nations and enhance the interoperability of our collective forces. The exercises also demonstrate the deep strength of our trilateral relationship with Japan and the Republic of Korea, which is resolute against those who challenge regional stability. Moving forward, we will continue to consult closely with our allies and partners and stand ready to respond appropriately to any potential future provocative acts by North Korea. As always, we remain committed to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific and peace and stability throughout the region. 

Separately, after 18 months of thorough work to include consultations with subject matter experts, historians and communities rooted in the bases in question, the Naming Commission completed its analysis and provided Secretary Austin with its final report. After reviewing the report, the Secretary has concurred with all of the Naming Commission's recommendations and is committed to implementing them as soon as possible. Today, Secretary Austin has directed DoD leaders and the services via a memo to begin implementation immediately following the NDAA-mandated 90 day waiting period. A copy of the memo will be available on Secretary Austin is grateful for the work of the Commission and thanks them for their dedicated efforts and recommendations that will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes; whose valor, courage, and patriotism, exemplify the very best of the U.S. military. 

Also, the White House announced today new actions by more than 20 agencies, to include the Department of Defense designed to bolster the federal government's resilience to climate change impacts. As you may recall, last year, the DoD released its climate adaption plan on October 7, 2021. Today, we're releasing a progress report highlighting DoD’s investments toward increasing our resilience and efforts to improve combat capability, while also reducing the department's climate impacts. The full DoD report is available on 

Finally, on a special note, we'd like to recognize and congratulate U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Nicole Mann, who yesterday became the first female Marine and Native American to lead a NASA space flight. Colonel Mann and SpaceX Crew-5 successfully launched into space from Kennedy Space Center, bound for the International Space Station with Colonel Mann serving as the mission commander. Semper Fi and Bravo Zulu Colonel Mann. We wish her and the crew the best for successful mission. 

And with that, I will take your questions. We'll go to Lita first -- yes, ma'am? 

Q: Thanks, Pat. The North Koreans have also flown fighter jets on bombers near the border, which prompted another response from South Korea. Today, they flew like another 30 aircraft in response. What does the department think of this sort of ratcheting up of tensions in the area? Does this suggest tensions are higher than they have been in quite some time? Does this sort of suggest that there could be an ICBM test? Or some sort of nuclear test from North Korea coming? What is the U.S. assessment of these actions?

GEN. RYDER: Well, sure, I mean, overall, as -- as I've mentioned, we consider this behavior destabilizing, unhelpful and irresponsible. And again, we call on the DPRK to cease these types of actions. As I mentioned, in my opening remarks, our focus continues to be on consulting closely with our allies in the region to include South Korea and Japan, on how to best and most appropriately respond to this these types of actions. And so, in the days ahead, we'll continue to do that.

Q: Does the U.S. see moving the ships into that region as further provoking North Korea to do something more?

GEN. RYDER: Were really I don't want to speak for North Korea in terms of what may or may not be causing them to respond this way. I am aware of their public statements on the matter. Regardless, our focus in the region, these are actions that we announced in advance, they’re actions that we have implemented as part of a defense in support of our -- our allies in the region. And so, again, we'll continue to focus on those areas, and would hope that North Korea would also have the best interests of the region and peace and stability as well. Thank you. Since I know this is on your mind, you want to ask about Ukraine today, right?

Q: Thank you, (inaudible). North Korea fired two different kinds of missiles at a new locations, and North Korea is firing missiles at different place at different times. How do you see these?

GEN. RYDER: Sure. Well, you know, I know we've said it from here and others within the U.S. government, that clearly, North Korea is testing its missile program. It's looking to adapt. And the issue here, though, is that these actions are provocative. They're dangerous. And as you well know, North Korea has not committed to any type of constructive or strategic dialogue on these issues. And so, in so much as they're testing these missiles, and the way that they're doing it -- it has the great potential for destabilizing the region. So, again, we're going to continue to work closely with our allies, to demonstrate our commitment to the defense of one another's interests and nations. And so, in the days ahead, we’ll continue to consult closely in the event of potential future tests or other actions. I would hope that doesn't occur. But if it does, we'll be prepared.

Q: Do you think it's time for the military actions against North Korea? The United States prepared for them?

GEN. RYDER: No, I think that we're going to continue to work closely with Japan and with South Korea, again, our focus is on preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific, an Indo-Pacific that's peaceful and stable. And again, we'll call on North Korea, to look to work towards those same interests. Let me go ahead and move on here. 

Lara, and then I'm going to go to the phone.

Q: Two questions. First of all, to follow up on North Korea. Can you talk a little bit about the Ballistic Missile Defense exercises that the Ronald Reagan strike group participated in? What do these involve exactly? Are they shooting interceptors? Or are they doing other types of activities?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so what I can provide you is just a little insight into the ships that are participating, I'd refer you to INDOPACOM, they can provide you with some additional details on the specifics. But we've got the USS Chancellorsville from the strike group, which is a guided missile cruiser, and then the USS Benfold, which is a guided missile destroyer, that also is a part of the carrier strike group. They're conducting these exercises in the Sea of Japan, alongside a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer and a republic. Two destroyers actually and Republic of Korea Navy destroyer. And so, again, I I'd refer you to them for the specifics in terms of the operational level details of the exercise. 

Q: To follow up on that, some experts have noted that North Korea fired the missiles on Tuesday after the U.S. and South Korea began these joint military exercises that we haven't done in five years, what -- what would you what would your response be to that claim that, you know, we started it?

GEN. RYDER: Well, clearly, again, us participating in exercises in the region or engaging in bilateral or trilateral exercises is not something new. We have long-standing defense relationships, a relationship with both China up with both South Korea and with Japan. And these are defensive exercises that are focused on how we would defend ourselves and how we would deter, and they are not a threat at all to the region, unlike the provocative activities coming from North Korea. So, let me go ahead and move on. 

Yes, sir. 

Q: Thank you, sir. Another question on the aircraft in the north and south. I believe the South Korean’s said that the northern fighters and bombers crossed the special reconnaissance line. Just wondering if you could give a sense of how close those North Korean aircraft actually got to the border. And secondly, is there any precedent for this? I'm not aware of the South scrambling jets in response to Northern aircraft coming close to the border. This is a new phenomenon. Is this a new avenue of stabilization? Is that something you're concerned about? 

GEN. RYDER: Yes. So, at a macro level, I'm not aware of any specific, for example, unsafe or unprofessional behavior by North Korean pilots in terms of where they went to in terms of the border app to refer you to South Korea. Similarly, any anything regarding South Korean Air Forces, they'd be in the best position to answer your question. Thank you. 

Let me go to the phone here real quick. Steve Beynon from 

Q: I appreciate it. Has there been any further discussions or plans when it comes to training Ukrainians on American soil with using any schools, Ranger School or any NCO professional development schools or anything along those lines?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Steve. I don't have anything specific to provide today in terms of Ukrainians on U.S. soil, you know, certainly we -- we have a long-standing security relationship with Ukraine, and have had Ukrainians in the past, serving in various locations in the U.S., for example. From my own experience, during my time at U.S. Central Command, for example, we had Ukrainian forces there. But I don't have anything specific to provide in terms of training on U.S. soil. I will say in the -- in the days and weeks ahead, as we continue to work with our international partners and our allies on support to Ukraine, as -- as was discussed at the last Contact Group at Ramstein, training is a significant aspect of that. Most of that training is being conducted in the European area of responsibility. But if and when we have anything to announce regarding training on U.S. soil, we'll be sure to let you do that. Thank you. 

Let me go one more on the phone here. And we'll come back to the group. JJ Green, WTOP.

Q: General, thank you for the opportunity. Instability on the battlefield has been pretty consistent in this war in Ukraine that Russia is waging. But we're starting to see a lot more inconsistency and pressure on the administration, the Putin administration in Moscow. And I'm just curious if -- if this is of concern to the U.S. military because of Russia's threats, and because of some of the actions that Russia has taken in terms of the Zaporizhzhia plan. And those threats, I'm referring to our threats of using possibly tactical nuclear weapons.

GEN. RYDER: OK, if I -- if I can -- apologize -- break down your question. So, what I think you're asking is concerns about instability in the Russian government. And then concerns about nuclear threats. Was that your question, JJ? 

Q: That's it. 

GEN. RYDER: So, in regards to the Russian government, I'm not going to comment on that. That's clearly something that's in the purview of the Russian people. Our focus is on supporting Ukraine, as they defend their -- their country. In terms of the -- the nuclear threats. You know, we've talked about this. Many people in our government and in the international community, to include Secretary Austin, have highlighted the fact that this nuclear saber rattling is reckless and irresponsible. As I've mentioned before, at this stage, we do not have any information that would cause us to change our strategic deterrence posture. And we don't assess that President Putin has made a decision to use nuclear weapons at this time. Again, we're taking it very seriously. We'll continue to monitor. But in the meantime, again, our focus is on supporting Ukraine. 

OK, I may come back to the room. Tony?

Q: (OFF-MIKE) south east of Korea, South Korea. Are you implying? Are you saying that they are all equipped with Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense capability, the Chancellorsville and I think that the Bainbridge you said?

GEN. RYDER: We've got the Chancellorsville and the Benfold.

Q: Are they equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense equipment?

GEN. RYDER: I'd have to refer you to the Navy on that.

Q: OK, so if the Navy blows us off, can you direct them the answer to that question? No, seriously, because there's a limited number of those vessels on the...

GEN. RYDER: We'll take the question, Tony, and we'll get you what we can provide.

Q: The USS Chesterville you talked about earlier, the commission to rename bases. Did they recommend that the USS Chancellorsville be named? Renamed?

GEN. RYDER: I'd have to go back and look at the report, Tony. I don't have that in front of me. Thanks very much. 

OK, Kasim.

Q: General, is there any discussion at the Pentagon on a potential revision of relations with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates after the OPEC Plus decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day? 

GEN. RYDER: So, I don't have anything to provide from a DoD perspective. Obviously, the The White House has put out a statement on that, but I'd refer you to the White House.

Q: Congressman, members of Congress has put out statements, tweets that the United States should revise its relations with the Saudi Arabia and also stop providing arms, arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What is the Pentagon's position on this?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I'm not going to comment on any congressional statements. You know, again, our focus is on conducting our mission, whatever that may be. And I'll just leave it at that. Thanks.

Sir, and then I'll come to you.

Q: InsideDefense. To OPEC, it looks like DoD has reprogrammed about $2 billion since July, to address unbudgeted fuel costs. And now OPEC has said they're going to start cutting the global supply of oil. How is that going to impact how the department pays for fuel as it already seems to be a challenge? Because the cost has already been going up?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I'm not going to speak to OPEC in, you know, specifically, obviously, the Defense Logistics Agency does a great job every day of determining what the department's fuel and energy requirements are. They will take into account a whole variety of issues and factors and variables to ensure that our forces have the fuel and the energy they need, regardless of where they're serving. So, thanks very much. 


Q: Thank you, General. So, I have two questions. The first one is we've seen a number of statements coming out of Israel, indicating a potential escalation with Lebanon Minister of Defense Benny Gantz talked about this and even called on his forces to be ready for potential escalation, warned Hezbollah, media reports about the Security Council, Israel's security council, talking about preparation for potential escalation. Is the Pentagon monitoring the situation between Israel and Lebanon? Have you seen any indication of possibility of escalation between these two countries? And are you in touch with your counterparts both on Lebanon and Israel? And I have a separate question.

GEN. RYDER: Sure. So, you know, in terms of the -- the broader Middle East, we're always keeping an eye on things, we clearly have many partners in the region, and communicate with them on a regular basis, to include having representatives of the Department of Defense working in Israel. And in Lebanon, obviously, through our defense attaches and other security cooperation. In regards to the current situation, I don't have any specifics to provide, or, again, we'll continue to monitor the situation.

Q: And on the raid today in northeast Syria, our understanding is it happens near Qamishli. An ISIS leader goes by the name Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri was killed. Are you able to say whether the operation happened in an area that's controlled by the Syrian regime, military or forces loyal to the Syrian regime?

GEN. RYDER: So, I can tell you that it happened near the village of Qamishli, which is, as you know, northeast Syria. CENTCOM is putting out a statement on this, if you don't have it already, you should have it.

Q: (OFF-MIKE) but it doesn't go into that part. So, I was wondering if you can, if you have additional detail.

GEN. RYDER: I don't have any additional details provided. Thanks very much. 

Let me go to Rio, and then I go back out to the phone.

Q: Thank you General, for taking my question. On North Korea, could you give us an update on the North Korean’s preparation over nuclear test? Does that Pentagon assess North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test at any moment?

GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Rio. So, I, you know, talked about this a little bit on Tuesday. I don't have any updates to provide from what I provided to you previously, other than again, we do assess that -- that North Korea has been making preparations. If and when they do conduct a nuclear test, I'm not going to speculate. So, thanks. 

All right, let me go to the phone here. Heather, from USNI. 

Q: Thank you so much. Besides the two ships that you mentioned, as part of the Ronald Reagan, there any plans to send any more ships over there to conduct exercises to make a statement.

GEN. RYDER: So, thanks, Heather. I'm not tracking anything in particular. You know I'm not going to talk about future operations. But as of right now, I don't have anything beyond what I've already provided to you. Thank you. 

OK, sir.

Q: Before my South Asia question, if I may go to North Korea. Who have been helping North Korea, China or Russia, or is it something to do with the Ukraine war there?

GEN. RYDER: That is a very broad, open-ended question. And if you're -- if the question that you're asking is -- is China or Russia assisting North Korea with their missile program, I'm not really going to get into intelligence, what we may or may not know in that regard. Clearly, North Korea maintains a relationship with China and with Russia, which says a lot. And so, we'll just leave it at that. Thanks very much. And then your South Asia question. Yes, sir?

Q: On India. How seriously Secretary of Defense of this building takes the remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on or with President Putin that almost eight months or war will be over? Basically, one of the longest wars in history between a superpower and a tiny nation. So, almost eight months, so Prime Minister Modi said that war will be over already toward President Putin.

GEN. RYDER: I'm not sure I understand what what's the question.

Q: During the Prime Minister's -- during Modi's meeting with President Putin. He told President Putin that war should be over. And how seriously you think you -- this building or Secretary takes the remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I don't want to comment specifically on the Prime Minister's comments. What I will say is that, as evidenced recently by some of those discussions, and what we saw and in the public in terms of the response by international leaders to include in China, to President Putin is very indicative of the fact that Russia stands alone in this issue, and its aggression of Ukraine.

Q: The relation between military-to-military relations between the United States and India today.

GEN. RYDER: I think we have good relations. And I think as evidenced by secretaries, Austin's, Secretary Austin's engagements most recently, with both the Foreign Minister and with the Minister of Defense, it's a relationship that we look forward to continuing to improve, and particularly focused on the interoperability between our two militaries. So, I think it's moving in the in the right direction. 

OK. Let me go ahead and ask a few other questions. Yes, Liz.

Q: Thank you. Back to the ISIS raid in northeast Syria. It’s been years and years since the U.S. has conducted a raid in that part of the country. Can you speak to why now and the significance of that?

GEN. RYDER: So, I don't I don't know that I can speak to specifically why this location other than the fact that clearly there was an ISIS terrorist, and CENTCOM deemed it necessary as part of our continuing defeat ISIS campaign to strike there. I don't know that my point being location agnostic, right, we're going to go where we need to go. If there's a threat that presents itself. And again, I would encourage you to contact CENTCOM and they can give you a much higher level of detail.

Q: Thank you. And just to follow up on that, the SDF has conducted a series of raids at al Hol camp recently, and their U.S. backed forces. Is ISIS a growing threat in that camp?

GEN. RYDER: Well, I mean, you've seen, you've seen as I have a lot of reporting on the challenges with some of these large camps where you have ISIS. And these indoc -- the indoctrination of future ISIS. potential future -- future ISIS recruits. So, I know that this is something that's being taken very seriously, not only by the SDF, but also by the U.S. And as we work as part of the defeat ISIS campaign. So, you know, in a lot of ways ISIS, clearly ISIS is not the threat that they were back in 2014. And the point is, we want to keep it that way. And so, it's something that we have to just continue to work very hard on, which is, again, a large reason why you saw an operation like you did last night. Thank you. 

Let me go back to the phone, then I'll come back in the room here. Sangmin Lee from Radio Free Asia.

Q: Yes, thank you for taking my question. Let me ask you, again, North Korea. So, you mentioned that you're trying to close consultation with Japan and South Korea about responding major to North Korea provocations. So, can you tell me specifically what measure are you considering to respond to those grave provocations?

GEN. RYDER: I'm sorry, I'm having a real time, Sangmin, hearing what -- hearing what you're saying? Can you ask that again?

Q: Can you tell me any specific measure (inaudible) to this plan Korea provocation you are considering?

GEN. RYDER: Any specific measures? So, you know, again, I don't want to talk about potential future operations. As I mentioned, our focus is on working with our allies and our partners in the region to preserve peace and stability, to demonstrate that we are going to work together to deter potential future actions. If and when there are future provocations, you know, we'll take the appropriate action. Our role is to provide in the DoD is to provide our leadership with options. But I'm not going to speculate about what those may or may not be. 

OK. Let me go to Phil Stewart, Reuters.

Q: Well, hey, there. So, real quick, on the issue of the Saudis. Has the Secretary been contacted by members of Congress who Representative Malinowski is calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces in the wake of these, this decision by OPEC Plus? Has he been in contact with Saudi officials about his concerns, potentially, to U.S. military support and the U.S. military relationship there? Thanks.

GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Phil. In regards to communication with Congress, the Secretary communicates with members of Congress on a wide variety of issues. I don't I don't have any specifics to provide. He did conduct a phone call, as you know, with his Saudi counterpart, recently, and we issued a readout on that. So, you should have that available on our on our website there. We can get it to you, which details the -- the nature of that conversation. Thank you. 

Let me get some other folks here. Yes, sir.

Q: General, regarding to in Yemen, the other parties, they failed to extend the ceasefire agreement. So, how worried are you about any escalation could be happened in the next coming days? And my second question is, are you preparing for any future transfer of defense weapons to Saudi Arabia and Emirates.

GEN. RYDER: So, on your latter question, I don't have anything to announce today. In terms of Yemen, clearly, it's in everyone's interest for there not to be escalation, as evidenced by what we highlighted in that readout. So, again, we would hope that parties continue to work together to try to de-escalate and resolve this situation more peacefully. Thank you.

Yes, ma'am. 

Q: Back to Syria. I understand you don't have details on the location of the raid. But broadly speaking, can you tell us if whether the U.S. forces in Syria can conduct operations or raids in areas under the regime, the Syrian regime control without any sort of coordination with the regime forces?

GEN. RYDER: So, the short answer is we will conduct operations where we need to if there is a threat against U.S. personnel, our allies, or partners or our interests. And so, I'll just leave it at that. Thank you.

Yes, ma'am.

Q: Thank you. The adoption of sanctions against North Korea, apparently due to signing Russia's veto at the U.N. Security Council (inaudible) meeting yesterday, and also China blaming about the U.S. and ROK joint military exercises. How can you comment?

GEN. RYDER: I'm going to pause it. I'm not sure I understand. How do I comment on China and North Korea's condemnation of the?

Q: Compared to China, so China and Russia vetoes the U.N. Security Council sanctions against...

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I would say, again, our focus, the United States working with our allies and our partners in the region, our focus is on, and we've said this many times trying to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, I think many like-minded nations in the region agree. And that it's all it's in all of our best interests to have a region that's peaceful and that is stable, and that actions that detract from that are that are provocative and not helpful. So, I'll leave it at that. 

Let me go back to the phone here. Jeff Seldin, VOA.

Q: Thanks very much for doing this. So, quick question following up on ISIS in Syria. I know you don't have details of the actual raid itself. But taking a step back. Can you describe or talk about generally, the threat that ISIS poses, especially from regime-held areas of Syria? It's something that's been voiced multiple times over the years as concerns by U.S. officials, military officials. Is a threat from ISIS in regime-controlled Syria growing changing? What can you tell us about that?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Jeff. So, again, I would -- I would refer you to CENTCOM for a detailed explanation in terms of the current status of -- of ISIS and where they are in Syria specifically, again, ISIS in Syria is not a new thing. They were largely neutralized, of course, as you know, part of the counter-ISIS campaign but that -- that campaign still continues because the threat still exists, although to a much smaller degree. And so, our focus is to continue to work with our partners in the region, by, with, and through to eliminate that threat and hopefully prevent it from spreading further. Thanks. All right, let me go to Laura. And then we'll do a couple more in here.

Q: I just wanted to ask you, with the Defense Contact Group coming up next week, can you say a little bit about where the discussion stands? And in terms of sending tanks to Ukraine, modern tanks, not just the old Soviet tanks, I understand there's complications with sending the Abrams, but perhaps there's a German tank that there might be discussions around sending said, can you just give us an update?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I don't have any specifics today to provide clearly and we'll put out a press release on this announcing a bit next week, we will conduct a Ukraine Defense Contact Group session on the margins of the NATO defense ministerial. In Brussels. We look forward to engaging with our allies and our partners to discuss support to Ukraine. I know there'll be a variety of topics discussed to include security assistance. And so, after that, we may have more to provide. So, thank you. 

All right. Let me go. Yes, sir.

Q: I had a question about cyber security. There were reports that pro Russia hacking group, Kill Net, compromised a U.S. Defense data center, and also websites run by governments in states like Colorado and Connecticut. Does the Pentagon have any assessment of what happened there? Is there a statement you can provide?

GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I don't have anything on that. But we'll -- we'll take that question and we'll get back to you. 

Kasim, I'm going to go to you and I'm going to go to the phone. Yes, sir.

Q: Two clarification questions. One, you said you mentioned the phone call between SecDef and the Saudi counterpart. It was before of course, the OPEC Plus decision. Did he hand up to Secretary of Defense like saying, hey, we are going to do this?

GEN. RYDER: OK, thanks. Yeah. Thanks, Kasim. I'm not going to have anything to provide beyond what we've provided the readout. Thank you.

Q: And another question. The CENTCOM statement and you also mentioned village of Qamishli. Is this -- is this like, we know that the city of Qamishli; is this something separate from that?

GEN. RYDER: I would contact CENTCOM. They can give you the more specifics. Thank you. 

OK, let's go to Caitlin, New York Post.

Q: Hi there. Yesterday of the DoD released the names of Chinese military companies working in the U.S. Does the DoD have business dealings with any of these companies? And if the contractor discloses they work with these companies, is the department less likely to accept that bid?

GEN. RYDER: Sorry, Caitlin. I'm having a hard time hearing -- hearing you. Can you repeat that?

Q: Sure thing. So, yesterday, DoD released the names of the Chinese military companies working in the U.S. Does the DoD have business dealings with any of these companies? And if a contractor says that they do work with these companies, is the Pentagon less likely to accept that bid?

GEN. RYDER: Thanks for the question. Caitlin, we will -- I'll take that question and we'll come back to you on it. Thank you. 

All right, let me go to Karoun from Washington Post.

OK, anyone else in the room here? Yes, ma'am you get the last question.

Q: On Taiwan. Do you have a sense that there is adequate support for from the U.S. for Taiwan's defense in the near and short term -- short term and midterm, both in defensive capabilities as well as in planning and strategy, given the sort of innovative changes that are happening in technology in the area?

GEN. RYDER: Well, I think, you know, we've -- we've talked a lot about our relationship with Taiwan, and our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. I don't have anything specific to provide to you today but leave it at that. 

OK. Thank you very much, everybody. Appreciate it.