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Senior Defense Official and Senior Military Official Hold a Background Briefing

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Good morning. This morning, I'd like to focus my initial remarks on the department's recent -- most recent security assistance package for Ukraine, which we actually released just before the Thanksgiving holiday, on November 23rd.

But before I get into those specifics, I want to offer a bit of context that could help in understanding the urgency and importance of these capabilities that we're providing to Ukraine.

As we see Russian forces struggling on the ground in recent weeks, we have also seen Russia increasingly turning to airstrikes to damage Ukraine's energy grid infrastructure. These are horrific attacks to punish the Ukrainian people as winter approaches. They serve no legitimate military purpose.

The attacks also show Russia's willingness to increase the risk of a nuclear safety incident, which could have harmful consequences not only in Ukraine but across the wider region as well. Russia has shown no sign of relenting in its attacks on Ukraine's civilian infrastructure. And as we have described previously, Iran is providing Russia with an alternative source of weapons as Russia's own supplies diminish.

In this context, air defense capabilities remain an urgent priority for the United States and for our partners, in support of Ukraine. As part of the 25th presidential drawdown package announced earlier this month, we committed missiles for Hawk air defense systems as well as Avenger air defense systems and associated Stinger missiles.

Hawk is a mobile, medium range air defense capability to deny Russian aircraft and missiles flying at high altitudes. The missiles will compliment Spain's recent commitment of Hawk launchers. Avenger is a mobile, short-range air defense system that will improve Ukraine's ability to protect Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial systems and helicopters.

Our allies and partners have stepped up in this area too. Secretary Austin highlighted some of the most recent contributions at the last Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting on November 16th. Sweden announced its largest assistance package yet, which included air defense systems. Spain promised to send two more Hawk launchers and missiles. And Poland has committed short-range air defense capabilities. And a number of allies and partners have committed advanced medium range air-to-air, or what we call AMRAAM, missiles for the NASAMS air defense system that the U.S. has provided.

And that brings me to Wednesday's announcement of our 26th drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories. This package also includes additional AMRAAM missiles for NASAMS. Two of these systems are now operational in Ukraine and we have committed six more.

As the Secretary has noted, their performance so far in intercepting Russian missiles has been very impressive. Presidential drawdown package 26 also includes 150 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights to help counter unmanned aerial systems.

Now, beyond air defense, this latest package includes a range of other important capabilities, including additional ammunition for HIMARS, 200 precision-guided 155 millimeter artillery rounds, 10,000 120 millimeter mortar rounds, HARM, or High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, 150 Humvees, and over 100 light tactical vehicles, 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, as well as spare parts, as we always provide, in this case, for 155 millimeter howitzers as well as other equipment.

Now, with temperatures dropping in Ukraine, it will be a challenging winter but we expect that Ukrainian forces will continue fighting. In anticipation, our latest package includes over 200 generators for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and this is on top of the winter equipment in our previous package, presidential drawdown package 25, which included tents, heaters, and several thousand pieces of cold weather gear.

So now, in total, the United States has committed more than $19 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's invasion on February 24th. We will continue to consult closely with Ukraine and coordinate with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to defend itself against Russian aggression.

Thank you. And over to (inaudible).

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Hi, everybody. Good morning. Good to be back with you after a little hiatus. I'll just give you a quick rundown of what we're seeing on the battlefield here on the 279th day of -- of fighting in Russia's illegal and unprovoked large scale invasion of Ukraine. And I'll -- let me walk you from north to south and then I'll save the balance of the time for questions and conversation.

So in the north, near Kharkiv, still pretty heavy fighting. That line, I want to say it's the P-66 highway, which runs from Svatove down to Kreminna. The -- largely has become the front line trace of both Ukrainian and Russian forces.

We see Russian forces building pretty significant defensive positions in that portion of the battle space, and then as you move further south towards Lysychansk and then continue to move further south towards Bakhmut, those lines have not changed dramatically but the exchange of fighting -- in terms of artillery -- is pretty significant.

As you get into Bakhmut, in particular -- so now continuing further south in and around Bakhmut, that fighting has been very intense. And we have seen over the past several days, in fact, positions that have changed on both sides. So Ukrainian offensive around Bakhmut, which gained some ground against the Russians, and then a Russian counter-offensive which took that ground back.

And again, we've seen this back and forth now for weeks between the Russians and the Ukrainians in the vicinity of Bakhmut and really in the Donetsk Oblast there, as you head south, and then proceed towards Zaporizhzhia.

So Zaporizhzhia -- no significant fighting in and around Zaporizhzhia. I know there was conversation about the Russians supporting the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. We don't have anything in particular on that. Certainly, if that nuclear power plant was handed over responsibly, that'd be a great thing, but no indications of any concern with the nuclear power plant.

And then down to Kherson, you know, since I was on this last, you've seen the Russians move to the east side of the Dnieper River. Although the Ukrainians now own all the ground on the west side of the river, there are significant de-mining operations that are occurring by Ukrainian forces, and the Russians continue to shell to the west side of the river as well. But certainly great gains there in Kherson as the Ukrainians press to the river over the past month.

In terms of the maritime domain, we estimate around three ships that are underway in the Black Sea, including Kalibr-capable ships. Not a lot of air operations from the Russian side. You know, weather has been pretty limiting, I think, in terms of operations on both sides in the air, and we've seen a reduction in air sorties overall. We continue to train the Ukrainians in a number of ways, as do our partners.

And I will hold right there pending any comments or questions as we go on.

STAFF: Great, thank you, (inaudible). We will open it up for questions. First question to Tara Copp, A.P.

Q: Hi. Thanks for doing this.

On the latest tranche of military aid, has that already gotten into Ukraine? Can you say if the generators have already gotten in? And are there plans to send more, given the temperature's dropping?

And then on just the operational update, how would you describe the current status of fighting, you know, around the Dnieper River? Is it kind of at a -- a stalemate? Are you seeing still a lot of firepower? Can you give us any sort of sense of how many fighters, both Russian and Ukrainian, are amassed there?


SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Thanks. I'll take the first couple, and then -- to see if our senior military official would like to take the third.

In terms of the equipment that I just mentioned, most of that is not yet in Ukraine. We just announced it on Wednesday of last week. But with drawdown equipment, typically it's a matter of days or weeks before it arrives in country because we're just pulling it from our stocks and then, you know, immediately delivering it. So I would anticipate soon -- that it will soon be delivered.

The generators specifically, these generators were -- they're relatively small generators that we knew that the Ukrainians could use compatible with their power system. So you know, although we will continue to look for additional capability, I would not expect that we will have a lot more internal to our own supplies. But it's important to put this in context because this is just assistance for the Ukrainian Armed Forces specifically from the Defense Department. And you know, as we speak, my civilian counterparts in civilian agencies of the U.S. government are working actually, with European allies and global partners to support the Ukrainian civilian energy infrastructure.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Tara, in terms of what we're seeing along the Dnieper River, so as I mentioned, you know, the Russians have moved to the east side of the Dnieper River and are continuing to shell across the river into the Kherson oblast. I think it's fair to say there are, you know, several thousand from both sides. There's generally some parity in that portion of the battlespace in terms of numbers of Russians and numbers of Ukrainians. Both have placed the river. As you know, the -- the Russians blew the bridges as they were crossing back to the other side to prevent Ukrainian pursuit across those bridges. “Stalemate" may not be the right term. I don't think I would call it a stalemate. I would just say that, you know, that's a pretty sizable obstacle between the two. And as I mentioned, the Ukrainians are pretty busy demining and trying to pick up the pieces from what the Russians did to the land and to the area on the other side of the river.

STAFF: Thank you.

Q: Just as a quick -- just as a quick follow-up, in terms of, like, the intensity of the firefight, is it less intense now than it had been, say, a month ago?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, much so much less in comparison. I mean, when the Russians were on the west side of the Dnieper River it was a constant barrage back and forth between the two with some limitations on the Russian side, we think, based on some munitions -- which is probably one of the reasons that the Russians chose to come back to the other side. They were in a pretty bad position being -- or bad position being pressured pretty hard by the Ukrainians. So yeah, much reduced in terms of the severity in the Kherson oblast.

STAFF: Thank you. Next question, Howard Altman?

Q: Thanks.

I have questions about some supply flights, and then operational. Any update on the Iranian -- the -- the supply of Iranian short-range ballistic missiles to Russia? And any insight into what China is providing Russia in those flights from China to Russia?

And then on the operational side, what is the Russian objective in Bakhmut to continue this fight? And then do you have any insight into the Ukrainian operations in the Kinburn Spit?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: So in terms of Iran, you know, I don't have updates specifically on -- you asked about the short-range ballistic missiles. You know, we do know that, you know, that Iran is still -- you know, continues to deny that they're providing weapons to Ukraine, but there is extensive evidence at this point that they have been supporting Ukraine -- I'm sorry -- they have been supporting Russia in Ukraine, and that Iranian military personnel have been on the ground in Crimea and assisting Russia in operations. But I don't have additional details.

The other questions that you had -- I think you had a question about Russia-China. I don't have anything on those specific flights that you're talking about.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: I don't -- I certainly don't have anything on the Russia-China flights.

On the Russian objective in Bakhmut, you know, Bakhmut itself, there's a lot of significance about Bakhmut. You know, first of all, it's a pretty decent intersection of road and rail, and so from a logistics standpoint and the ability to press off, Bakhmut offers an opportunity to go in a bunch of different directions.

I think and I'm going to show my ignorance a little bit here -- there's also some pretty historical connections back to Bakhmut as far back as, you know, probably much further, but back to World War II. And I think Bakhmut was a location in which there were 3,000 or so, you know, I think Jews that were put inside a tunnel or a cave and sealed up by the Nazis. And so I think there is a large connection to Bakhmut itself from the Ukrainian people. But I'll let you do the history on that because, again, I may have misconstrued that.

But I think tactically, there is a big advantage to holding Bakhmut, and you know, if you look back to the 2014-2015 period, the Russians were never able to press as far as Bakhmut, and so I think there's some great Ukrainian pride associated with that, in addition to the tactical relevance.

STAFF: Hey, Howard, I think we're going to go ahead and move on just because we had a few follow-ups from you, and we have a lot of questions to get to today.

So next question, over to Tom Bowman, NPR.

Q: Yes, so on air defenses, there's still talk about possibly providing a Patriot system to Ukraine, maybe from one of the European countries. Can you address that? And also, you know, we've long asked about possibility of providing aircraft to Ukraine; also, longer-range artillery, if you could address that, as well.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: So Tom, I would say that on air defense, this is our top priority, and we are looking at all the possible capabilities that could help the Ukrainians withstand Russian attacks.

So, you know, all of the capabilities are on the table and we are looking at what the United States can do, we're looking at what our allies and partners can do, and, you know, looking at combinations of capabilities that would be useful.

I think it is important, you know, to note that just in the past couple months, there have been a number of offers of support for air defense. You know, we've heard great things about the IRIST system that Germany contributed. Spain, in addition to the Hawk I mentioned, has contributed the Aspide system. France has committed the Crotale system. And again, additional Hawk launchers on the way.

So we're looking at all these combinations of equipment, even as we look at additional capability that we can provide. I hope that's helpful.

Oh, and that applies, as well, to -- you asked about Tac Air, and, you know, that's the same discussion that we've had previously on this, where we certainly are considering, you know, all the possible, you know, capabilities that will be useful for the Ukrainian future force, but from an aviation perspective, we do see that as a longer term capability need, whereas air defense is an immediate priority for us.

Q: Well, can you say specifically if Patriots are on the table?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'm just going to say that all capabilities are on the table.

Q: Including Patriots?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Patriot is one of the air defense capabilities that is being considered among all others.


Q: Great. Thanks.

STAFF: Thanks -- thank you. Nick Schifrin, PBS?

Q: Hey, guys. Thank you.

Can you update at all on North Korean artillery deliveries? Obviously we've talked about that in the past, but as far as I can tell, we haven't had any kind of update on that in -- in the last few weeks.

And (inaudible), can I ask about artillery use on the battlefield? There -- there's been a lot of discussion about the Ukrainians firing 4 to 7,000, the Russians firing two or three times that each day, and -- and both sides worried about the numbers in their own inventories. What numbers are we seeing today, in terms of actual artillery shells flying? And -- and is there a concern on -- on our side about getting Ukraine enough of those?


SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Nick, on North Korea, you know, I'm not sure there's a lot of really new information. In September, we know that the DPRK, you know, publicly denied that it's providing ammunition to Russia, but we do have information that they are covertly supplying Russia's war in Ukraine with artillery shells and we know that DPRK is trying to obfuscate the real destination of their arms shipments by trying to make it appear as though they're being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.

But, you know, we're monitoring this, we're monitoring for deliveries, but I don't have any additional, new information for you on that.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Hey, Nick, on -- on artillery employment -- so first of all, from the very beginning of the conflict, this has been in some cases, an artillery duel. And as you rightly stated, I mean, the Russian ability to outpace the Ukrainians in artillery is nothing new. So in fact, what I would tell you is that has decreased over time, in terms of the ratio at which the Russians have been able to out-shoot the Ukrainians.

We assess part of that is probably due to Russian munition numbers. It's also due in, you know, part to the Ukrainian effectiveness with the employment of their artillery and some of their systems. So, you know, the ability of the Ukrainians to identify Russian artillery systems and Russian radars has been pretty effective, and they've been combining the use of not just their tube artillery, but as you know, the HIMARS and the employment of GMLRS to get after the Russian artillery effectiveness. So I guess what I'm saying is there are a lot of pieces to this.

And then the other piece would be there are a lot of types of artillery. So, you know, there's a lot of time spent on 155 because, you know, we provided a bunch of 155 howitzers, as you know, as did a bunch of our allies and partners.

But there are also 105s, there are also 152s, 122s, and the stockpiles of those munitions, depending on the type, varies. We certainly are -- you know, we keep an eye on this and our Ukrainian partners talk to us clearly about their employment.

I think it's interesting -- if you look -- somebody -- I -- I'm not sure where it was -- we were talking about this earlier -- there were some photos this week or over the weekend that were kind of giving an indication of the way things look. I think it was particular to Bakhmut.

But if you look at the way that it looks, it looks very similar to the way things did back in World War I. And so you have these two sides that are facing off and they are attempting to, you know, pummel each other with artillery, use the artillery to provide them an opportunity to move people forward, but then once they get to that spot, the other side is trying to do the same thing.

You know, I watched -- I'm not supposed to give any endorsements, I don't think, but -- I don't know if I -- that's true or not -- but I watched that -- I watched the remake of "All Quiet On The Western Front" over the holidays and, you know, on Netflix, by the way -- which -- which was really, really well done.

And all I could think while I was watching that -- you know, I -- I've been -- I certainly -- as -- as you know, I've been around for a while. Like my peers, have been under fire before. But I don't think we can compare -- well -- well, I know we can't compare what the Ukrainians are going through right now -- and if you look at "All Quiet On The Western Front" and you see that and the devastation in a movie and then you transpose that into what's going on day-to-day on the Ukrainian battlefield, it's pretty staggering, all started because the Russians chose to invade this country back in February. You know, pretty -- I don't know, just pretty impactful.

I don't know if I gave you any answer to your question there but I'll leave it at that, Nick.

STAFF: Thank you. Next up, we'll go to Alex Horton, Washington Post.

Q: Hey, folks. Thanks for doing this.

Hey, Senior Military Official, you had mentioned ongoing training, and I was curious on what it looks like on the medical side. Are you training, you know, surgeons and medics in, you know, combat casualties, amputations, you know, severity of limb loss, that sort of thing? Can you give us a little bit of more detail on what you're doing on the medical side?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I can actually chime in on this one a little bit because I have some historical knowledge of what we have done with the Ukrainians in the past. In the past, prior to the invasion, we did provide some, you know, training and advisory support in the medical field, although it tended to focus on Wounded Warrior Care programs, and we helped them establish a Wounded Warrior Care program.

But, you know, I'll defer to the Senior Military Official if he has other insights. I do not believe that we are focusing on medical training right now, although many of our European allies who are in much closer proximity to Ukraine have been providing a tremendous amount of day-to-day medical support and assistance.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, and I'll just kind of leave it with what the senior defense official said.

We -- you know, our training has been focused largely on -- on technical training associated with systems we've been providing. And I don't want to speak to the particulars of our allies, but I know our allies have been teaching, you know, levels of individual training that certainly consists of medical treatment.

STAFF: Great, thank you. Next up, we'll go to Courtney Kube, NBC.

Q: Hey, I have a couple of follow-ons. So the senior military official, in your opening you talked about the overall reduction in air sorties. Can you give us any numbers on that, like, any perspective of how much it's decreased and over what time? And then I'm still unclear on the artillery, if you can give us any numbers on that -- how many artillery rounds each side is firing and -- and, like, whether that's up/down. And -- and if there's any, like, assessment of where that's going to go over the winter, if there's -- if it might decrease over time.

And then for the senior defense official, I just wanted to follow up on one thing that you said to Bowman about the Patriots. You said all capabilities are on the table. When you said that, you're -- were you also -- I -- I'm assuming that "all capabilities" means tac air, right, that that's something that is currently a consideration on the table?


SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Hey, Courtney, it's senior military official. Hey, first of all, great reporting in Syria. I saw my friend Matt McFarlane at the Al Hawl IDP camp with you. I thought that was great reporting.

In terms of air sorties, I mean, in comparison and I want to be careful here because I really do think there's, we aren't sitting there with the weather so it's hard for me to tell you the particular weather impacts, other than to tell you that weather has been pretty bad. And so the numbers are in the tens of sorties, and that reduction, I don't know, is probably a quarter of what they were flying under good weather. But again, a lot of it is timed to the types of operations that they're executing and when they're conducting those. So it has been a reduction and probably a bunch of reasons.

On the artillery -- and I don't want to be, really -- I -- you're going to think I'm being super-vague here. I'm not trying to be vague. But you know, they shooting -- and I'll say "they" -- the Ukrainians and the Russians, they're shooting, you know, a couple thousand, several thousand a day on average, but that also goes up and down. And as you would expect, when they're conducting offensive operations or the other side is conducting offensive operations, those numbers may increase.

We established in our military something called a controlled supply rate, and the Ukrainians in this case have done similar things. And what that does is it allows you to manage your total ammunition supplies with a view that if you -- if you go above the controlled supply rate, it may impact you down the road. But again, you -- you plan against some of that. So I sounded super-vague there. I don't mean to be. I would just tell you that it -- it does depend on -- on what's going on day-to-day.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right, and Courtney, to answer your question about clarifying the consideration of tac air and the consideration of air defense, I'm going to go back to something that I know I've discussed with this group before. In terms of fighter aircraft, when we think about that as a future capability area for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to invest in, we have to think about the sustainment and maintenance and training that all go along with having, you know, a tac air fleet. And so that's where it really isn't something that is an immediate priority for us as we consider the Ukrainian Armed Forces' capability needs.

But I contrast that with ground-based integrated air defense systems which are an immediate need. And I don't want to say that there is, you know, a lack of training and maintenance requirements because certainly there are, and we will have to consider training. We're providing training on a number of air defense systems, along with our allies right now, the systems I mentioned earlier. So there is training required, but it's not on the same scale. And similarly, the maintenance is not on the same scale. So we feel that by providing air defense capability in the near term, we will be able to help the Ukrainians with some near-term needs.

Now, I also want to clarify that that doesn't mean that we wouldn't have longer-term investments, because as we have found and as you've seen with our USAI investments, there's certain capabilities that we can provide quickly if they're from drawdown, or in other words, they're coming from U.S. stocks, or if we can contract something that is already available from industry. But in other cases, we have to invest in procurement that takes time, and that's where you see we've provided an initial set of NASAMS that are fielded today and that are helping protect Ukrainians as we speak. But we also have additional NASAMS that will be arriving down the road. So similarly, there may be a mix of air defense capabilities that we can provide very soon, and others that we can provide down the road, and we really are looking at all possible capabilities. I hope that helps.

STAFF: Great, thank you so much.

I want to be respectful of folks' time, so I'm going to take two to three more, and then we'll wrap up. Next question, Luis Martinez, ABC.

Q: Thanks. 

Question about the number the weaponization of winter that you mentioned in your opening remarks. This is being undertaken with precision-guided missiles that Russia still has. Do you see those numbers dwindling even further, or are they coming up on a reserve that you weren't aware of? And what about these reports that they're digging into cruise missiles that were designed to carry nuclear weapons, where they've removed the nuclear weapons and replaced them with ballast so that those can then be launched at targets inertly, and therefore, take away some of the air defense capability that Ukraine has?

Thank you.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think on this, you know, we are watching Russia continue to double down on its strategy to try to, you know, inflict pain on the Ukrainian people to try to break their will. Obviously, they're not succeeding. We do not believe that they will succeed, but they continue to draw on what stocks they have. I don't have, you know, any specific data for you on, you know, Russian available missile stocks. But I will say that I do expect that they will continue to employ this tactic.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I would just kind of echo (inaudible) comment. I mean, it's certainly something that they're trying to do to mitigate the effects of the air defense systems that the Ukrainians are employing to a pretty good -- decent effect.

STAFF: Great. Lara, Politico?

Q: Hi. Thanks so much for doing this.

A couple of questions. First of all, can you give us a picture of what the maritime picture looks like in the Black Sea? I don't think we've gotten a bit on that (inaudible). And then also just on the stockpile question, do the U.S. stockpiles look like right now? How long are we going to -- are you concerned that we're running low on the munitions and other weapons that we're going to be sending Ukraine?


Hey, first of all, on the maritime, right now, we think there are about three ships at sea in the Black Sea from the Russians, some of them Kalibr-capable. As you know, that's moved, that's ebbed and flowed over time.

And then on the munitions piece, I mean, the only thing I would tell you is you would expect -- I mean, we've spent a lot of time making sure that we are balancing our readiness with any decisions that we make associated with provision of anything, whether it's weapons or cold weather gear.

And foremost in our mind is ensuring that we're able to accomplish all of our objectives and that we're operationally ready throughout the conflict. So we continue to look at that. Every one of these PDs that -- that (inaudible) has talked about, we've spent a great deal of time ensuring that we're doing so with the best interests of America at the forefront.

Q: Are we going to -- if I could just follow up, are we going to have to resort to using some older munitions or doing more creative solutions to get through the winter or are we going to be able to continue supplying munitions at the current pace?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: So I guess I would say on that -- I mean, the pace of our support has not always been consistent for each, you know, capability item. It's dependent on the battlefield needs. And we would expect that we will continue to, you know, support Ukraine's battlefield needs. And again, it's a U.S. but it's also allies and partners working with us to meet those needs together.

I hope that answers your questions.

STAFF: Great. Thank you. We'll take one last question from Phil Stewart.

Q: Hey there. Thanks.

A lot of pressure, the last question. Real quick, though, I was hoping you could first go back -- the errant missile that landed in Poland, how long did it take you all for the Senior Military Official to determine that this was not a Russian missile? Was it pretty clear right away to you all?

And secondly, to the Senior Defense Official, if you could bring us up to speed on the investigation, how many Americans are there, if the investigation's over now, and what conclusions you might be able to share? 


SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Phil, that's a nice job on the last question. I don't know why you were nervous about that. Yeah, I wish you'd asked something different. I'm just kidding.

Hey, on the errant missile, I don't know how quickly we had one way or the other. We had -- you know, like everyone else, we try not to jump to conclusions and make an immediate assessment of what had occurred. We did try to look at the facts involved.

As you know, we have the ability to see a lot of things. We had a decent indication that there was a possibility it was a Ukrainian-fired air defense system not meant to go into Poland. And so, you know, walking into that, I think we were able to provide senior leaders an understanding of -- of where we were.

But this is just as an American, not as a Senior Military Official I thought that the approach was really well balanced. I didn't think folks jumped to conclusions, I thought they weighed it.

And then the other piece is this is a Polish investigation. And so, you know, we -- like many other countries, are, you know, leaning forward to provide expertise where it's needed as we press forward.

And so we'll wait to see any final results from the Poles but I do think that, you know, a number of folks reached decent conclusions as this went along.

Q: So pretty much right away, minutes then? Like, that was a -- it was a -- it was a pretty fast determination, correct?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I -- I don't have any more -- anything more on that one, Phil. Yeah, I -- again, I don't have a lot of timings on that.

STAFF: Great. Thank you all so much. We will -- appreciate you joining the call today, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to follow up with me later. Thanks again.