An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thanks for your patience.  Just a few things at the top and then we'll get to your questions.

So today, the Department of Defense is announcing that we will expand U.S.-led training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, to include joint maneuver and combined arms operations training, while building upon the specialized equipment training that we're already providing to the Ukrainians.  Combined arms maneuver training is a logical next step in our ongoing training efforts, which began in 2014, to build the Ukrainian Armed Forces' capacity.  

While there's an understandable focus on the equipment being provided to Ukraine, training is and has been essential to ensuring Ukraine has the skilled forces necessary to better defend themselves.  Importantly, U.S.-led training compliments the separate, specialized, individual, and collective training for Ukraine's Armed Forces already being conducted by our allies and partners, including United Kingdom, the European Union, and others.

This joint maneuver and combined arms training will be conducted by U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command's 7th Army Training Command at U.S. ranges in Germany.  Moving forward, the department may adjust the training program further as Ukraine's training needs evolve or allied contributions develop.

Since 2014, the United States has committed approximately $22.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $19.3 billion since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked and brutal full scale invasion on February 24th.

To meet Ukraine's evolving battlefield requirements, the U.S. will continue to work closely with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities and assistance, to include training.

Separately, Secretary Austin hosted Lithuania's Minister of National Defense today here in the Pentagon.  The two discussed security cooperation efforts within the region and our mutual support for Ukraine.  We'll post a readout to later this afternoon.

In other news, the Department of Defense released the 2023 basic allowance for housing rates yesterday.  Basic allowance for housing rates will increase an average of 12.1 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1st, 2023.

The second -- significant increase in average BAH rates is reflective of the unique market conditions experienced across many locations nationwide over the past year.  The department is committed to the preservation of a compensation benefit structure that provides members with an adequate standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and into the future.

Also this week, in Hawaii, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is honoring its 75th anniversary.  Established in 1947, INDOPACOM is the oldest and largest U.S. geographic combatant command.  We continue to honor the courage and selfless service of U.S. military personnel, civilians, allies and partners who gave the ultimate sacrifice in this region.

As Secretary Austin said earlier this month at the Reagan National Defense Forum, our nation's network of alliances and partnerships is a core strategic strength.  INDOPACOM leads a strong and visible U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific, operating in concert with our partners and allies to promote peace, security, and stability in the region, and to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.

On behalf of the entire department, we extend our thanks and congratulations to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Guardians, and Coast Guardsmen of U.S. INDOPACOM, both past and present.

And finally, as the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots Program is also celebrating 75 years of working with local communities across the nation to bring comfort, happiness, and inspiration to children and families in need during the holiday season.

This inspiring and charitable program has delivered hope and the magic of Christmas to over 281 million less fortunate children since its establishment.  We're thankful to the countless Reserve Marines and volunteers who have made this program possible.

And with that, I will take your questions.  We'll go ahead and start with AP, Tara Copp.

Q:  Thanks for doing this.  I have a couple of questions for you. In describing the expanded training, you mentioned that you may adjust the training further.  What's -- you know, at full capacity, how many Ukrainians are you anticipating you'll be able to train?  And will that also require an increase in U.S. troops?

GEN. RYDER:  Thanks, Tara.  So this -- this program, this expanded training, will provide training to approximately 500 Ukrainians per month.  It's essentially focused at battalion level.  And so as we move forward, we will stay flexible and adaptable, based on the needs of our Ukrainian partners and the evolving situation in Ukraine.

Q: And to -- just a follow-up on that, what about U.S. troops?  Does -- this going to require an increased presence of U.S. troops?  You're anticipating National Guard might rotate in?  And how will you provide this training?

GEN. RYDER:  I'm not aware at this point that we'll require any additional personnel.  As you know, we have forces in place that have been conducting training.  So to -- so to my knowledge, no significant increase in support.

Q:  And then just last -- Russia today warned of unpredictable consequences if the U.S. does indeed provide Ukraine the Patriot missile defense system.  What's the status of deliberations on whether or not to provide Ukraine the Patriot?  And does Russia's reaction influence the U.S. decision-making process at all on this?

GEN. RYDER:  So just to clarify, you're -- you're referring to Russian officials have -- who have said that if we provide Patriots, that would be provocative?

Q:  Yes.

GEN. RYDER:  OK.  So -- so first of all, I don't -- don't have any announcements to make today regarding any new security assistance packages.  As always, we will continue to remain committed to providing Ukraine with the key capabilities that it needs to defend its -- its nation.

On the -- the latter part there about the comments, I would just say that I find it ironic and very telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor in an illegal and unprovoked invasion, through a campaign that is deliberately targeting and killing innocent civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, that they would choose to use words like "provocative" to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and -- and protect civilians.

And so despite Russia's propaganda to portray themselves as victims, it's important to remember that Russia is the aggressor here.  And when it comes to escalation, they could de-escalate this situation today by withdrawing their forces and saving countless innocent lives, but clearly they've chosen to double down.

And the last thing I would say is the U.S. is not at war with Russia and we do not seek conflict.  Our focus is on providing Ukraine with the security assistance that it needs to defend itself, and that's something we said we would do well before Russia chose to invade and something we will continue to do for as long as it takes.

Q:  So their reactions today are not going to weigh on the calculation of whether to send a Patriot or not?

GEN. RYDER:  Again, we are -- we're not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine.  Thank you.

Let me go in the room here. Liz?

Q:  Thank you, sir.  Have U.S. troops in Europe trained Ukrainians on any systems that aren't necessarily in Ukraine yet?  

GEN. RYDER:  What do you mean?  

Q:  So say, if there is a system that the U.S. plans on sending that takes a significant amount of training, is that something that the U.S. would train Ukrainians on in advance?

GEN. RYDER:  So our -- our focus has been on training them on the systems that we've committed to providing them.  So in other words to my knowledge we're not training them on things that we aren't providing to them, right?  I mean it's important to remember that they're engaged in a serious conflict right now.  And it -- and it's a significant lift to take forces out of Ukraine to come to Germany or elsewhere to conduct that training because any trooper that's not on the ground in Ukraine is a trooper that's not in the middle of the fight.  So -- so they're not going to send people just to train on things that might be.  

Again, so our focus is on that.  Now the -- this training -- this expanded training program, it's important to put in the context that we were conducting this kind of training for Ukrainians prior to Russia's invasion.  As I mentioned, we started training in -- in 2014.  When Russia invaded, we withdrew our trainers from Ukraine.  And so this is a continuation now of the training that we had previously provided.  And, again, importantly, alongside the other training efforts that are being conducted by our allies and partners.  

Q:  Thank you.  And I have a question on a completely different topic.  There is a former Afghan commando, served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  He's a SIV holder.  He did not make it out during the initial withdrawal last year.  And so he entered the country illegally through the U.S. southern border in September.  And now he has been held in custody since.  There's a few other examples just like him, unfortunately.  Is the Pentagon, is the State Department working to help people like this person because back during the initial withdrawal the U.S. said that it would not leave its allies in Afghanistan behind?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  Thanks, Alyssa.  So I don't have any specifics on this individual case.  I would refer you to the State Department, you know, since we're -- we're talking about the border and -- and entry into the country.  Broadly speaking, again, we -- we are very thankful to our Afghan allies and partners who helped us in that -- in that campaign, in that war.  And so I'm confident that we will remain committed to helping as many people as we can and to keep our word in that regard.  Thank you.  Oren? 

Q:  Two quick questions.  On the training, when will the extended training begin?  And then can you just give a sense of what -- what combined arms maneuver training would look like beyond the -- the individual systems?  Can you just sort of fill that in a bit for us?  

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.  Thanks, Oren. So I won't get into specific dates other than to say we expect the training the starting in the January timeframe.  What you can expect to see is that we will, as mentioned, bring in battalion-sized units.  And it will begin with things like live fire exercises followed by squad-, platoon-, and company-level training that will then culminate in battalion-level maneuver training.  

Importantly, it will also include battalion headquarters staff training.  So the way to think about this is as you show up for your training, first you're doing the -- the classroom exercises to -- to better understand what it is that you're going to learn, right?  It's going to be crawl-walk-run.  And then you're going to shift to the practical application, starting from the -- from the squad-platoon to the battalion level of applying these concepts, culminating in a field exercise where you're getting into more advanced training scenarios, how to respond to situations.

So again, you -- you've heard Secretary Austin talk about that the equipment is important but it's how to take that equipment and apply it in the field in a way that's going to enable you to do combined arms and achieve decisive effects on the battlefield.  And so this training will -- will contribute to that.  Thanks.


Q:  Thank you, sir.  On the National Defense Authorization Act, is there any change in maintaining 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, according to the National Defense Authorization Act of the U.S. Congress in Fiscal Year 2023?

GEN. RYDER:  Thanks, Janne.  So I'm -- I'm not aware of any changes to force levels that are being considered through the NDAA.  And so again, I don't want to get ahead of that.  As you know, it's still pending legislation.  

To my knowledge, we will continue to keep our force present in Korea, as it currently stands, at 28,500.  We'll continue to work closely with our Republic of Korea partners to ensure that we're working together to provide the -- the security for not only Korea but also the -- the broader region.

Q:  A follow-up -- another one -- is the U.S. forces in South Korea expected to increase due to this establishment of the U.S. Space Force in South Korea?

GEN. RYDER:  I -- I'm sorry, just -- I want to make sure I understand -- so will this -- will the U.S. Space Force component stand-up increase the number?

Q:  Yes.

GEN. RYDER:  So I -- I would refer you to U.S. Forces Korea for specifics.  Certainly, I -- I would imagine perhaps small numbers, in terms of standing up this component.  We talked about the capabilities that that unit will provide previously, when we talked about Space Force writ large, but I don't anticipate that it would be a large number.  But certainly they could give you additional details.

Q:  Thank you.

GEN. RYDER:  Thank you. Fadi 

Q:  Thank you -- thank you, general.  I want to go back to this expanded training just to (inaudible) understand the -- maybe the -- the timing and -- and also potentially the impact.  So as -- as you said, this is basically a resumption of what -- what the U.S. National Guard has been doing since 2014, was disrupted by the Russian war.  

So is the timing, decision to resume it now, because of -- you anticipate some slow -- slowing down and -- and -- in the war because of winter or because of maybe what the Ukrainian troops were able to achieve so far, so they can have more -- afford more troops to go to Germany and train?

And the second part of it is what are you hoping to achieve by -- by expanding this type of training and what do you hope to see as -- as an impact in the field in the future?

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.  So what I would say is, from the beginning -- so first of all, going all the way back to 2014, in our security cooperation relationship with Ukraine.

This is something that you highlight, that we've been doing for a while.  With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, certainly the focus has been on providing those immediate battlefield needs that they need to be able to -- to check Russian aggression and defend their country.  And so that conversation continues to evolve, in terms of the kinds of assistance that we need to provide.

And so in the immediate aftermath of the invasion, our focus has been on providing specialized equipment training -- HIMARS, NASAMS, those kinds of things -- to enable them to operate those systems in the field.

Now, as we continue to see Ukraine make progress in terms of pushing Russia back and receiving this new equipment, like I said earlier, the idea here is to be able to give them this advanced level of collective training that enables them to conduct effective combined arms operations and maneuver on the battlefield.

And then I'm sorry, your second question?

Q:  And this -- oh, I guess you -- you started answering my second question -- like, what do you hope to achieve, I mean, in terms of impact on -- on the battlefield?  I mean, do you think this will help the Ukrainian forces even achieve more -- more results, in terms of fighting Russian forces inside of Ukraine?

GEN. RYDER:  Undoubtedly, absolutely.  Yep.

Let me go to the phone here real quick.  We've got Heather from USNI.

Q:  Hi.  Two quick questions.

So first, there was a plane crash outside of -- of Fort Worth, Texas today.  I was wondering if there's any additional information. I understand that Lockheed was taking lead on it but wanted to see if there's a DOD response.

And then second, the Council for American-Islamic Relations had put out a statement cautioning against naming USS Fallujah after the battles of Fallujah, and I wanted to see if the DOD had any comment on that?

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah, thanks, Heather.  In terms of the -- the crash, so we are aware of reporting of an F-35B crash on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Forth Worth, Texas.  As we understand it, the pilot ejected safely.  The aircraft had not been transferred to the U.S. government yet.  However, it was being operated by a U.S. government pilot.  And so since it was a -- a Lockheed aircraft, I would refer you to Lockheed Martin for any further questions.

As far as the naming of Navy vessels, I'd refer you to the Navy on that, as -- as that is something that would be within their purview.  Thank you.

Let me go to Ryo Nakamura, Nikkei.

Q:  Hi.  Thank you for taking my question.  I want to ask you about AUKUS.  The -- last week, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles said that Australia is open to the idea of AUKUS working together with Japan to deploy advanced defense capabilities other than the nuclear-powered submarine.  Does the Pentagon support Japan's involvement in AUKUS in the long term?  Is this something the Secretary discussed with his UK and Australian counterpart last week?  Thank you very much.

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah, thanks, Ryo.  So as -- as you highlighted, Secretary Austin discussed at the AUSMIN last week there are increasingly more opportunities for trilateral engagement and defense cooperation with Japan and Australia.

And so with AUKUS, our initial focus is on finalizing a trilateral program of work between the U.S., Australia, and the UK, but as that work progresses, we will certainly seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners as mutually beneficial, to include Japan.  Thank you.

Let me go back in the room here.  Sir?

Q:  Shifting to the Middle East a bit -- yesterday, in an interview with Al Arabiya English, Israel's Prime Minister-designate said that Israel would carry out a military option -- or military operation against the -- Iran to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon, with or without an agreement with the U.S., and he claimed or alleged that the U.S. would disapprove this military operation or a -- a -- a media leak to U.S. outlets could -- could foil.  Is this something that you agree with and you -- is there any response to that?

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah -- no, I appreciate the -- the question.  So on -- I don't want to get into hypotheticals and I certainly don't want to get into Israeli foreign policy or -- or operational discussions.  I'd -- I'd refer you to them.

You know, more broadly speaking, we very much appreciate the partnership that we have with Israel on working on regional security issues but I -- I'm just not going to get into that.

Q: Can I just ask you is there ongoing -- I mean, supposed -- there should be ongoing cooperation or talks about a potential military option to prevent Iran that -- seeing that both the U.S. and Israel committed to not allowing that to happen?

GEN. RYDER:  We -- we certainly have an ongoing and robust dialogue with Israel and a -- and a defense relationship to talk about a variety of issues, to include potential Iranian aggression in the region.  And so, you know, as you know, we -- we continue to work closely with Israel and other countries in the -- in the Middle East and Central Asia on that topic.  Thank you.


Q:  Thank you.  I'm Hiroshi Tajima with Yomiuri Shimbun Japanese newspaper.  The Japanese government is about to announce its new National Security Strategy, including investment in counterattack capability.  It's a longer range missile capability.  Japan is also going to drastically increase it -- its defense spending.  They will set target of two percent of GDP in 2027.  Could I have your comment on this policy?  Thank you.

GEN. RYDER:  Sure, thank you.  Well, we have been very clear that we broadly support the efforts of our allies and our partners to bolster their self defense, to include Japan's efforts, but I would refer you to Japan to comment on any future systems or strategies that they intend to release.  Thank you.

Let -- let me go to Will and then I'll go to the phone.  Yes, sir?

Q:  Thank you.  So you mentioned that, under the new training, there'll be 500 roughly Ukrainian personnel per month.  What is it -- what's the existing number?

And then is it accurate to say that the training previously was kind of focused on systems, and now, it would be on larger scale, you know, operations of -- of (inaudible) incorporating those systems across various units?

GEN. RYDER:  So kind of breaking it in a -- to do two different parts -- so what we've been doing on the U.S. side is providing specialized training on equipment.  So far, since April, we've trained approximately 3,100 Ukrainians on those systems.  It -- additionally, beyond the U.S., our allies and partners have trained approximately 12,000 Ukrainians.

So this training will focus again on bringing together battalions.  Certainly, there could be an element of combining the equipment, training, with the battalion training to be able to employ those capabilities in a combined arms approach on the battlefield.  Does that help?

Q:  Yep.


Q:  And one -- one quick follow-up on that -- so the 3,100, is that roughly an even number per month or -- or is that -- do you have a monthly figure on -- on that?

GEN. RYDER:  It's more based on the systems.  You can -- if you contact EUCOM, they may be able to -- they may be able to provide you with some additional insight, but it's -- it's based on the systems, less so on coming into a classroom setting, for example, to learn how to operate together as a unit.  Thanks.

Q:  And if -- if I could get one -- one more question -- several Ukrainian officials have said there's a new Russian offensive that could come in January or February.  What's the DOD's assessment of that?

GEN. RYDER:  Certainly, I'd -- I don't want to get into speculating on potential future ops.  I will say that, with past as precedent, we know that Russia continues to try to take offensive action, as evidenced by their invasion earlier this year, but in terms of what the future may portend, the battlefield is dynamic and our focus is going to continue to be on supporting Ukraine to be able to stop any potential future Russian aggression and to defend their homeland.  Thanks.

Let me go to the phone here.  Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose?

Q:  Thank you.  Earlier, a senior defense official had said the Russians may have to start using 40-year-old munitions next year because they're burning through their stockpile so quickly.  I just want to get some clarity, is -- are the -- are the problems the Russians facing that their defense industry cannot keep pace with operations in Ukraine, so they're not able to make shells and rockets quickly enough?  Or is it that the Russian military is simply not managing their munition stockpiles efficiently?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks, Jeff.  So, kind of an element of both.  Production is a challenge.  The burn rates that they've been employing artillery at have been -- has been extremely high.  And so, going through the -- the ammunition that would be considered newer ammunition has put them in a situation where they're rapidly running out of that type of ammunition that would be -- that would give them high confidence that it would work.  

So this is, as you -- as you highlight, forcing them to use, in some cases, degraded ammunition and from older stockpiles.  It is important to point out that we do access that Russia does have a deep inventory of degraded ammunition, artillery from which they can draw.  But again, the challenge here is by using older ammunition you do run into the potential of effectiveness, dud rates, and confidence in whether or not it's going to explode as expected.

Q:  Is unreliable -

GEN. RYDER:  All right, let me go to George Castle. 

Q:  Thank you, General, for doing this. I have three questions.  The first question is, the Russian long-range missile system onboard the Su-35S and China uses for the J20 fighter jet, it is said that Ukraine shot down a Su-35S and turn it over as a joint inspection to the U.S. and U.K.  By having this aircraft will this aid NATO Air Forces to jam the capabilities of the onboard system.  

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks for the question, George.  I don't have any information to provide on that. Thank you. Let me -

Q:  OK, the second question is, so what are your thoughts on the B21 Raider without giving arsenal specifics? 

GEN. RYDER:  The B21 Raider, I think it's going to be an awesome aircraft.

Q:  Thank you, sir. 

GEN. RYDER:  Record. You know, and I -- and I think if you had the opportunity to watch the unveiling and listen to Secretary Austin's remarks the B21 will provide the United States an unparalleled capability, strategic capability, both conventional and nuclear, which will serve as a very strong deterrent, but also provide our nation with options should we need to go to war.  And so, this will be a game-changer for the United States military, for our allies and our partners.  And take us into the next generation when it comes to strategic bomber aircraft.  Thank you, George. 

All right, let me go to the room.  Yes, ma'am.  And then I'll come to you.

Q:   (Inaudible) Since Japan last increased its defense budget and about these counterstrike capability, from the viewpoint of U.S. integrated deterrence, how will such Japan's effort align these U.S. efforts to deter China and other countries?

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.  Well again, without talking about, you know, internal domestic Japanese decisions, I will say more broadly speaking, as I highlighted earlier one of our core strategic advantages as a nation, but also as international community is the alliances and partnerships that we share. 

Critical and important allies like Japan investing in their defense capabilities, just like all of our other allies and partners in the region sends a clear message that we are committed to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific, to deter aggression and hopefully ensure and maintain regional security and stability.  Thank you. 


Q:  Yes, Erin with Kyoto News. President Xi -- or actually Secretary Austin said how important it was that China kept an open-door communication with (inaudible) President Xi.  Have they spoken lately?

GEN. RYDER:  Has Secretary Austin?

Q:  Yes, spoken with General Wei. 

GEN. RYDER:  So, they did speak in Cambodia.  That was their last conversation. 

Q:  Is there any reason why?  Have they -- has Secretary Austin tried to speak or reach out with General Wei, or General Wei reach out to -

GEN. RYDER:  So, it seems like a long time ago, but that was only couple of weeks ago.  And so, at this -- at this point, as we highlighted in our readout from that engagement, both leaders were committed to keeping the lines of communication open and to working to have subordinate levels of command to be able to communicate with one another.  And so, with -- I don't have any details to provide specifically today, but that is an area that we continue to focus on.  It is increasing those channels and providing those opportunities for U.S. personnel to engage with their counterparts on the PRC side. 

And so, I think going forward Secretary Austin is certainly open to continuing the dialogue with Mr. Wei.  And so, when there's an opportunity or when we have something to announce we'll certainly do that.  Thank you.  


Q:  Two things.  On the training in Germany, did you say that there's going to be an increase in the number of National Guard Forces that will be conducting this training?  Or is it going to be the same New York National Guard unit that's doing it right now?

GEN. RYDER:  I would refer you to U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command.  They may be able to provide you some additional details.  The Security Assistance Group Ukraine will be overseeing that.  I don't -- I don't have specifics on which units, per se, will be conducting that training. 

Q:  And shifting to another question from Liz, there's -- Congress is currently discussing the Afghan Adjustment Act.  I know you referred her question to the State Department, but in the past has the Pentagon been advocating for any changes or any adjustments in the status of SIV applicants who, you know, were evacuated in August of 2021?  And has the secretary himself been personally involved in this given the significance that these are individuals who work with U.S. military personnel in the past?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks Luis. Well, let me take that question and then we'll come back to you.  Thank you.

Q:  Thanks. Yes, does the fact that you're doing this maneuver, this battalion-level maneuver training at this moment indicates that there is the chance for greater offensive operate -- large-scale offensive operations when -- in the coming weeks when the ground starts to freeze up in Ukraine?

GEN. RYDER:  So, I'll let the Ukrainians talk about their operations and what they plan to do with their forces.  Again, as it has been since the beginning of this invasion and since we've been providing security assistance, our focus is on providing them the capabilities they need to be successful on the battlefield.  And so, certainly, this training will enhance the skills and capabilities of Ukrainian Armed Forces on the ground, but they need to be the ones to talk about what they plan to do. 

Thank you.  Let me go to the phone here. Patrick Tucker, Defense One.

Q:  Hey, thank you for doing this. So this entire debate around patriot missile batteries to Ukraine speaks to Ukraine's ongoing sophisticated air defense needs. The U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development into directed energy weapons to specifically take on drones and have even deployed some with success against other Iranian drone systems.

So given that the U.S. has developed and deployed directed energy weapons, specifically for a counter UAS operations, are you talking with the Ukrainians about the role that directed energy weapons might play in their air defense needs?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks, Pat. So -- so again, we maintain a robust dialogue with our Ukrainian partners alongside our allies and our international partners about what Ukraine's security assistance needs are.

As a matter of policy, we're not going to get into previewing things that we may or may not be considering or providing. But again, going forward we're going to stay flexible and adaptable based on the situation on the ground.

So nothing new to announce or preview in that regard but again, we're going to continue to -- to discuss and listen when it comes to Ukraine security assistance needs. 

OK. Let me go to Phil Stewart, Reuters.

Q:  Hey there. Thanks. I think Pat -- Patrick Tucker might have had a follow-up. But real quick, just to clarify on the -- on the main announcement. Is there going to be any air component to the -- to the training. And I just want to be crystal clear on the level -- skill level of the Ukrainian forces that you're bringing in.

I mean are these people that have already been trained on the individual systems and now you're helping them do the combined arms and then joint maneuver stuff or are these people that are kind of new recruits. 

And also, are there any countries -- I think at one point you said U.S. led training so -- or is this just strictly U.S. training? Thanks.

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks, Phil. So -- so I'll defer to Ukraine to talk about who they plan to send to this training. And this is joint operations, joint maneuver operations training and so primarily ground focused but with an eye towards combined arms. So certainly an aspect of combined arms is working with air capabilities. Although, this particular training is, again, focused on ground units per se.

In terms of -- and I'm sorry, what was your second part of your question?

Q:  So I had also asked -- so I asked the skill level, I asked whether there was going to be an air component and then you had mentioned the fact that this was -- at one point you spoke about U.S. led training. So that led me to believe maybe there were other countries that might be assisting the U.S. with this new round of, you know, churning out 500 trained Ukrainians per month.

GEN. RYDER:  Yes. This will be -- so this will be the U.S. Army, Europe and Africa Command's effort. I would -- I would refer you to Security Assistance Group Ukraine in terms of whether or not there's any allied or -- or partner representation on the training program. You know whether those are liaisons.

Certainly across the international community, as I highlighted earlier, there are other countries that are training Ukrainians as part of this broader international effort. But as it applies to the training ranges in Germany, the U.S. training ranges, this will be a U.S. led effort but the Army may be able -- may be able to provide you some additional insight into the on the ground cadre.

All right. And Pat Tucker, I'm sorry, did you have a follow up?

Q:  I'm good. Thanks.

GEN. RYDER:  All right. Let's go to Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg. All right, nothing heard. Lara Seligman, Politico.

Q:  Hey, Pat. Thanks for doing this. Just a follow-up on a couple things. First of all, for this training are additional U.S. troops going to be deployed to Germany to do this training and how many and when. And then second, I wanted to ask about the F35 crash. Can you talk about the damage to the plane? Is it going to be flyable?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks, Lara. On your -- on your second question I'd refer you to Lockheed Martin since that is -- that is their aircraft. It was -- had not been transferred to the U.S. government yet. In terms of U.S. forces that will be supporting this training, again, the security assistance group Ukraine will be overseeing the training or -- excuse me -- the seventh Army -- let me find in my notes here -- U.S. Army, Europe and Africa Command's Seventh Army Training Command will be leading the training.

So I'd refer you to them. But no significant addition of U.S. forces beyond what we've already got in country -- in the theater. Thank you. 

All right, we'll go with the last question. Yes, ma'am?

Q:  Using the USAFRICOM forces in part to help with this training, does that imply that some of their current operations might be diminished, sort of the ST operations for instance?

GEN. RYDER:  No. So and -- so thanks for the opportunity to -- to highlight that. So as part of the command structure in Europe, U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command overseas operations. It's the component command to U.S./European Command. So overseeing U.S. Army operations in both the European area of responsibility and the Africa of responsibility, very similar to U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa.

And so -- so that's the designation with command but certainly being able to build into the command structure how best to -- to operate this. So while this -- this has no impact on our efforts in Africa. It's just the name of the unit. Thank you.

Thanks very much everybody. Appreciate your time.