BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: Good afternoon, everybody. Just a few things at the top, and I'm going to go ahead and get right to your questions.
So as I mentioned last week, tomorrow Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken will co-host the 2023 U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting with their Japanese counterparts. The Leaders will discuss our shared vision of a modernized alliance that will tackle 21st Century challenges in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.
And on Thursday we will welcome Minister Hamada to the Pentagon for a bilateral meeting. The Secretary and the department leadership look forward to these important discussions, and we'll of course have more information to share after all of these meetings.
Separately, next week Secretary Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Milley will travel to Germany to host the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base. The contact group has been instrumental in identifying, synchronizing and ensuring delivery of the military capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend their homeland against Russian aggression.
The Secretary looks forward to meeting with defense leaders from the approximately 50 nations that comprise this important group dedicated to Ukraine's self-defense.
Also, as was briefly highlighted last week during the announcement of the most recent presidential drawdown authorization, I can confirm that training for Ukrainian forces on the Patriot air defense system will begin as soon as next week at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The training will prepare approximately 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers to operate, maintain and sustain the defensive system over a training course expected to last several months.
And once fielded, the Patriot will continue to — excuse me — will contribute to Ukraine's air defense capabilities and provide another capability to the Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia's ongoing aerial assaults. We'll be sure to provide additional information as it becomes available.
And finally, yesterday the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began its exercise titled Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT, Marine Exercise Singapore 2022.
This is a joint bilateral maritime exercise taking place in Singapore. And participants include the Republic of Singapore Navy, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
In its 28th year the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies and marine corps abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
And with that, we'll go ahead and jump to your questions.
We'll start with AP, Lita Baldor.
Q: Thanks, Pat. A couple things on the Fort Sill training.
First, is this something that the U.S. sees as reoccurring? In other words, will this happen over time, as more need to be trained on the Patriot system? Is Fort Sill the only place where the U.S. will train for the Patriots?
And are there any concerns — as you look ahead to putting a Patriot system in Ukraine, are there concerns about having it connected to U.S. networks? Are there communications issues that you see the — or the U.S. sees as a concern about this?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Lita.
On — on your first question, the — the focus is on this initial class. Certainly, we'll — we'll keep dialogue open, in terms of any potential future training, but — but right now, the focus is on training these operators to operate this system. And as I mentioned, that training will focus on operations and maintenance of the Patriot.
In terms of any concerns as it applies to U.S. air defense or — or U.S. systems, no, no — no concerns on that front.
Q: Thanks, Pat.
So on the training front, is there an update on the combined arms training of the Ukrainian battalions in Europe? Can you confirm whether that's begun or whether it will begin around the same time as this Patriot training in the United States?
And just additionally, is it still the plan that it won't require additional U.S. troops or units in Europe to provide that training?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Travis.
So my understanding is that that training will begin very soon, as early as next week.
And then in terms of additional troops, to my knowledge, beyond the — the standard troop rotations that we're already doing, it will not require a significant or — any increase, in terms of U.S. trainers going over there.
Q: What are your thoughts about the numbers of Ukrainians that will be coming to Sill to train and the broader issue of taking the Ukrainians off the battlefield, you know, in these months? Is it — is the winter — is — is it sort of stale — I don't know, the — the — the greater appearance of a stalemate allowing for more troops to — to leave the battlefield or — or (inaudible)?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah. So a — so a Patriot battery, by definition, takes about 90 folks to operate and maintain that system. So the — the numbers are commensurate with what one would expect, in terms of operating the Patriot battery that will be delivered to Ukraine.
In terms of Ukrainian forces coming off the battlefield, since the very beginning, that's something that we have talked closely with the Ukrainians about, to ensure that they can do both, right? Cause as you point out, there is an ongoing fight.
We certainly don't want to do anything that would jeopardize their ability to continue to fight. But ultimately, that's a decision for the Ukrainians to make, in terms of how many troops they can afford to have come off the line in order to do the training.
You've heard Secretary Austin, though, talk in the past about how important it is to look at this holistically, and that if I give you a piece of equipment, I'm simply giving you a piece of equipment, but if I give you the equipment and I give you the training, I now give you a capability.
And so that's really essential, is to ensuring that not only do the Ukrainians have the equipment they need to fight but also the training that's going to enable them to operate it on the front line.
Ma'am — Lara?
Q: Thanks, Pat.
Can you talk about how the military is planning on accelerating this training? I understand the Patriot training normally takes up to a year. So what are we planning on cutting out? Are there ways we could make up that time? Can you just elaborate on how that's going to work?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. As you highlight, Patriot training normally does take a bit longer. However, working — and the Army can certainly provide any additional details — but like a lot of things in this conflict, we recognize, you know, to Phil's earlier point, that the longer those troops are off the line, they're not actually engaged in combat. And so trying to work with the Ukrainians to see what we can do to accelerate the training timeline.
In terms of what that training will look like, it will consist of training in the classrooms, it will consist of training on the Patriot systems, and then of course in a simulation lab, as well, before they actually deploy the capability on the battlefield.
Q: And then what are the advantages of doing the training at Fort Sill as opposed to doing it in Europe, say?
GEN. RYDER: So there — the — the training school for U.S. and allied forces on Patriots is at Fort Sill already. So they'll be falling in on an existing capability in order to, again, expedite the training and — and get the system back into Ukraine so that they can use it to defend themselves.
Q: Two different questions. First, can you tie this in or — or compare it to what the German plan is? Are — are they relying on this training before they send theirs or do they have their own program?
And then completely separately, there was a report in a Japanese paper about a new Marine unit in Guam. I was wondering if there was anything you could say about that and whether it's different than the one that's been over the last couple of years or — or anything going forward you would say about —
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Oren.
So — so as far as the German Patriot system, I'd refer you to Germany to talk about what their plans are, in terms of training. Certainly, as always, we maintain a very robust and ongoing dialogue with Germany and other allies, in terms of how we can best meet Ukrainian needs.
In terms of the — the Marine unit that you mentioned, I don't have anything to announce now. We'll keep you updated on that front.
GEN. RYDER: Sure. Now let me go back to the phone.
Q: I have two questions. In 2023, what is going to be the focus on India-U.S. defense relationship? Then I have another question.
GEN. RYDER: Sure. I — I would say, you know, I don't have any specific announcements to make in terms of the relationship but — but as you know, it's a very important relationship between the United States and India, when it comes to security cooperation, defense cooperation. So we look forward to continuing to engage with the Indian leadership.
When we do have something to announce, certainly we will, but we already cooperate and engage on a variety of fronts, to include through mechanisms like the Quad. So we look forward to continuing to do that in 2023.
Q: And secondly, Pakistan is accusing Afghanistan of — Afghanistan of harboring terrorists, in terms of (PPP ?). So you — one of the main goals, objectives of U.S. is that Afghanistan should not become a safe harbor for terrorists once again. It looks like it is, right? Is it — that your assessment? Do you align yourself with Pakistan's views on Afghanistan?
GEN. RYDER: Well, without getting into internal Pakistani politics, we've known for a long time that there are terrorist organizations that exist within Afghanistan and throughout the region, and that — that's certainly a surprise to no one.
From a United States standpoint, as we've said before, we do maintain an over-the-horizon capability when it comes to counter-terrorism, and so that is something that we will continue to maintain and sustain in defense of our own homeland. But beyond that, I don't have any other comments to make.
Janne? And then I'm going to go to the phone, I promise.
Q: Thank you, sir.
I have two questions. First question regarding the U.S. plan to purchase 100,000 shells from South Korea: Is this for the U.S. stockpiling or for support to Ukraine?
GEN. RYDER: Sure.
So we have been in discussions — and — and we've talked about this publicly before — with Korea, in terms of purchasing non-government ammunition from the defense industrial base. Certainly, South Korea maintains a very robust, very capable defense industry.
And so in discussions with the South Korean government in terms of purchasing ammunition to replenish U.S. stocks but beyond that I don't — I don't have additional information.
Q: (Inaudible) China and Russia are joint development new chemical (inaudible) weapons. Can you share your comment on this?
GEN. RYDER: Well, yes. Certainly when it comes to chem-bio capabilities worldwide, it's something that the Department of Defense monitors very closely. When we see those types of capabilities employed, you've heard us come out very publicly, most notably during the counter ISIS campaign when Syria has used chemical weapons, for example, on it's own population.
When it comes to Russia and China, it's something that we'll continue to monitor closely.
Q: But North Korea also joined these chemical weapons with Russia and China (inaudible).
GEN. RYDER: I'm sorry, can you repeat that?
Q: North Korea also joined the chemical weapons with Russia and China (inaudible) there were (some military ?) cooperation (inaudible).
GEN. RYDER: Yes, certainly again and — and it's something that we're going to keep a close eye on, we're going to continue to consult closely with our allies in the region in terms of counter proliferation when it comes to things like chemical biological weapons. And you know there are variety of tools at our disposal to address those. I'm not going to go into those today but those can include non-military capabilities, for example, sanctions and things like that.
So again, definitely something that is concerning and something that we'll continue to keep a close eye on. Let me go ahead and go out to the phones here. Howard Altman.
Q: Thanks, Pat.
A couple questions, one a follow-up on the Patriots and operational questions. Are these troops that are coming to train at Fort Sill (inaudible) the air defense troops that have been doing this job for a while, Ukrainians?
GEN. RYDER: Yes, Howard.
So my — that — my understanding is these are air defense troops but I would refer you to Ukraine for any discussion about the specific soldiers and their backgrounds.
Q: And then operationally, can you give us an operational update on Soledar and Bakhmut? These reports there's (a street fight ?) against Soledar. Do you see either one of these cities falling to the Russians any time soon at all?
GEN. RYDER: Yes, thanks, Howard.
Well, I don't want to speculate. We definitely continue to see very intense fighting near Bakhmut and in the vicinity of Soledar. You know as you've seen it's been a lot of back and forth, particularly around the Soledar area. We'll continue to keep a close eye on it. But I don't want to speculate at this point what the outcome may be.
Our focus is going to continue to be on supporting Ukraine and providing them with the security assistance they need to defend their country.
J.J. Green, WTOP.
Q: Thanks, General Ryder, for doing this. Question — two quick questions.
First, I understand you've explained very well what the Patriot system training will be like and who's going to be involved et cetera. But how does the Patriot system for Ukraine in the hands of Ukrainians, how does it help them?
GEN. RYDER: Sure.
So the — the Patriot will add to the air defense capabilities of Ukraine.
As we've seen over the last number of months in particular, Russia has really intensified its aerial bombardment of Ukraine really across the country. And so the Patriot will contribute to the air defense capabilities that Ukraine already has. It — it's something that will enable them to take down ballistic — up to ballistic missiles, adversary aircraft. Really up to them on how the employ it. But this part of a broader effort by the United States and the international community to provide Ukraine with the air defense capabilities that it needs to defend its population and its armed forces.
Q: And just very quickly, Ukraine says the Bradley Fighting Vehicles that they're getting are great and they're very happy about that. They're saying, as well, that they need and want tanks. Is there a discussion about that?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, J.J.
So, as has been the case since the beginning of this campaign, we maintain a very robust and ongoing dialogue with our Ukrainian partners and the international community to look at what Ukraine security assistance needs are based on the conditions on the battlefield.
And so, we'll continue to have those conversations. We'll continue to look at what their needs are based on their requests and try to provide them with the capabilities they need to not only defend their country but to be able to take back territory.
Q: Thank you, sir.
GEN. RYDER: All right, (Liz?).
Q: Thank you. I have two questions. Both are unrelated to each other.
First one: Is there going to be a second batch of Ukrainians that goes through the Patriot missile training?
GEN. RYDER: So right now, we have the first group that will go through. I'm not aware of any additional forces, but again, that will be an ongoing discussion based on the needs of Ukraine.
Q: Thank you.
And my second question: Over a dozen special operation soldiers out of Fort Bragg, are currently being investigated by the U.S. Army for involvement with illegal drugs. Does this reflect on any broader problems with illegal drugs with the U.S. military in general?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks for this.
So, as always, we hold our service members to the higher — highest standards of moral and ethical behavior. I would say it's really what makes our military the best in the world. In terms of the allegations that you've highlighted, I know that U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Army Special Operations Command are aware of those allegations and they're investigating, so I'd refer you to them for any further comment.
Q: Yes, sir. Kimberly Underwood from SIGNAL Magazine.
I wanted to ask a little bit more about the meeting with the Japanese defense and foreign ministers and Department of State. Can you talk about how that modernization relationship will look like? And from the Secretary's perspective, will the discussion kind of drill down to like how the countries can integrate communications with their military's C2, JADC2, that kind of thing? Will that — will that kind of discussion include things like that?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. Well, as I'm sure you can appreciate, I don't want to get ahead of the discussions. We will certainly providing a lot more information afterwards in terms of the nature of the discussions and the substance and the kinds of decisions that were made through those meetings.
I would say that broadly speaking, Japan is one of our staunchest allies in the region, and really the U.S.-Japanese alliance is the cornerstone of Indo-Pacific security, you know, over the last 70 years. This is an opportunity for our two nations to have substantive dialogue in terms of how we can modernize the alliance and ensure that we're doing our part to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, and importantly, a stable and secure Indo-Pacific.
Q: This morning, the Fifth Fleet announced that they intercepted a vessel going from Yemen to — or excuse me, from Iran to Yemen with weapons. I believe it's the third in the past two months, (special ?) operation. Is there — is this a sign of any increase or change in policy in how — in how the U.S. is going about monitoring the waters in that area?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So, a couple of things. U.S. Navy Central Command has been, obviously, present in that region for a very long time and continues to work very closely with our partners and our allies in that region to do exactly that. To prevent potential illicit shipment and to ensure that those waterways remain safe, secure and stable.
In terms of the (dhow?) that you're referring to, my understanding is it was a stateless dhow carrying approximately 2,000 AK-47s traversing a route that has been used in the past by Iran to send weapons illegally to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Again, CENTCOM can talk more about that, but I do think to your — to the point of your question, it highlights the instability that is fomented by countries like Iran when they have conducted these types of shipments in the past.
So, certainly, we're going to continue to do our part in the region to help maintain security and stability and work closely with our partners and allies to prevent this type of — these types of shipments from reaching their destination.
Q: The second one, separate topic, there were reports this morning that U.S. officials met with opposition figures from Afghanistan and the third country. Were there — to your knowledge, were there any Pentagon officials that met or have met with -
GEN. RYDER: Yes, I'm not — I'm not aware of that. So, I don't have anything on that.
Let me go back here to the phone here real quick. Meghann Myers.
Q: Thanks, Pat.
So, you mentioned that the first round of Ukrainians that are heading to port, so there will be 100 of them. You kind of said to Liz, like you're — there's no plans for more rotations at this point. But that timeframe that you're talking about, is there a goal for how to shorten it, or are they kind of just playing it by ear to see how much they can condense the timeline?
And then as a follow-up to that, are there any other systems we're sending Ukraine that might be better suited to training in the U.S. versus Europe the way that they've determined the Patriot is?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Meghann.
So, my understanding is that you know, to get directly to answering your question, no. They're — we're not winging it in terms of the training. This will be an established curriculum to train these soldiers on the Patriot system, although expedited to ensure that they can get back to Ukraine as quickly as possible.
So, and then, again, in terms of the numbers, just to reemphasize the point, my understanding is that this is, the group we're training. As far as any future soldiers that will receive Patriot training, I'm not aware of any right now. But again, that will be part of an ongoing discussion with Ukraine.
And then, I'm sorry, the second part of your question?
Q: Are there any other systems we are sending to Ukraine that might be best suited to stateside training versus in Europe?
GEN. RYDER: Yes, as of right now this will be the only one that I'm tracking. But, of course, we'll continue to stay flexible and do what makes the most sense in support of Ukraine and ensuring that they have what they need and they get the training that they need.
Let me go to Ryo Nakamura (inaudible).
Q: Thank you for taking my question.
I want to ask you about the U.S.-Philippines defense relations. The Philippine acting defense chief has (inaudible) resigned this week, and the chief of staff — chief of staff of the Philippines Armed Forces was also (inaudible) recently. So how much is the Pentagon concerned to — to the changes in the senior leadership might affect the ongoing — ongoing defense cooperation with the Philippines?
GEN. RYDER: Yep, thanks, Ryo.
So, you know, first off, the — the alliance between the United States and the Philippines is ironclad. So that will continue.
In terms of the — the change in defense leadership, certainly aware of that, and Secretary Austin looks forward to speaking to Secretary Galvez at the first opportunity. And we of course congratulate him on his appointment.
Let me go back to the room here. Sir?
Q: A couple on the Ukrainian air picture. The Zuni rockets, to follow up on that, was announced last week. Are those the guided or unguided version?
GEN. RYDER: We'll have to get back to you on that.
Q: Okay. And secondly, the U.S. is (inaudible) to bolster Ukrainian air forces. Is the decision not to provide U.S. aircraft based on the capability that they would not be ready to employ this or the concern about escalation? And it (inaudible).
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so again, we — we continue to have a very robust dialogue with the Ukrainians, when it comes to their security assistance needs. They — they have an Air Force and they've been employing that Air Force to great effect in a — in a lot of locations throughout Ukraine.
And so when it comes to the kinds of capabilities that we provide them, we'll continue to have that conversation with them, with our international allies and our partners, and we'll take a variety of considerations into fact — in — into account, factors to include training, maintenance, sustainability, also the availability of those types of systems. So nothing new to announce on that front but we'll be sure to keep you updated.
All right, let me go back out to the phone one more time here. Nancy Youssef?
Q: Thank you.
I have three questions actually. Other than the Ukrainians that were here at the start of the war, is there — is this the first time that Ukrainian troops will train on U.S. soil?
Secondly, can you tell us how many Ukrainians have been trained by U.S. forces outside of the United States?
And then my understanding is that the Patriot — the U.S.-provided Patriot is already in the region. As part of their training, will these Ukrainian troops train on that U.S.-provided Patriot in Ukraine or in the region?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Nancy.
So we'll — we'll have to get back to you on the numbers — the — the United States — when it comes to the U.S. and training. The United States and Ukraine, as you know, have maintained a security cooperation relationship for some time.
There has been training of Ukrainian forces in the United States before, as well as development. Ukrainians have attended our professional military education schools, they have embedded in headquarters of some of our units.
I know from personal experience, during my time at U.S. Central Command, we had Ukrainians there as — as part of a multi-nation coalition looking at regional threats in the CENTCOM AOR. So hopefully that — that addresses that.
GEN. RYDER: — your second question was is the Patriot that they're training on the one that they're going to employ overseas?
Q: I — I'm sorry, two points of clarification. I'm trying to understand if the — if there have been — other than those Ukrainians that were here on February 24th, is this the first time Ukrainians are training on U.S. soil since February 24th?
And then I was just trying to understand how — I — I'm trying to get a feeling of when the — the U.S.-provided Patriot will sort of be on the battlefield in Ukraine and if — if the — it's going to be part of the training at all — that is, would they train specifically on how to use that Patriot in the region?
Those were the two points.
GEN. RYDER: Yes, so — so the — the training will be tailored to provide relevant tactics, techniques, and procedures based on the battlefield conditions in Ukraine, to enable them to employ that to maximum effect once they are back in Ukraine.
In terms of training in the United States, what — we'll take your question. Yes, we have conducted training of Ukrainian forces, since the Russian invasion, in the United States but let me take that question and we'll — we'll come back to you with whatever details we're able to provide on that.
Q: Thank you very much.
GEN. RYDER: Okay. Yeah?
Q: (Meredith Roden Jane's ?). I wanted to ask if the number — given the complicated training and how many operators it takes to — for the Patriot system, is this going to impact U.S. training on the system at all? And if so, how do you kind of plan to alleviate that?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. It will not detract from any other training that's already scheduled at Fort Sill.
Q: (Now ?), this training is not a matter of sort of inserting them, these Ukrainian soldiers, within the training groups already going on? I mean, they're going to be training by themselves —
GEN. RYDER: Correct.
Q: (And is there ?) a reason you think you can (inaudible) you think that you can sort (of caull ?) the training down is because that is — air defense soldiers back home, they already have a baseline of sort of experience, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel with these guys?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, there's going to be — right, there's — as — as — as instructors — and so first of all, to your — your first question, so these instructors will be the same instructors that already conduct training for U.S. and — and allied forces that — and partner forces that go through training at Fort Sill.
And so a — a variety of factors are taken into account, in terms of how is this capability going to be employed in Ukraine, what are the kinds of tactics, techniques, and procedures that will be most relevant to them to employ on the battlefield, and how can we adjust the curriculum in order to expedite the training, recognizing, again, that there's a fight going on and that we need to get this system there?
I will say that my understanding is that nothing will be done that would prevent this from being employed to the maximum, most effective way possible, right? So in other words, we're not just going to rush them through the training, get over there, and it's not going to work because then what's the point?
So the U.S. Army, working very closely with Ukraine, will make sure that they get the training they need to operate this system to maximum effect once it gets back to Ukraine.
Take a couple more. (Joe ?)?
Q: Hi. Thanks, Pat. A couple of questions.
Ukrainian officials have been saying in recent days in the press that they anticipate a major Russian troop mobilization this month and an offensive in February or March. Does the Pentagon share that assessment?
And then, you know, with this stepped up training, you know, will — will this new Patriot battery and deliveries of armored vehicles — you know, can you ballpark a timeframe for when those are going to arrive? And are these two things convergent at the same time?
GEN. RYDER: When you say "convergent" —
Q: The — the — the potential troop mobilization from Russia and the newly trained troops from — Ukrainian troops from the United States?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah. So let me just say right up front that I'm — I'm not going to speculate about potential future operations and I'm not going to try to go into intelligence about specifics, in terms of what the Russians may or may not do.
All that to say I — I think we have to be careful to not look at the battlefield in a linear way, right? This is going to happen, then this is going to happen, this is going to happen. This is — since day one, has been a very dynamic, fluid situation.
And there's a couple things we do know. Russia has been very clear that — that it intends to continue to try to take and hold Ukrainian territory, as evidenced by their invasion. So we have no reason to believe that they're going to let up on the throttle when it comes to operations.
In the meantime Ukraine has also been very clear that it intends to defend and take back its territory. And that's where we're focused is making sure that they have what they need to defend their country and to take back their sovereign territory.
So that obviously has to take into account a variety of variables, situations that could happen and — and when it comes to Russia we're going to continue to monitor, we're going to continue to work closely with the Ukrainians and the international community, again, to make sure they have what they need to counter that. So hopefully that gets to it.
Q: I think in the past you've sometimes ball parked when certainly capabilities are going to arrive in the hands of the Ukrainians and I was wondering if you could do that in this case the Patriots about when will they be operational, when — how long does it take to deliver armored vehicles.
GEN. RYDER: Yes. So — so in terms of the Patriots, once the training is complete then, you know, the Patriot will be delivered so that they can employ it. I'm not going to get into specific dates, weeks other than several months, just again based on the training timeline.
With the Bradleys as Deputy Secretary Cooper talked about last week, we're — we're looking at, you know, several weeks. So again, we'll continue to work as quickly as we can, as I'm sure you can appreciate, we're not going to announce in advance exactly when those systems will arrive. And certainly the Ukrainians, I'm sure, will highlight them once they do get on the ground.
Q: Two questions. One of the training question from Travis about combined arms training and Joe's question about the Bradleys. A key component of combined arms training is incorporating armor as part of it. So will the Ukrainian forces when they start training soon, as you said, will they incorporate training on the Bradleys as part of that combined arms training.
I mean either in the short term or long term?
GEN. RYDER: Yes, they will. So the Bradleys should be available — or will be available if not now then very soon as — at Graffenwoehr and that will be part of the training, the combined arms training that they do in Germany.
Q: So they'll be training there before — you know on the Bradleys before they go — they're (inaudible).
GEN. RYDER: Correct.
Q: The other question has to do with the continuing request that we're seeing from Ukraine for a (larger armor?). Is there also a request now for striker vehicles, which you know has been incorporated in the U.S. and Canadian militaries for quite some time? And where does the U.S. stand on going into the Ukraine contact group meeting next week on the possibility that the United Kingdom may send challengers.
GEN. RYDER: Yes. So I'm going to be extremely disappointing and tell you that, you know, we're not going to speculate on what future security assistance might look like or talk about what we might or might not be considering. Again, we're going to keep that dialogue open and we're going to continue to adapt and evolve based on the Ukrainians needs and based on the situation on the ground in Ukraine.
As we go into the contact group next week, what I — what I think you can expect to see is that capabilities like air defense and armor will continue to be priority topics of discussion. And so certainly as we conduct those engagements we'll be happy to read you out on what decisions were made.
All right, take just a couple more. I'll go to you and then you, sir.
Q: Thank you.
China conducted military combat exercises around Taiwan this week, which was the second big major exercise in less than one month. What could be your reactions to this and what kind of discussions do you expect with Japanese counterpart about these (inaudible).
GEN. RYDER: Well, again, I'd say as one of our closest allies in the region. I have no doubt — well, let me say it this way.
China certainly will be a topic of discussion with our Japanese allies during the consultation — consultative meetings this week. In terms of Chinese behavior as evidenced most recently by the PRC air intercept, it is concerning when you see these types of provocative actions taking place in sensitive areas. And so, again, our focus, from the United States’ standpoint, is working with our allies and our partners in the region like Japan to ensure free and open Indo-Pacific, and to ensure that security and stability continue to be present throughout the region.
And the last question, (inaudible).
Q: Thank you, sir.
I had a question concerning tomorrow's 2+2. It was reported by a Japanese newspaper that there will be additions to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, so Article 5, where that there is an attack on Japan in space, such as on a satellite, that the U.S. will come to Japan's defense. Could you confirm that that will be added tomorrow? Or are there any talks going on concerning that addition to (inaudible) Article 5?
GEN. RYDER: Yes, thank you.
Again, I don't have anything specific to announce right now. I'll be sure the follow up afterwards and let you know exactly what — what comes out of those talks. But we look very forward to them and thank you for the question.
All right. Thanks very much, everybody. Appreciate it.