BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: Good afternoon, everyone. Just a few things for you and then I'll get right to your questions. So, first Secretary Austin began his day today with two phone calls this morning. With his counterparts from Qatar and Sweden. He spoke first with Qatar's Minister of State of Defense Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Khalid Mohammed Al Attiyah, the two discussed our shared commitment to our close defense partnership and to ensuring stability across the Middle East region. Shortly afterwards, Secretary Austin spoke with Sweden's Minister of Defense Paul Johnson. The Secretary looks forward to continuing our shared efforts with Sweden to providing security assistance to Ukraine and to working together next week in Germany at the Ukraine defense contact group. Readouts of these two engagements will be posted to defense.gov.
Separately, Secretary Austin also attended a memorial service earlier today at the Washington National Cathedral for former Secretary of Defense Dr. Ash Carter. Secretary Austin again offers his condolences and prayers to the family of Dr. Carter, a leader whose commitment and service to the DoD and to our nation will long be remembered. Later this afternoon, Secretary Austin will host Japan's Minister of Defense Hamada, to the Pentagon for an honor cordon and bilateral meeting. The Secretary looks forward to welcoming the minister and to continuing their important discussion following yesterday's 2+2 consultative talks. We will also post a readout of today's meeting on the DoD website once it's available.
And then finally, today, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released their unclassified version of the annual unidentified aerial phenomena or UAP report required by the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2022. The report is available on the ODNI website. But you can also find the link on our DoD press release, which we put out a short while ago and which is also posted on defense.gov.
And with that, I will take your questions. We'll start with AP Tara.
Q: Two on Ukraine. Can you give us a status update on what department is seeing in Soledar? You know, is there a chance that Russian forces will take it? And secondly, the reports today that a Russian general visited Belarusian visited troops in Belarus. What are the Pentagon's insights into this? What are your concerns that there might be a spring offensive that Belarus is supporting?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, sure. In terms of Soledar, we do continue to see intense and heavy fighting around Soledar and Bakhmut, which of course is relatively close. We cannot corroborate any reports that Soledar has been taken by Russian forces. We did see some press reporting on that, in particular, those forces led by the Wagner group. But we do know that the Ukrainians continue to operate in the vicinity of Soledar. And continue to fight back. So, in the meantime, our focus obviously remains on continuing to work with Ukraine and the international community to get Ukraine the security assistance that it needs. In terms of Belarus. It is an area that we continue to keep a close eye on. We do know that Russian forces have conducted exercises with Belarus forces, but at this time, no indication of any type of offensive action that looks imminent. But again, we'll continue to closely monitor.
Q: So, you haven't seen any additional movements of troops or equipment that might raise concern into Belarus?
GEN. RYDER: Nothing at this stage that I would consider concerning. Thank you. Tom?
Q: Pat, on Ukraine, can you give us a sense of when those Bradley Fighting Vehicles will arrive in Ukraine? And also, so a lot of talk among the Brits and the Germans and the Poles about sending tanks to Ukraine. Can you talk about the Pentagon's discussions with the allies on that point?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. In terms of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, while I'm not going to provide a specific date, as -- as we've mentioned before, those vehicles will go to Germany first so that the Ukrainians can train on them as part of the combined arms and Joint Maneuver Training that we're conducting.
Q: Ballpark of when that will happen?
GEN. RYDER: We're looking at weeks, not months. And I'll just leave it at that. And then I'm sorry, your second question?
Q: On the tanks.
GEN. RYDER: So, broadly speaking, again, whether it's tanks, whether it's air defense, whether it's artillery, these are all areas that we continue to discuss closely with our international allies and partners. As you know, we've got the Ukraine defense contact group coming up next week. And so, I fully expect that this will be an area for further discussion.
Q: For the Brits and the Germans – the Poles – they’ve already talked about the tanks. Can you give us a sense of the Pentagon's position of this? Are they supportive of this? Is it something separate that those countries will do?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, no, we're absolutely supportive of any type of defense capabilities that our international allies and partners can provide to Ukraine to include tanks. Again, part of the factor…the equation that goes into that is the ability to train on this equipment, sustain it, and maintain it. And so, that will be a part of any discussion whether it's United States or our partners. But certainly, we are supportive of any type of capability that will give the Ukrainians an advantage on the battlefield.
Q: And lastly, Abram’s part of that discussion?
GEN. RYDER: Again, for the United States, I don't have anything new to announce. We're going to continue to have the discussions in terms of what we can do to best assist Ukraine.
Q: Thank you, Pat. I have two questions. Excuse me. There's South Korean president doing something say they clear that South Korea could build its own nuclear armament. What is the U.S. position on this?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Janne. I've seen the press reports on that, it's really something for the Republic of Korea to address, I would tell you that from a U.S. standpoint, our policy continues to remain focused on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And [we're*] working as always with our ROK, Japanese and allies in the region, to preserve security and stability, and importantly, to deter aggression from countries like North Korea, as we've said before, and as you know, we have nearly 30,000 U.S. forces stationed in South Korea alone that are focused on supporting and defending our ROK allies. So, our commitment towards this end remains ironclad.
Q: But North Korea and China, Russia have nuclear weapons. And then South Korea, Japan do not there is a lot of a public opinion that nuclear armament is necessary in order to be free from North Korean nuclear weapons. But why not? Why cannot have nuclear weapons?
GEN. RYDER: Again, a lot of this has to do with the fact from a regional security and stability standpoint and non-proliferation in terms of preventing the potential chance for the use of nuclear weapons. And so, from a United States perspective, again, our policy remains very clear on denuclearization. But it's important also to remember that the Republic of Korea falls under that extended deterrence umbrella. And so, in addition to the U.S. forces that are assigned there on the peninsula, our allies in the region to include South Korea are part of that.
Q: What is the U.S. nuclear umbrella nuclear umbrella doesn't work.
GEN. RYDER: Well, now, we're getting into hypotheticals and speculating. And so, I would say that to date, it has worked, and it's worked very well.
So, let me go ahead and move on. Brandy?
Q: Thank you, sir. On the 2022 UAP report, there's 366 reports since July 2022, the majority of those originate from U.S. Navy and Air Force aviators and operators, who witnessed them during their operational duties, and reported them to the previous task force and now arrow through official channels. What are those official channels that the Pentagon has set up for better information sharing on this topic?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks very much for the question. So, first of all, let me just say right up top that the department wants to thank the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for leading the collaborative effort to produce this report, as well as all the other agencies that supported it, I would encourage you to, as I'm sure you are, read that report for any type of detailed information. Broadly speaking, when it comes to the types of processes and procedures that have been established. The arrow office, as you highlighted, has closely worked with each of the service branches, to come up with a streamlined reporting system to be able to collect that information. And then, in addition to the military branches is also working with the interagency. So, organizations like NOAA, the Coast Guard, Department of the Energy, just to name a few. And so, by establishing those reporting procedures, what it does, and I think you'll see this in the report, is it allows the collection of data, and more data allows us to be a little bit more rigorous in terms of how we go after investigating these incidents. So, hopefully that --
Q: Yeah, that does, and I appreciate the transparency here. Just a quick follow up. The report says that regarding health concerns, so far, no encounters of UAP have been aligned with serious anomalous health incidents, Congress pushed you guys and mandated ODNI and the Pentagon to look into that, which means there were reports from military aviators about anomalous health incidents. Is there anything you guys can share about what those health incidents ended up being if they were not UAP?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I don't I don't have any information to provide, I encourage you to take a look at the report. I would say broadly speaking, I think one of the key points in this report, you know, given -- given the potential hazard that UAPs do present, notably, there's been no reported collisions of, of military aircraft or U.S. aircraft rather, and UAPs. But in terms of those specifics, I'd refer you back to the report. Let me go to Nancy, and then go over here to Felicia.
Q: One follow-up question from yesterday. If there's a way by the end of the week, if we could get a sense of other places where Ukrainian forces have trained in the United States, and a rough estimate of how many they've trained that would be very helpful. And then there were reports that Kathy Chung, who works as the Deputy Director, protocol for the Secretary Austin, has been interviewed as part of the FBI investigation into some of these classified documents found with President Biden, can you give us a sense, if at all about what kinds of how many times she's been interviewed whether those interviews have happened at the Pentagon, and whether she retains her current position as the deputy director of protocol?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Nancy. On your first question, absolutely. I know we owe you that answer. And we're working to get that for you. So, we will aim to try to provide something to you in the press corps before the end of the week. In regards to the documents that you're referring to, and any type of FBI action, I really need to refer you to the Department of Justice. I'm not going to have any comment on that. In terms of Ms. Chung, she does remain employed by the Department of Defense, currently serving as the deputy director of protocol. Thank you very much. Ma'am?
Q: I'll try once more on tanks. Germany and Poland have talked about sending main battle tanks as part of a international coalition or effort. Can that coalition or that effort happen without the U.S. sending Abrams? Are there? How are you looking to --
GEN. RYDER: Yes.
Q: -- because Germany -- yes, it can happen?
GEN. RYDER: Yes.
GEN. RYDER: OK.
Q: Yes, it can -- it can happen?
GEN. RYDER: Of course, I mean, you already have an international coalition providing a variety of military capabilities to Ukraine. And so, again, I think, you know, an important point here. And again, I don't mean to come across as flippant, I mean, I understand your question. And as we've said, we're going to continue to keep all options on the table, when it comes to the capabilities that we provide to Ukraine. But again, I don't have anything to announce regarding tanks or Abrams today, but -- but on international capabilities, and how we bring them together. I think this is part of the discussion and part of the training that you see already taking place in places like Europe, to enable the Ukrainians to train on these systems, and then employ them effectively on the battlefield. And one of the things that Secretary Austin has made very clear, both publicly and privately, is I can give you equipment, I can, you know, and I can give you the training, and I'm providing you with the capability. And that's really what we're talking about when it comes to the combined arms employment of these capabilities in a way that's going to assist Ukraine.
Q: One follow-up, you stated earlier that you -- the U.S. supports Germany and others that want to send tanks. But ahead of the meetings next week, are you encouraging them to send main battle tanks?
GEN. RYDER: So, I'm not gonna I'm not gonna necessarily preview the specifics of what we're going to encourage them. Again, Secretary Austin and other DoD leaders and other members of the U.S. government are constantly engaged with our allies and partners around the world to discuss how we can all collectively best support Ukraine. And, you know, I don't necessarily want to say… It's a sovereign decision for each country what they can or cannot provide. And so, again, to clarify, what I'm saying is we -- we certainly support and are encouraged by any effort to support Ukraine, whether that's training or whether that's physical equipment, the important point being we're all doing it together to help this country defend itself. Let me go to the phone here real quick, and I'll come back in the room. Liz from Fox.
Q: Hey, thanks for taking my question. Can you hear me, OK?
GEN. RYDER: Hear you.
Q: Great. So, I have a few questions regarding counter drone capabilities. The first one is how many drones can one vampire system target at the same time? The second one is how will the system being sent to Ukraine. How will it fight Ukraine and its fight against Russia? And the third one is a little bit broader as enemies of the U.S. are increasing their use of drones, does the U.S. have adequate systems to defend against these drones, including a possible swarm of a drone attack, say on a NATO ally or Ukraine?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, Liz, I'll come back on your last question, because I just want to make sure I understood what you asked correctly, the first two on the vampire system. For operation security reasons, I'm not going to get into the specifics in terms of its, you know, the number of drones that can or cannot effectively guard against, as you do highlight it as an anti-drone capability, and once provided to Ukraine, that will be integrated into its broader air defense capability, its integrated air defense system, so to speak, as part of that multi layered defense capability to protect it from aerial attacks, to include drones. And then I think your last question was, is can the U.S. adequately protect against drone attacks? Was that what you were asking?
Q: Yeah, how confident is the U.S. as the U.S.’s enemies are developing their drone capabilities in defense?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I would say that, you know, largely speaking, this is an area of continued development, continued research, development and execution, we clearly maintain a capability, a counter drone, counter UAS capability. That said, you know, I think we've all seen how these -- these drones, these capabilities can be used in a variety of ways in a variety of creative and unique ways on the battlefield. And so, it's one of those things that we're going to have to continue to stay after you've seen everything from high end drones to terrorist organizations, you know, using them to drop hand grenades, on frontline formations in places like Iraq and Syria. So, that is an area that we're going to continue to work closely on. Broadly speaking, though, yes, I remain confident that we do have the capabilities to defend our forces, no matter where they're serving. Thank you. Let me just go one more here. Patrick Tucker, Defense One.
Q: Hey, thanks for doing this. Yesterday, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro made a comment that if the industrial defense base doesn't ramp up production, it's going to be challenging for the U.S. to continue to arm itself. He basically said if the conflict does go on for another six months, for another year, it certainly continues to stress the supply chain in many ways that are challenging, is his direct quote, is that the Pentagon’s view that if the Ukraine conflict goes on at its current pace, and the support mission goes on at its current pace, that the U.S. will face challenges in adequately arming itself?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Pat. So, as you've heard Secretary Austin say before, we will not go below our readiness requirements as we take into consideration what Ukraine's security assistance needs are. And so, as we as we work with them, and as we work with our partners to identify the specific capabilities, the specific systems, among the capabilities that we have, there's going to be a variety of factors that are taken into account to ensure that we can continue to support Ukraine while at the same time ensuring that we maintain our own readiness and our own stocks. Importantly, this has been an ongoing conversation and an ongoing effort from very early on in this campaign, particularly as we saw it going out for -- for an extended period. And so, you've seen things like the National armaments directors meeting regularly, in fact, they'll meet next week prior to the defense contact group, the Ukraine defense contact group, and they have a series of regular meetings so that we can continue to work as an international community to -- to again, one, make sure that we're anticipating and supporting Ukraine and its needs, but also making sure that we can maintain and replenish our own stocks of munitions.
And so, we are confident that we can continue on that glide path working very closely with industry and working with our international allies and partners. I would say it's one of our great strategic strengths as a coalition is the fact that we do have such a large defense in number of defense industrial bases to draw upon, as well as a motivated defense industrial base that wants to help us in that regard. So, we are confident that will continue to be able to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. And we're confident that we'll be able to continue to maintain the readiness levels that are vital to defending our nation. Thank you. Carla.
Q: I just want a quick clarification on what you were telling Tom about the Bradley's when you say we're looking at weeks, not months. Do you mean weeks for their arrival in Germany and for training to begin, or do you mean weeks not months for them to get to Ukraine?
GEN. RYDER: So, training, training should start for the most part, my understanding is next week in Germany, OK. And so, on -- on the -- on the Joint Maneuver Training, combined arms training, Bradley's, it should start next week in Germany. In terms of, again, specific dates…You'll see the Bradleys arrive in the battlefield when they arrive and will allow Ukraine to highlight that. I'm saying that, you know, again, we anticipate that that training will take weeks, not months, but I'm not going to get into the specific numbers of -- of weeks or months. So, thank you. OK, Oren.
Q: What is the U.S. assessment of the change at the top of the Russian military, General Valery Gerasimov becoming not only the chief of defense, but also the chief of the so-called special military operation and sort of became becoming as deputy? Is that a sign of just more dysfunction there or displeasure with either [unintelligible] or Gerasimov? And what does that say to the U.S. about Prigozhin’s position at this time and Wagner?
GEN. RYDER: And so, certainly aware of Russia's announcement regarding the personnel shift, and it's something that we continue to monitor, Oren, and I'm not going to speculate, per se on how this might affect things in the battlefield in Ukraine, other than to say that it likely does reflect some of the systemic challenges that the Russian military has faced since the beginning of this invasion. We've talked about some of those things in terms of its logistics problems, command and control problems, sustainment problems, morale, and large the largely large failure to achieve the strategic objectives that they've set for themselves. So, it's something that we’ll continue to keep an eye on I would say, frankly, I think that the world would rather see Russia focus on withdrawing from Ukraine and saving innocent lives, versus spending time on numerous management reshuffles and Russian soldiers and their families would probably like to see that too. But other than that, there is nothing else to provide. Thank you. Will?
Q: Two questions. So, the U.S. has provided a variety of counter UAV capabilities to Ukraine. Is there a mechanism for assessing how well they work? And kind of Ukrainians feeding that back to the U.S.? And if so, what is the U.S. learned from that so far, if such a thing exists?
GEN. RYDER: Well, I don't I don't want to get into specific effectiveness rates other than to say, I think the results largely do speak for themselves. The Ukrainians have talked publicly about their air defense abilities and their success rate in terms of taking down for example, Iranian drones taking down Russian missiles. And, and I would say that, from a U.S. perspective, that is accurate, they have done a very good job, using the air defense capabilities that they had, originally and then integrating, you know, Western capabilities into their system to do that, that said, clearly, Russian missiles and drones continue to have an impact. And so, we will do our part to continue to support them to provide them with additional air defense capabilities.
Q: Without getting into what -- what specifically has worked and how well it gets worked but is -- is -- is what's working in Ukraine kind of being incorporated by the U.S. and into -- into its planning for counter UAS, or UAS.
GEN. RYDER: So, I would say that anytime there's a significant conflict, the United States military as a learning organization is going to observe what works and what doesn't work on the battlefield and try to apply those lessons learned into our own joint doctrine and training. So, I think that the situation in Ukraine is no different.
Q: Thanks, sir. Two different questions. One, a few briefings ago, before the defense bill was passed, one of my colleagues here asked about the possible impact of the vaccine mandate being taken away, which it has been now on the ability to send troops into countries that require the mandate. I wonder if you could consider bringing a back response to that at some point, if it would impact our troops going into countries that require a vaccine mandate.
GEN. RYDER: So, yeah, so certainly commanders do have a responsibility to ensure that if they're sending forces to a place that that requires a vaccine that that's a situation that will be addressed, you know, on a case-by-case bases. But you know, we have a responsibility for the health and welfare of our forces. And so, you know, again, depending on the situation and the circumstances, it is incumbent on commanders to -- to ensure that they're doing what they need to do to make sure those forces are ready.
Q: So, the decision basically, generally speaking, would be at the combat level.
GEN. RYDER: Correct.
Q: OK. My second question is the British military statement today how it's tracking the new Russian aircraft carrier that's in the North Sea. And it said that they're tracking it's a task force tracking it with NATO allies, is the United States participating in that?
GEN. RYDER: I don't have an answer to that Tom, I just don't, I'd recommend you contact EUCOM. And they may be able to provide you some additional insight. Thank you very much. Chris?
Q: Two questions. First, we've talked a lot about tanks, Bradley's combined arms training that enables Ukrainians to effectively fight but one thing that U.S. does is when it goes to war, it has a lot of air power. So, is there going to be any discussion about among all the members of the defense contact group about providing Ukraine with fixed wing aircraft?
GEN. RYDER: So, -- So, I think, as I mentioned before, you know, the primary focus of the upcoming contact group will largely be on air defense and armor. That said, again, broadly speaking, is an international coalition. And certainly, within the Department of Defense, we continue to look at the near medium and long term defense requirements for Ukraine. And so, while I don't have any announcements to make in regards to aircraft at this time, you know, certainly we'll continue to -- to take a look at the situation and consider Ukraine security assistance needs.
Q: And then the second question is, yesterday, the U.S. and Japan said they committed to expand joint shared use of U.S. and Japanese facilities. But it was not more specific than that. Could that include increased stability for the U.S. Air Force to operate from Japanese air or air bases? Or, or what does that entail a little more explicitly?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, well, we'll have more details to provide in the future, as the U.S. military and Japanese self-defense force staffs work together on those details, as you do highlight, you know, without getting into specifics, whether it's the United States Marine Corps, whether it's United States Air Force, the Army and others, taking advantage of opportunities to -- to be able to position forces throughout the Indo Pacific region in a distributed way that provides us with agility, flexibility, and, and maneuverability to be able to respond to any regional threats.
Q: So it’s an ongoing conversation.?
GEN RYDER: Ongoing conversation. Thank you. Joe?
Q: Thanks, Pat. So, we've -- we've seen in the last number of weeks, Bradley, several different kinds of armored vehicles are going to be donated to Ukraine. We're talking about different kinds of tanks, potentially going to Ukraine. The Secretary of Defense leads the Contact Group, what's his level of concern or confidence in Ukraine's ability to sustain all these various types of vehicles? You know, simultaneously? And is that a…To what degree is that a factor in in decisions about providing them with more types of equipment?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, well, I mean, again, kind of going back to what I said earlier, broadly speaking, logistics and sustainment is a factor in decisions about providing Ukraine with capabilities, not because we don't want to give it to them, but because, you know, something that you can't operate isn't going to help you. And, you know, could potentially give you a disadvantage. That said, to your point, integrating all of these capabilities is a priority. And it's part of the ongoing conversation and collaboration in terms of how we train the Ukrainians, whether it's, you know, collective training or individual training on those systems. So, that is part of the discussion is how once those capabilities are put back into Ukraine, how they can best employ them together in a combined arms approach. All that said, I would also not underestimate what we've seen the Ukrainians do time and time again, which is take these systems and employ them in a way that's been extremely effective under incredibly trying circumstances. So, there is that there's that X factor as well, that they've been demonstrating since this invasion began.
Q: And I have a follow up on Pat Tucker's question or earlier about readiness levels, I think we heard a number of times from different defense officials, yourself that the that the leaders here are going to allow, you know, stocks to fall below a certain readiness level or what's required. But are those requirements static over the last year? Or is that? Is that in like a rolling assessment and have those assessed, you know, have those assessments changed over time? Have folks here grown to accept more risk because of changing conditions?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah. So, as I'm sure you can appreciate, I'm not going to get into specific systems and units and readiness and things like that, other than to say, again, I meant what I said that that is part of the discussion, in terms of as things are considered, there's -- there's always a lot of input and deliberation in terms of OK, if we provide this, what would the impact be on our forces on our alliances, and again, the Secretary has been very clear that we're not going to do anything that's going to prevent us from meeting our security commitments worldwide. And so, again, you know, Russia invading Ukraine has prevent, has presented a significant challenge, not only you to Ukraine, but to the international rules-based order. And so, I think everyone collectively worldwide understands the importance of this task, and the fact that we've all got to work together to make sure that we can sustain the support to Ukraine, because of the consequences if we don't. And so, again, as I highlighted before, I think we're very confident that we have the relationships, we have the network, and we have the capability and capacity worldwide to work together to ensure that we can meet Ukraine's security assistance needs, while at the same time working very closely together to make sure we can meet our own national defense requirements. Thank you. All right, let me just do a few more. Sir?
Q: Hi. Peter Martin from Bloomberg News. I wanted to I could follow up on the -- the M-1 question again. And specifically, you talked about the importance of logistics and sustainment? How do you see that? How does that impact Pentagon thinking on whether or not to provide the M-1to the Ukrainians? Do you think that's a really good effectively integrate into their operations, or that it would simply be too complex?
GEN. RYDER: So, you know, without again, trying to? So, again, first of all, I'm not gonna have any announcement to make, let me just say it again, I'm not sure if you knew that, but the M, one is a logistics, and fuel intensive vehicle. OK. So, that certainly is part of the equation. But again, we will continue to move as we move forward, continue to keep all options on the table. But, you know, like we were just talking about, you've got to take into account, if I'm going to provide you with a piece of equipment, are you going to be able to sustain it, maintain it, operate it, fuel it? And is it going to be an albatross around your neck, so to speak on the battlefield? Or is it going to be something that's going to contribute to your combat capability? I'm not suggesting that the Ukrainians can't operate the systems that they're provided. I'm just suggesting that these are the kinds of things that have to be part of that conversation. So, again, we're going to continue to work closely with them, we're going to continue to work closely with our partners and allies to determine how we can best support them based on the conditions on the ground to give them the best chance of success.
Q: Do you think the M-1 would be an albatross around the Ukrainians neck if it were provided?
GEN. RYDER: Again, I'm not going to speculate about the future I'm going to talk about right now and don't have anything to announce. I mean, we provided $24 billion worth of security assistance. I'm sure no one anywhere would doubt our commitment to supporting Ukraine and the capabilities that that we've given them. And we're going to remain focused on doing that and giving them whatever it is that they need, at this moment in time based on the situation on the ground to be effective. Thank you. Let me go back out to the phone here. Got Sean from National Defense.
Q: Yep. Thanks, Pat. So, one of the problems that was -- or concerns raised last year by members of Congress was oversight of the war to Ukraine. And obviously, after Iraq, Afghanistan, there are a lot of concerns, inspector general findings. Can you address what the department is doing regarding oversight of support to Ukraine, in light of any lessons learned from the previous conflicts?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thank you, Sean. You know, we've been very public in terms of the steps that we've taken, working closely with state department and Ukraine, in terms of monitoring of the of the equipment that we've provided to them, as well as being responsive to Congress. When -- When it comes to oversight of the capabilities that we provide, and -- and so we will continue to do that we look forward to working with the Congress and to the strong bipartisan support that we've received to this stage. Thank you. All right. Let me just do a couple more. Sir, and then back here.
Q: Thank you, sir. I had a question on the Tomahawk missiles that Japan has been looking to purchase, I understand that there was nothing publicly released concerning this yesterday, after the 2+2. Can we expect some kind of deal or purchase to be done today with Secretary Austin and Defense Minister Hamada? Or will there be an announcement concerning these missiles at all?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks very much. So, I don't have anything to announce regarding foreign military sales, I'd refer you to the State Department on -- on that. Thank you. Sir?
Q: General -- General, do you have any update on Iranian support to Russia, especially recently? The Ukraine have said that Iran may send more drones to Russia in the near future. Any steps to stop that support?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks very much. So, we do know, you know, obviously, that Iran has provided drones to Russia for use in Ukraine. We do know that there's Russian intent to acquire more of those drones, I don't have any updates to provide in terms of, you know, the -- the levels of or the numbers rather that they provided beyond the hundreds we've talked about before. And again, working with the interagency on what -- what types of sanctions might be applied to prevent Iran from doing that. But I don't have anything beyond that. Thank you. All right, we got time for one more, and then we'll call it a day. Yes, ma'am.
Q: So, just to go back to what the Secretary of the Navy said. So, the undersecretary of the Navy, multiple comments were made by Navy officials about industries, timelines and delays in industry? Is that a concern shared by the Pentagon? And is there any concern that supplies to Ukraine has been prioritized over supplies for the United States military?
GEN. RYDER: Again, we're not going to do anything that's going to prevent us from being able to meet our national security requirements. And as I highlighted, the Department of Defense is working very closely with industry to identify what our needs and our requirements are. And we're confident that, you know, given the robust industrial base that we have, that we'll be able to work through those challenges and make sure that we can replenish our stocks, you know, in addition to working closely with our allies and partners around the world on the same problem set. So, thank you very much. Thanks, everyone. Appreciate it.
*Editor's Note: Brig. Gen. Ryder intended to say “we’re” but misspoke and said “I’m”.