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Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder Holds a Press Briefing

GEN. RYDER:  All right.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you, sir.  All right, just a few things to pass along and then we'll get right to your questions.  I am cognizant of your time today.

So first of all, the Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the situation in the Middle East and maintain a steady focus on our critical lines of effort.  As you've heard Secretary Austin reinforce earlier this week, foremost, we will continue to protect American forces and citizens in the region.  Second, we continue to flow critical security assistance to Israel as they defend themselves against further Hamas terrorist attacks.  Third, we're coordinating closely with the Israelis to help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including American citizens.  And fourth, we've strengthened our force posture across the region to deter any state or non-state actors from escalating this crisis beyond Gaza.

Secretary Austin and DOD leaders are actively engaged in frequent communication with our partners in the region to discuss the situation as we work to prevent this from broadening into a larger regional conflict, and in those discussions, the Secretary has also reaffirmed the U.S. emphasis on the protection of civilians and unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.

Separately, next week, Secretary Austin will travel to India, the Republic of Korea, and Indonesia for several important engagements to further bolster our strong relationships in the Indo-Pacific region.  The Secretary and India's Defense Minister will participate in the fifth 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue alongside Secretary of State Blinken and India's Minister of External Affairs.

Secretary Austin will then travel to the ROK for meetings with the ROK Minister of National Defense, which include the 55th annual Security Consultative Meeting and the inaugural ROK-United Nations Command Member States Defense Ministerial Meeting.

Finally, Secretary Austin will participate in the 10th ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus, or ADMM-Plus, in Jakarta, Indonesia.  This will be the Secretary's fourth trip to the Indo-Pacific region this year and his ninth since becoming Secretary of Defense.

The trip comes as the United States, along with U.S. allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific, continues to deliver historic momentum toward a shared regional vision for peace, stability, and prosperity.

Finally, I know there has been some interest in whether Secretary Austin has had the opportunity to meet with the new Speaker of the House yet.  As an update both Secretary Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Brown, had a chance to meet with Speaker Johnson yesterday.

As always, the Secretary and the Department look forward to working closely with the Speaker and the Congress, to ensure that the U.S. Military has what it needs to carry out our important mission of defending our nation.

And with that I'll be happy to take your questions.

Go to AP, Tara Copp.

Q:  So we've begun to see both from President Biden and from some members of Congress that there is interest in a cease fire or a pause in operations in Gaza, to allow some humanitarian aid to get through.  Does the Secretary think that a cease fire or a pause would also be beneficial at this point in communicating that to his Israeli counterparts?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So a couple things there.  As it relates to a cease fire I think you've heard the White House speak to this as well.  We do not support a cease fire and that that gives time for Hamas to regroup which is something that again would put Israeli citizens and others in danger.

You have heard however the President say that the U.S. government does support humanitarian pauses to enable humanitarian aid to get in or hostages to get out as well as other citizens.

So in the Secretary's discussion with his counterparts as I mentioned at the top, the discussion of ensuring that Palestinian civilians, Gazans, innocent civilians in Gaza are able to get humanitarian assistance, whether that be water, fuel, medical aid, that continues to be something that we continue to emphasize regularly.

Q:  So the Secretary is advocating for potentially a humanitarian pause as the White House has suggested?

GEN. RYDER:  So again I'd refer you to the White House to talk broadly.  The DOD focus, again our focus is on the things that I highlighted at the top which is deterring a broader conflict, ensuring Force Protection, and also ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend itself.

Thank you very much.


Q:  Two quick questions.  Firstly, on the -- I think it was last week, the intercepts by the Carney, the missiles from Yemen.  Now that you've had some time to study it, do you definitively believe that the missiles were heading to Israel and the U.S. -- that the warship was not a target?

GEN. RYDER:  Again we know that the Houthis have the ability by virtue of the missiles that they're employing to range targets in Israel.

As it relates to the USS Carney, again what we know is that those missiles were in the vicinity of the ,and so they took appropriate action to take those missiles down.  But the broader point here is again we know that they have this capability -- the missiles that can reach targets in Israel.  And as you saw earlier this week, Israel did take one of those missiles down.

But as it relates to Israeli missile defense and air defense I'd refer you to them to talk about that.

Q:  (inaudible).

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  I don't have that information to pass along.

Q:  And then just a simple question.  Do you believe Israel's response so far has been proportionate?

GEN. RYDER:  Look, I'm not going to speak about Israel's operations.  You've heard us say that we continue to talk with them about the importance of applying the Laws of War which includes proportionality, which includes taking into account civilians on the ground.

But you've also heard us talk about the challenging situation that they're in as it relates to Hamas.  And their extensive network of command and control operational nodes ,rockets, all and, oh by the way, tunnels deeply embedded underneath Gaza, all wrapped around innocent civilians.

And so again I don't think any of us can question the complexity of the urban warfare that is taking place in Gaza.  But we will continue, and we do expect our Israeli partners to abide by and take into account the Laws of War as they conduct their operations.

Let me move over here to, Will?

Q:  Two questions.  First in terms of U.S. end-use monitoring of military supplies or aid supply to Israel, have there been any instances of concern or that raised concerns on the U.S. side in terms of civilian casualties?

And second can we just get an update on the number of attacks on U.S. Forces in the region?

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.  So whenever we provide military assistance to partners including Israel you know, we do make clear that that support must be used consistent with International Law, to include the Law of War, and obligations related to protecting civilians.  So that is standard with any partner that we provide.

And again, this is part of the conversation that we continue to have with our Israeli partners recognizing that they do have an inherent right and a duty to protect their citizens.

As it relates to attacks.  Since October 26th ,there have been eight attacks, three in Syria -- or excuse me, three in Iraq, five in Syria.  And I would say, just one -- the last one was on October 31st, and that was one attack in Syria.

Q:  What's the total now?

GEN. RYDER:  Twenty-eight, 28 total.

Q:  Is that since October 17th.?

GEN. RYDER:  Since October 17th.  Correct, Eastern Time.


Q:  Thanks Pat.  Two questions.  One on the attacks.  And one on Ukraine training.

I'd just like to clarify, what an attack on U.S. Forces is just so we’re all speaking the same language. 

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  

Q:  Are you counting attempted attacks that may fail at launch? And is your assessment of an attack consistent with how you categorize these incidents in the past?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So it's a great point.  And thanks for bringing it up.  And so I think part of the challenge here -- and I know that you all wrestle with this as well, is defining an attack.

And for those of you that have spent any significant time in places like Iraq and Syria particularly during the height of combat operations whether it be OIF or the Counter ISIS Campaign, you know, it's not -- it was not unusual back in the day so to speak to have indirect fire on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day.

You know, my own experience sitting in Baghdad, the first couple of weeks of the deployment it was a significant psychological event.  By the end of the deployment you know, it barely registered an eyebrow raise.

That said it's dangerous, right?  And so in some cases you have a couple of rockets maybe impacting somewhere near the fence line or inside the fence line.  In other cases you have drones that that may impact a facility.  You know, as you saw on October 17th and 18th, we had some folks that experienced some injuries.

Since then you know, no injuries of U.S. personnel to my knowledge.  But again it doesn't minimize the potential risk and the danger of these.

And so as we put these lists together ,these numbers together, we're working with CJTR-OIR, U.S. Central Command, to try to be as conservative as possible, to identify if U.S. Forces in Iraq and Syria were threatened.  But again it's going to be an art not a science for the sake of transparency, trying to ensure that we're providing what we can as quickly as we can.

And so I'll just leave it there.

Q:  So what is the definition, is there a distance it has to be or?

GEN. RYDER:  No.  Again like I said you know, what it's U.S. Forces essentially been threatened but again it's going to be an art not a science depending on a situation.

My second question, on Tuesday you said the timeline for training Ukrainian pilots and F-16 would be roughly five to nine months.  Is that a pre-existing DOD estimate or is that an assessment that came after the pilots got to Arizona?

GEN. RYDER:  That's an assessment that essentially is tailored to the current situation, based on our conversations with the Air National Guard.  And again very much predicated on the skill level of the individual pilots that are going through that training.

Q:  Just to clarify. 

GEN. RYDER:  And then last question. It's not an Air Force Briefing.  

Although I do appreciate it.  I do appreciate it.

Q:  So again is that before they got to the U.S. or conversation that happened, once the pilots were assessed in the United States?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So my understanding is, Ukraine identifies the pilots that they're going to send.  They come to the U.S. Part of that initial discussion is evaluating their skill level, where they stand in terms of English language skills, pilot skills.  And so it would be tailored to the individual pilot.  And so there can be some variance there in terms of one pilot may finish sooner than another pilot if that makes sense.  OK.


Q:  Thank you.  One quick question and then a follow up.  Does DOD have any role in making sure that aid can continue to flow into Gaza.  Is the DOD actually doing anything to do that?

GEN. RYDER:  So right now, the Department of Defense is not physically part of that process but again as part of the broader U.S. government.  And as I mentioned this is a discussion that the Secretary does have with his counterparts in terms of you know, particularly encouraging Israel to ensure that that aid can get in.

Q:  And then my follow up is, what is DOD's assessment as to whether the IDF has taken the advice that U.S. Special Operators offered in terms of targeting innocent civilians and that type of thing?

GEN. RYDER:  You mentioned Special Operators.  What do you mean?

Q:  Yes.  The Special Operations Team that was in Israel and giving advice on targeting and civilian casualties.  What is DOD's assessment of whether the IDF has actually put that into practice?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So just to clarify, you know, the Special Operations Forces that you're talking about are those individuals that shortly after the October 7th attacks are helping to advise on hostage recovery? They are not participating and we the U.S. military are not participating in IDF target development helping them run their campaign.

You know, just to be crystal clear, that it is their operation, they're running their operation, so that planning element is providing planning and intelligence support as it relates to hostage recovery.

Q:  So was it not accurate then I know I've seen some reports that that group was advising on urban combat and lessons learned. 

GEN. RYDER:  No. I think, Lieutenant General Glenn, you know, as an expert in Urban Warfare had been advising you know, as part of things to take into account in terms of operational planning, you know, in terms of second- and third-order effects as well as civilian harm mitigation as part of that process.

Q:  My question was the DOD assess, that the IDF has actually taken that advice and put it into practice?

GEN. RYDER:  I think they are.  And again I'm not going to speak to their individual operations or individual strikes.  But we do know in our conversations with them that they do take Law of War into account and that they do take this into consideration into their operational planning.

But again as far as individual operations go I'd refer you to them.


Q:  General thanks.  We talked a couple of days ago about how the Department views the attacks on the positions in Iraq and Syria as separate from what's ongoing in and around Gaza.  But so much of the accounting mean these attacks have been going on for years.  But so much of the recent bump in accounting starts October 17th when the hospital bombing played out and the accusations against Israel and then the assessment that came afterwards showing it came from within Gaza.

Does the Department assess that that hospital bombing had anything to do with inspiring more attacks against American positions?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  I can't necessarily corroborate or connect dots between why one terrorist organization would do one thing versus another.

I think that we are all sensitive to the fact that there are tensions in the region.  And as I mentioned earlier a major focus for the Department of Defense is to deter a broader regional conflict.  And so you will -- you are seeing and we probably will continue to see groups that may try to exploit the situation to benefit their own interests, to include Iranian proxy groups.

And so our point in all of this is our Forces that are in Iraq and Syria are there for one reason only, and that's the enduring defeat of ISIS.  And that's what they will continue to stay focused on.

But if those forces are threatened, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action at a time and place of our choosing ,to protect those forces.  And so again within the context, the broader strategic context of everything that's happening in the Middle East ,and the broader region, we will make those decisions very deliberately, very thoughtfully, again with the broader objectives in mind of protecting our Forces, and making sure that this does not spin out of control into a broader regional conflict.

Q:  Do you see it more as maybe perhaps some of these groups acting in isolation or using situation in and around Gaza as leverage or as justification or just as a broader threat environment to conduct these attacks?

GEN. RYDER:  That's correct.  And we've known for a long time that one of Iran's broader strategic goals is you know, forcing the United States out of the region.  And they've employed these proxy groups through multiple means in the past to do this, right.

So they want us out of Iraq.  They want us out of Syria because it doesn't suit their interests.  And we're still there.  And oh by the way we're there at the invitation of the government of Iraq, to help their security forces.

And oh by the way it wasn't that long ago although I guess it is you know, relative, that ISIS was 24km outside of Baghdad.  And so no one wants to see those days come back.  So we're going to continue to make sure that doesn't happen.

In the meantime, though if those forces are threatened, track record proves, we will take deliberate, decisive action, to protect those Forces.

Fadi.  Yes?

Q:  On a different issue, the Journal has a report that the Wagner Group may supply Air Defense to Hezbollah.  I was wondering if you had a reading on that and any sense of how Russia's interest in the region may have evolved over the past month?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  I've seen those reports.  I don't have anything specifically on it.  If true.  Very concerning.  You know, what we have seen here is Russia not condemn the attacks by Hamas, which you know, again I think is true to brand here in terms of the kinds of activity we see them doing in Ukraine.  But that's something that we'll continue to monitor but don't have any specific information on that, Fadi.

Q:  I have two questions.  One on Gaza and one on Yemen.  I want to start with Yemen.  I saw the readout from the meeting between the Secretary and the Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia.  Has there been any discussion and request by the U.S. for the Saudis intercept missiles, potential missiles and drones, out of Yemen, as part of the Integrated Missile Defense in the region?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  Thanks, Fadi.  So in terms of their discussion, it was very good discussion.  You saw on the readout we talked about our mutual cooperation and defense efforts.

I don't have anything specifically to talk about beyond that readout other than to say you know, that the United States will work very closely with partners in the region to ensure that we can continue to preserve security and stability throughout the region.

Q:  And on Gaza you maintain that the Israelis are following your advice.  They're adhering to the Laws of War and International Law but you don't want to discuss any specific incidents or attacks.  However, you're not going to be able to maintain this especially when you have stark examples like the strike on Jabalia refugee camp, the biggest in in Gaza.  Israel admitted it took that decision knowing that there's going to be civilians but went after Hamas leader according to their own statements on TV.

So how can you maintain they are following the Laws of War and International Humanitarian Law when they're admitting something like this?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  What I said Fadi is that we're having conversations with them about the importance of taking the Law of War into account and that in our discussions with them we believe that they are taking it into account.

But again I'm not going to get into individual specific strikes, individual specific actions.  And look, as we've discussed before and as it relates particularly to what we're seeing on TV in the in Gaza, you know, it's heartbreaking that any civilian, any innocent civilian is being killed, again whether it's Palestinian, whether it's Israeli, whether it's anyone from any nation.

And so while I'm not going to comment on specific individual strikes you know, it's not my intent to provide an operational briefing from up here.  Let me just talk a little bit about what I do know.

You know, as we talked about a little bit earlier, we know that Hamas is integrating its operations whether its command and control, operational centers, combat forces, putting rockets in Gaza ,to include this complex and sprawling tunnel network underneath infrastructure throughout Gaza, in effect again using civilians as human shields .

We know that Israel has an inherent right to defend itself.  They were brutally attacked on the 7th of October; 1,400 people killed, over 200 hostages, not only Israelis but citizens from around the world, that are being kept and used again as bargaining chips.

And, oh by the way, Hamas has said repeatedly that they will continue to do these type of October 7th attacks until Israel is eliminated.

And so as I mentioned there's no question that the complexity of the challenge that is confronting the Israeli forces as they conduct operations in this urban environment.  We also expect Israel to take into account the Laws of War as they plan and conduct their operations.  And we want them to distinguish between terrorists and civilians.  And so we'll continue to have those conversations.  But at the end of the day this is their operation.  This is their effort to protect their citizens.

Q:  A follow up. 

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.

Q:  Thank you for the answer.

I expect you y don't want to discuss like specific incident from the podium.  Are you raising specific incidents with your counterparts in Israel like the Jabalia strike?

GEN. RYDER:  Look Fadi, we are again -- the Secretary and other DOD officials are daily having conversations with our Israeli counterparts about the situation in Israel.  And again the importance of protecting innocent lives and taking Palestinians and others into account as they conduct their operations.

And again you know, look I know I'm probably belaboring the point here but we truly want a scenario here where both innocent Palestinians, and innocent Israelis, can live together peacefully, securely.  And as I mentioned on Tuesday you know, unfortunately the common denominator here is Hamas which is putting both of these peoples in a very challenging and unfortunate situation.

So for our part we will continue to work very hard not only to support Israel but also to ensure that Gazans are able to get humanitarian assistance and the support they need.  Thank you.  OK.


Q:  I had a couple of questions just seeking clarification.  Earlier in this briefing you said that you -- the U.S. have made clear to the Israelis that that any support must be consistent with International Law.  Who would then the U.S. government determines whether the Israelis are applying International Law appropriately?

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So Nancy I'm you know, I'm not a lawyer.  Again we'll continue to have those conversations.  I'm not again not in a position right now to talk about individual actions, activities, or assess and provide a play by play assessment of Israeli operations.

Again we are where we are at this point in time and I'll just leave it at that.

Q:  I appreciate that.  I'm not looking for incident by incident.  I'm looking for bureaucratically how do those assessments happen? Is there a way to consider taking that question so that we can understand the process by which the U.S. makes its determinations?

GEN. RYDER:  In terms of which aspect?

Q:  The U.S. if I heard you correctly US support is with the expectation that the Israelis abide by the International Law rules around the conduct of war.  Who decides whether the Israelis are indeed applying those laws or if they are in violation of them within the U.S. government?

I'm not looking for any specific case.  I'm just...


Q:  ... trying to understand process wise how that determination is made.

GEN. RYDER:  Yes.  So you know, without necessarily getting into hypotheticals, certainly there is an interagency process by which we evaluate the use of U.S. assistance by any of our partners.

And again, recognizing the complex nature of the situation on the ground in Gaza right now, and what the Israelis are confronting in terms of an adversary whose stated objective is to eliminate Israel as a state.

And oh by the way you know, the Laws of War that do highlight that if a nonmilitary facility is now employed by military forces it does become a legitimate target.  And so again you know, there will be constant discussions.

I think again the focus right now is on ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend its people, while at the same time ensuring that we can continue to make sure that innocent civilians in Gaza can get the aid that they need so.

Q:  OK.  And then the Secretary hasn't been in this briefing room doing a press conference with the Chairman since January of 2022 in terms of answering broad questions.  Given that the U.S. has now deployed 1,200 troops approximately, sent Air Defenses, sent two Aircraft Carrier Groups into the region, can we expect to hear from him directly? Does he feel that he has a responsibility to talk to the American people directly and answer questions directly given the seriousness of the situation that we're in?

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah.  He does.  And as you know, he does engage the media on multiple occasions especially when we're on travel.

I know that right now, you know, we've got a -- you know, whether it's the Ukraine Defense Contact Groups, when we're overseas in India, Korea, and Indonesia, he will be conducting press engagements there as well.  

And so again, the Secretary fully understands the importance of making sure that the American public understands what the Department is doing, and we'll continue to endeavor to make sure that information's there.

Q:  I have participated in those and I appreciate them but they tend to be limited, the number of questions and sometimes on topic and almost two years is a pretty long period for a Secretary of Defense and the Chairman to not come to this room and answer questions on a wide variety of topics more than a handful of the time.  

So I just make the plea that given the news events, the level of U.S. involvement, that he treat this as an opportunity to engage with the press.

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah.  Thanks for that, Nancy, appreciate it.


Q:  I was wondering if you could say, broadly speaking, does the U.S. think Israel has been effective in targeting Hamas in Gaza?  And does the U.S. believe the campaign has significantly degraded Hamas?

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah, thanks, Oren.  So it'd really be inappropriate for me to provide a battle damage assessment from the podium.  This is an Israeli operation.  I'd refer you to them to talk about that.  And again, we know that they have a tough task at hand, which is fighting an enemy that has sworn to defeat them and destroy the state of Israel.  And so -- and we do know that they are actively going after Hamas leaders, but again, I'd refer you to them to talk about that.

Q:  And then just one more very quick one -- the U.S. has or is about to have two carriers in the Eastern Med.  Will a media embark be allowed?  If not, why not?

GEN. RYDER:  Oren, look, we fully understand the request.  We will take it under advisement, and if an opportunity presents itself, we'll certainly make that available.  Thank you very much.

Time for a few more.  We'll go to Ashley and then we'll go to the phone.

Q:  I wanted to ask about the weapons deliveries to Israel.  Have any constraints been placed on how they use the weapons?

GEN. RYDER:  Look, you know, beyond, broadly speaking, what I've talked about, we are not putting constraints on Israel, in terms of how they conduct their operations.  They are a professional military, well trained, well led.  And so I'll just leave it at that.

Q:  And then I also wanted to ask -- the Treasury Department unveiled, like, 130 new sanctions placed on entities and people related to Russia and the defense industry base.  Could you broadly speak of observations of the defense industry base there right now and what you're seeing, their ability to regenerate, to get new equipment, whether it's, like, pulling from Turkey, the UAE, or other countries or just internal?

GEN. RYDER:  Sure.  I mean, broadly speaking, the energizing of the defense industrial base has been a key priority for Secretary Austin, particularly coming out of COVID but most importantly as we continue to look to support Ukraine and now Israel, as well as our other commitments internationally.

And so our acquisitions and sustainment team has been very, very active in terms of meeting with our international allies and partners.  Most notably, the national armaments directors have met pretty much every single month following the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to look at ways that we can capitalize on one another's industrial bases to ramp up production of key requirements as it relates not only to supporting our partners like Ukraine but also replenishing our own stocks.  

And so that will continue to be a an area of significant focus but we're confident that we will be able to meet all of those needs.  Thank you very much.

OK, sir?

Q:  Thank you, General.

GEN. RYDER:  And then I'm going to go to the phone.  Sorry.

Q:  Just a follow-up on the answer you gave to Nancy's latter question.  When you said that the determination about whether international law and the rules of war are being followed is an interagency process -- so there are -- there is no -- it sounds like what you're saying is no outside agency ... 

GEN. RYDER:  No, what she asked -- what I thought I heard was how do we 
within the U.S. government, how would we conceivably make a determination like that, right?  So my response was, as part of an interagency process and review, that could conceivably be a question that's answered.

I'm not going to speak for any independent group or folks outside of the U.S. government.  They may come to their own conclusions.

Q:  Well -- right.  And so I guess my question is would those conclusions be -- play any role in the U.S. government's determination?

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah, so I -- again, I appreciate the question.  I just don't want to get into hypothetical scenarios right now, OK?

I'll come to you, Mike.  Let me go to Jeff, Task & Purpose.

Q:  Thank you.  The recent airstrikes in Syria were meant to deter attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.  Given that there have been more attacks since then, is it accurate to say that in a strategic sense the airstrikes failed?

GEN. RYDER:  So first of all, again, Jeff, we will continue to do whatever we need to do to protect our troops.  I'm not going to get into telegraphing how and when and if we may respond, other than to say, you know, again, we would do so at a time and place of our choosing.

And if you're, you know, these Iranian proxy groups, which have been endeavoring to try to expel the United States from the region, you know, then you failed.  And so -- and then, you know, more broadly speaking, again, our broader, more strategic focus here is, again, preventing a wider conflict.  Thank you.


Q:  Yeah, I want to get back to General Glenn.  I want to confirm -- he was there to provide his experience or not, you know, answer help to Israel because of his experience over the broad -- in the breadth of urban warfare, how to apply fire maneuver in that kind of environment ... 

GEN. RYDER:  Correct.

Q: He wasn’t there to get them to follow the rules ... 

GEN. RYDER:  No.  Look -- so if you're Israel on October 8th, you find yourself in a very dire situation, where a significant number of your civilians have just been executed by Hamas and 200 hostages lying before you is -- oh, by the way, where did these terrorists come from?  Out of Gaza.

So as you contemplate having to go into Gaza, having someone, you know -- and again, we have a longstanding relationship with Israel -- exercises, you know, sharing of information.  

So it's -- that, in and of itself, is not unusual, but by being able to say "hey, here's a guy on our team that has a deep understanding of how to do these kinds of operations, and so as you contemplate doing it, recognizing that it's going to be a tough fight but also recognizing that we learned a lot on what these operations entail and how to do them successfully, to include things like accounting for civilians, which you have to take as a strategic aspect in conducting these things there is no such thing as conducting these in isolation.  So we want you to have the benefit of that expertise."  

He provides, you know -- be able to ask those tough questions as they -- you know, kind of the Socratic method, and then, you know, that was always intended to be temporary, and so he's home.

Q:  How was his mission there received by Israel?  Does the Pentagon think it was well received by them, that they ... 

GEN. RYDER:  Yeah, I mean, I don't want to -- I don't want to speak for Israel.  I will just say, largely -- broadly speaking, rather, I think Israel has been very appreciative across the board of the support that the United States has provided, and particularly how quickly we came to their aid in the wake of these terrorist attacks.

Q:  And now that Israel is actually moving into Gaza City, now does the U.S. still have these urban warfare subject matter experts there?

GEN. RYDER:  No, they have departed.  

Q:  They've all departed.  

GEN. RYDER:  They've all departed.  

OK.  We'll go to Liam and then we'll do one more.  

Q:  Thanks, General.  This is a quick one on the Jabalia strike.  After that happened, the Israeli government said they were targeting a Hamas commander who was hiding out there.  Hamas has said there was no such commander.  Does the DoD know whether which side is true there?  

GEN. RYDER:  So I don't have the any intelligence to pass along.  I'm not going to get into intelligence.  Again, we know that Israel is going after the leadership and the forces of Hamas.  And I'll just leave it at that, OK?  Thank you.  

Yes, sir.  And then I'll come to you, Tony and then you'll be the last question.  

Q:  Two questions, please.  One, as far as the secretary of defense and secretary of state’s visit to India's is concerned and as far as AI. When Prime Minister Modi was here in the White House in June, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi both discussed AI in detail, even a t-shirt was presented to Prime Minister Modi by President Biden.  My question is, now in the middle of two wars, Russia's war against Israel -- I mean, against Ukraine, sorry, and Israel's war against Hamas, the terrorist organization, they set a meeting for 2:2 in India.  So you think AI and this war -- these wars will be discussed there?  And what would we expect as for AI concern for common people?  

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, sure.  So as it relates to the secretary's meetings in India, we'll certainly have much more to say in the days ahead.  Broadly speaking, you know, it will be focused on looking and exploring areas where our two countries can continue to work together to further bolster security in the region and capitalize on the unique aspects that both of our nations can bring together, toward that end in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.  

As it relates to AI, I don't have anything to pass along but, again, much more to follow.  

Q:  Another question, thank you.  Indian-American communities are protesting that Qatar, who has no human rights, no freedom of press and all that, they have falsely accused, without any charges or without any hearings, because of aid, weapons, threatened Indian Navy people straight to death penalties because of India's support for Israel, and condemning Hamas.  What do you think about what about this model of law and these are eight veteran navy Indian officials in...

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, I appreciate the question.  It'd really be inappropriate for me to get into domestic affairs in India, so I'd refer you to the government of India.  

All right, last question, Tony ?

Q:  Thanks.  You announced 300 additional U.S. troops going to the region, are any other prepared to deploy or is being converted to deploy orders?  

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, I don't have anything new to announce in -- in regards to deployments at this time, sorry.

Q:  Israel-Hamas supplemental question.  Buried in the $108 billion supplemental is $3.4 billion for the U.S. industrial base, submarine industrial base tied to AUKUS.  There is a submarine industrial base report that the Pentagon will not give to members of Congress, they've classified it or CUI'd it or whatever.  Do you have anything on why they can't -- DoD cannot give the report to Congress and release an unclassified summary given you're asking for $3.4 billion in the U.S. industrial base?  

GEN. RYDER:  Yes, thanks, Tony.  I don't have any information on that.  I will take that question and we'll get back to you, yes.  

Q:  ... in terms of why it's either secret or CUI'd ? What plans do you have to send it up to the Hill and disseminate it publicly given the amount of money you're asking for?  

GEN. RYDER:  OK, yes, I just don't know, so I'll take that.  

All right.  Thank you very much, everyone, appreciate it.