Transcript

Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Hoffman Updates Reporters on DOD Operations

April 24, 2020
Jonathan Rath Hoffman, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JONATHAN RATH HOFFMAN: All right, good morning, everybody. Thanks for being here today, and thank you for those of you who are calling in over the phone from -- from home or whatever your quarantine location is.

I want to start by giving just a brief update on some of our latest efforts in the fight against COVID-19. As you know, we saw personnel currently deployed in hospitals in New York City, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles and other cities.

After more than three weeks, the USNS Comfort will be leaving New York City, although I do not have an update date of departure for you today. This is a sure sign of modest progress in mitigating the virus in the nation's hardest hit city, and is a welcome sign.

While in New York City and other locations, local officials indicate that the rate of infections and hospitalizations is declining, we are aware that there are other cities where that is not the case. Therefore, NORTHCOM is still taking action to ensure that DOD personnel and resources are deployed in the proper locations to do the most good. As of today, we have more than 60,000 personnel deployed nationwide, including 4,400 medical professionals on the front lines.

Although we're still on the front lines of the current coronavirus fight, we are also looking into the future. Your military continues to train, sail, fight, and fly around the globe. But like many Americans, we're eager to fully resume normal operations and are putting plans in place for that transition.

To reach that normal operational status, we will be evaluating many different areas. One, is training, which you've heard a good bit about in the last week or so. How are we protecting our trainees and how are we keeping the pipeline full, so we're continuing to look at that, and continuing to adopt and adapt so that we can pursue full training classes in the future.

Secondly, we're looking at the stop movement order, and when that will be lifted. Right now, it has been extended until June 30th. But once it is lifted -- and the secretaries are re-evaluating that every 15 days -- how are we going to deal with the backlog of individuals that need to move throughout the world. It's a complex issue, TRANSCOM has the lead on it but it's something we're looking at.

With our strategic forces, looking at how we're going to continue to protect those forces. I think we've seen some -- some great leadership from STRATCOM on this topic, of keeping those forces protected and able to operate. But we're going to take lessons learned from this, in how we operate those forces, going forward.

You've heard a lot about testing. We're continuing to develop our testing capabilities and pursue lab trials and -- and clinical vaccines. We're going to be doing that for -- for months and months, going forward, as we ensure that we have the capability and we have the capacity and the stockpiles needed for -- for testing our forces.

Next, Ellen Lord is taking a hard look at our industrial base. So we're taking a look at how those industrial base companies, how their suppliers are operating, how to ensure that in any type of pandemic or any type of crisis, global crisis, our vendors, our contractors, our suppliers are still able to provide equipment.

And then, secondly, we're looking at how do we help our vendors for some of these crucial pandemic products, the PPE, how they're able to develop their capacity and grow that capacity, and how we can help them with that.

As I mentioned, our stockpiles, we're looking at what our stockpiles need to be. So we've -- we came into this crisis with a healthy defense pandemic stockpile in place. We've used a good deal of that in giving part of that stockpile to HHS and FEMA to pass on to the states that need it, 20 million masks and additional PPE, ventilators.

We're looking at what do we need to do to not only rebuild that stockpile to where we have sufficient supplies for our own use, but where our stockpile needs to be for a future pandemic or future crisis for the department, and then additionally, just ensuring that we have the capability and that our vendors and suppliers can provide that.

And then last, we're looking at allies and partners. So what we can do to be helping our allies and partners around the world as they're dealing with this crisis and as we ramp up our production of PPE, as we ramp up our ability to assist, how can we be the best partner we can be for allies and partners around the world.

So next, I know -- I know everyone will ask. So later today, Secretary Esper will meet with the chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gilday, to discuss the results of the vice chief of Naval Operations Admiral Burke's investigation into the circumstances surrounding the COVID outbreak on the Teddy Roosevelt.

I spoke with the secretary about this yesterday, and his position remains the same. He's going into this with an open mind, and he is generally inclined to support Navy leadership in their decisions, but he will go into it with an open mind and we will -- once he's briefed, we will see where that takes us.

I expect that after the briefing takes place, that we will be able to get you guys an update on what the investigation's conclusions were. But right now we are focused, continue to be focused on getting the T.R. crew back to good health and back out to sea.

So with that, I will -- I'll take questions.

We'll start here, start on the phone. I think we got Bob?

Q: Yes, thank you. Good morning, Bob Burns here. On that meeting between Secretary Esper and Admiral Gilday, did you say -- did I hear you say it's this afternoon?

And also you mentioned the Comfort leaving New York. Is it going to return to Norfolk or is it going to do another coronavirus-related mission?

MR. HOFFMAN: So on the meeting, right now, I think I said it's later today. I don't -- I don't have a time to share, but it will be later today. So as soon as that concludes and I have some guidance from -- from the secretary and from the Navy, we will -- we will try to get you guys some more information.

On the -- on the Comfort, we -- we expect the comfort will be heading back to -- to Norfolk, where it will go through kind of the normal post-deployment cycle, where we will restock it, it will be just prepared for the next deployment.

We have said, from the start, when General Friedrichs and I were up here, you know, it seems like months ago, talking about this. And with the Comfort and the Mercy both, we wanted to be very careful with our deployment of those assets because we wanted to ensure that they are mobile, they can be used somewhere else.

So our goal all along has been to use them in New York as needed, and then when the need no longer exists, to prepare them to move to the next location.

We'll be looking to FEMA to identify where that next location is. They are the -- the federal government's lead on this, and so they're the ones who will be tasking us with where they believe a 1,000-bed hospital ship with over a thousand medical providers is most needed on the East Coast or Gulf Coast. So we'll be looking to them for that, but we'll have an update on the timing of that in the coming days.

Q: Sorry, just a quick follow-up there. So did you say it is returning to Norfolk, but it also is going to do another mission?

MR. HOFFMAN: We're going to look to FEMA on that. We're going to return it to Norfolk and prepare it for another mission, but that will be FEMA's call. So you know, one of the -- one the great benefits of the -- of the Comfort is that it is -- it is at sea and that's mobile, and we can take it to a -- a port city and set up shop. One of the drawbacks is that it's -- it -- it needs to be on the water, so that limits the number of -- of cities that it can be deployed to. So if there's a -- you know, if there's an outbreak in Kansas City, probably not going to Kansas City. So -- but we'll -- so we'll look to FEMA as to where -- where it's going to go and for guidance on whether that -- that -- that -- there's that demand signal for us to send it.

Because if we look back to the Comfort and the Mercy, there was a very strong demand signal from the governors and mayors about having those assets be deployed. And then as we saw them deployed you saw the -- the use of them change from a initial trauma hospital to help take some of the weight off of the local hospitals, to a -- a low-acuity COVID hospital, to basically the front-line hospital for COVID patients, or one of the front-line hospitals for COVID patients.

Fortunately, we saw that the demand over time diminished, and therefore, we're able to see the -- the governor and the mayor have indicated that they no longer believe that they need that resource, and we appreciate them returning it to our -- our stockpile so that we can -- we can look to use it elsewhere.

All right? I'll go to -- go to the room.

Q: So as you guys start to test more and more troops who are asymptomatic, who is going to be tracking that at the point of the test, and how are you going to release that information so we have a better view of who's symptomatic and who's not symptomatic in these numbers we're getting?

MR. HOFFMAN: So that's going to be a DHS, is -- sorry. D -- DHA is going to have the lead on -- on our testing efforts, and so we've been building out the program. They'll be working with the services, obviously, as the -- the owners for some of the military personnel in -- in tracking that -- that information. And so part of this is -- is learning about who -- who has the virus so that we can, obviously, protect the force, and part of it is taking efforts to -- to, you know, conduct science and learn more about the virus itself.

So as the secretary said up here before, what we've learned from the T.R. is very informative, the number -- the high number of asymptomatic cases, and so we'll continue to see that as we go -- go forward. But the goal right now on our testing is we want to get that -- those tier one. Obviously, tiers are people who show symptoms, people who may have been exposed. We're going to test them as quickly as we can. But we want to get to a place where we can test our tier one, tier two and tier three assets. So those are the -- the strategic ones. Those are our -- our -- our engaged forces overseas, and then our forward-deployed forces, and then working to a place where we have enough testing capability to test the rest of the force, as needed.

Q: And do you plan to release that spread of asymptomatic versus symptomatic so we kind of know what we're really looking at with the number?

MR. HOFFMAN: I -- I don't -- I don't think there would be -- there's a -- I haven't seen any conversation about that. I have -- but this, on the flipside. I haven't seen any conversation about not releasing that. I -- I believe that that would be information that -- we've been cooperating very closely with state, local and federal health officials on information that we glean from our testing efforts to -- as the -- the whole -- whole-of-government effort and then -- and in a show of transparency and an effort to -- to get to a solution for this. The -- the same type of transparency we're asking for other countries and other -- other governments, we're -- we're taking the lead on that, and so I expect we'll continue to do so.

Okay? All right, we'll go -- go back to the -- the phones. Lara Seligman?

Q: Hey, Jonathan. Thanks for doing this.

I'm just wondering if there's anything you can (inaudible) that the USS Kidd has a significant outbreak on board. How many sailors have it? When was this outbreak first known, and at what point does it have to return to shore to offload its sailors?

MR. HOFFMAN: So I think the Navy will have some more information on this later today. I -- I think they're -- they're going through some notification procedures right now with -- with the Hill and some others. But I -- I can confirm that there has been a -- a sailor on the USS Kidd who was -- had symptoms, was medevaced off of the ship to a hospital in San Antonio -- and, I'm sorry -- medical treatment facility in San Antonio where he was tested and was unfortunately found to be positive with COVID. As a result, the Navy has, using lessons learned from other cases, they have flowed a medical evaluation team, the specialized medical evaluation team onto the Kidd. I think it's an eight-person team that is conducting testing on the ship. There have been other -- other positive cases. I don't have the number, but I think the Navy will be able to give that information later.

They are preparing to return to port, where they will undertake efforts to clean the ship. They will remove a portion of the crew from the ship and work to get everybody back to health and get the ship back to sea. But that medical crew on the -- on the ship right now has been conducting contact tracing; has been working to isolate individuals they believe may have been exposed and -- and take measures to protect the crew.

Any follow-ups, Lara?

Q: Yeah, when -- when do you expect they will need to go -- going to port and where will they -- where will they be docking? And how long -- is there an estimate of how long that they will have to be there?

MR. HOFFMAN: No. That -- those are good questions for the Navy. I don't have the answers for -- for the -- those right now, but I -- I believe the Navy will be able to provide some more details a little bit later today. All right? Tara.

Q: Okay, thank you.

Q: I have some follow-ups. Earlier, you were talking about some of the steps the Pentagon is taking for returning to normal. We've heard various senior defense leaders this week talk about a new abnormal, and planning long-term for what impact has this virus had on the way the military operates? I was just wondering if you could provide a few examples, like for example, a number of contracts have been vet for cloth masks, like millions of cloth masks. How long do you think that the military will have to wear cloth masks? And is this really a permanent change of the way we do things?

MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah. So when I said normal, I -- I -- I think I -- I said the new normal, I think is the indication what it would be, is -- is that there are going to be changes to -- to how we operate. I -- I think what you've seen to some extent for -- for the near-term, at least, things like deployments where we're going to take an additional, maybe, time to -- to screen people on the front end or the back end; where troops are going to -- or sailors are going onto ships we're taking time to maybe quarantine them as a group prior to putting them at sea, and then test them to make sure that they're not -- they're not contagious. That -- that may -- that may continue for a little while.

I think there are probably some -- some other practices that'll happen. You know, some of the social distancing practices may exist for a little while. And in terms of, you know, maybe shaking hands with everybody you meet really isn't the most hygienic thing that people should be doing. And so you -- you may see those practices take place.

I don't have any guidance on whether masks are here to stay. I think that'll be something our medical providers will look at, as -- as I mentioned earlier, as you know, there's a lot of science going on behind this. We've got the teams up at Fort Detrick and we've got other teams that are -- that are looking into this, along with the whole of government, CDC. So we'll be looking to -- to their examples and the guidance from that whole-of-government approach and that -- that whole-of-science approach to get some guidance on what we should and shouldn't be doing, and what things are here to stay and what things we can go back to normal with.

Q: And then just a follow-up. Since the decision has been made on the Comfort, how -- are people looking at the Mercy? Will the Mercy redeploy to San Diego?

MR. HOFFMAN: So I -- with the -- with the Comfort, that was at the request of -- the governor and the mayor have indicated. So from our perspective, we look to state and locals, and we're providing the -- the resources through FEMA that are requested, and that's what we've been doing from the start of this.

And so I'm not familiar right at this point with -- with any determination by Governor Newsom or the mayor of Los Angeles that they do not believe they need the Mercy. I will say, though, that the Mercy -- some of the crew of the Mercy's actually in New York right now and they have been helping in New York in hospitals there, as well -- I think they've been actually off the ship, helping in some facilities in -- in the city of Los Angeles as opposed to on the ship.

So we've kind of gone from that model we originally anticipated up, the need for beds to the need for doctors, and so we've moved the doctors to different places. So don't have a timeline on that. I would expect it -- it some point. Obviously that -- that will happen, whether that's this week or next week or in a couple of weeks. I don't know the answer to that.

Okay. All right, we'll go back to the -- back to the phone. I will call on Carla Babb.

Q: (Off mic.) Hoffman, thank you for doing this. 

I just have a quick follow on the USS Kidd. Are there concerns at the Pentagon that this could be another Teddy Roosevelt situation?

And then I will ask my actual question.

MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I will count that as an actual question, as well.

So I -- I think the -- the -- the good news is that -- that because of the fact that we have seen outbreaks on -- on some of our naval vessels in the past, there are lessons learned.

I think that there is a -- a high level of -- of attention to the issue from -- from the Navy. I think that they have procedures in place and they've activated them. So within 24 hours of the first person who is symptomatic on the ship, they had a -- a medical team on that ship doing a detailed analysis and contact tracing and testing of members of the crew. They've already put in place an effort to get the ship back to port quickly and to -- and to continue with the cleaning, isolation of members and the -- and getting crew members off that ship, if necessary.

So I -- I -- I think that there's -- the Navy has lessons learned from -- from prior experience with the -- with the COVID crisis and there are -- have been quickly applying those to this case. So keep your fingers crossed. The Navy's doing a -- a -- everything they can right now and -- and we're going to hope for the best outcome but we're going to take all of the prudent steps that they possibly can.

All right, so now to your -- your second question.

Q: Okay and -- and -- oh, thank you.

And then to my question about Chinese disinformation, we've seen a lot of repetition and regurgitation of these fake stories from China that are trying to pin the -- the origination of the virus to the U.S. military. There was something about Fort Detrick, there was something about Hawaii, there was something about Army people in Wuhan -- U.S. Army people in Wuhan.

What is the U.S. military doing now to stop this repetition of this fake news that's coming out of China and do you believe that China is taking a page out of Russia's disinformation playbook?

MR. HOFFMAN: I -- I don't know if it's -- if it's a playbook that Russia owns on its own. I -- I think the -- the Chinese have -- the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party have -- have used some of these measures in the past and -- and we've seen them.

From the Department of Defense, our -- we've been focused on -- on confronting the crisis. I think we've been very direct in calling out what we see as misinformation and our hope is that the Chinese government and the Communist Party would -- would see this as an opportunity to work with the -- work with the -- the world and to come to agreement to where sharing of information -- I think this is the information that they have shared on the genesis of -- of the virus, the initial cases, the initial positives has been lacking.

I think that's been something that not only the United States but other governments have been clear on and that that information is -- is vital to countering the COVID outbreak and information that -- that would've been helpful in a more timely manner.

So we're optimistic that they will -- will see that this is -- this has been an opportunity for them to be more transparent, that they probably need to -- to reexamine the process on that. You know, I -- the -- the -- they have had a -- a much more aggressive effort in -- in pushing propaganda and misinformation, whether it's -- it's anonymous misinformation, as we've seen from some reporting, or just their open use of -- of Twitter and Facebook by their Foreign Ministry and military personnel to -- to attack other governments, not just the U.S. but -- but countries around the world.

It's unfortunate but I think the -- that the benefit of this is that a number of other countries around the world and another -- other -- of our allies and countries that we would like to be better partners with are -- are opening their eyes up to this and that they're seeing that -- that possibly that China's promises and -- and efforts and -- are not what they're all cracked up to be and that there's -- there's a lot of misinformation out there and that people need to -- to look more closely at what China's doing.

Okay, back to the room?

Q: (Off mic.) do you have numbers on how many patients were actually -- actually treated on the hospital ships and does DOD -- because the numbers are considered relatively smaller -- they have -- not up to capacity, does DOD assess the use as a -- a good use of resources of these not -- it's not -- it's not inexpensive to use these ships?

MR. HOFFMAN: I don't have -- let's see if I have -- I don't believe I have the Comfort and Mercy numbers on me right now but I can definitely get those from NORTHCOM. You're correct, the numbers were -- you know, for a 1,000 bed hospital ship, which we -- we configured for 500 for COVID -- the numbers -- we were not at capacity, at no point were we at capacity on the Mercy or the Comfort.

I think that they -- they did treat a -- a -- a fair number of patients over the three weeks that they've been up in -- up in New York and that is of value. I think we have said all along that people have learned where this crisis was going to go. We've seen the numbers and prediction models change when social distancing took place.

And -- and if you look at a city like New York, the expectations were a far worse situation than what we've seen. Having our forces and having our people forward deployed with that capability and not needing it was far better than not having them there and needing it.

So I don't think there's been any second guessing the deployment of the Comfort or the Mercy.

All right, we'll go to the phone again. We will go talk to Courtney Kube.

All right, we'll go to Luis Martinez.

Q: Jonathan, thanks, sir, for this briefing.

I have a question about the USS Kidd. Do you know if that vessel had had any ports of call recently that -- or any other possibility as to how this may have gotten aboard the ship if it's been at sea for a couple of months...

MR. HOFFMAN: Yeah, I -- I -- I don't have that information right now. I would -- I would refer you to the Navy. I think they'll have some more information a little bit later today on this. It's a -- it's a -- it's a newly developing issue.

I'm -- I am certain that all of that will be looked at as we move forward but I don't have that -- that information for you right now, Luis.

Q: And if I could follow up on the USS Roosevelt, with the idea now that some of the -- the throwback of sailors onto the ship has been stopped because so many symptomatics are now presenting symptoms, what's -- what's the timeline now for getting that ship back and is the idea now that you have to wait until everybody is fully healthy before everyone can get back on the ship?

MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I would first start with the -- the fact that the -- the Teddy Roosevelt, if needed, could pull up anchor tomorrow and head out to sea and perform its mission.

So that is -- that's remained throughout, is that we've had a small number of symptomatic sailors that -- that required treatment. We had, unfortunately, the one loss of life for a sailor from the T.R. But a very small number have been hospitalized, I think they're now -- the news -- the latest numbers are there are four in the hospital, hopefully getting better daily. But that ship could pull up anchor and go to -- go to war right now if we needed it to.

The timeline has shifted, as we've seen some additional symptomatic patients show up or asymptomatic patients show up as positive. But that's out of caution. I mean, this is a learning environment, this is not something we've had to deal with.

I think the -- the hope from the Navy's perspective and from the department's perspective is, we would rather take a little bit more time on the front end to get to a place where we have more confidence that the crew is -- is safe, and that the virus is no longer on the ship, than be in a position, a month from now, where we're dealing with a second wave.

And so they're taking their time, they're relying on the doctors, they're relying on the testing. We've ramped up our ability to do testing in Guam so that we can get a larger number of tests done each day and each -- and rapidly. And we've seen that. We've gone through, the entire crew's been tested and we'll start to see additional people tested as we put people back on the ship.

All right, let's stay on the phone lines. Paul Hanley, AFP?

Q: Hi, Jonathan.

A couple weeks ago, the Chinese deployed their carrier Liaoning, which did in a semicircle around Taiwan. And they seem to have stepped up activities in the South China Sea confrontation with the Vietnamese, there's also more exploration for oil.

Does the Pentagon see this as taking advantage of the absence of the Roosevelt, maybe distraction by the virus, by the -- by the U.S.? And what actions are you taking with the -- is sending the USS America to the South China Sea kind of response to these?

MR. HOFFMAN: Well, I would -- I would challenge the premise of the question there a little bit.

China's been very active in the South China Sea for years, whether it is increasingly aggressive activity in international waters, or even in the littoral waters of neighboring countries, the recent ramming of a Vietnamese fishing vessel, as the Vietnamese have claimed, the building of -- of island fortresses with runways and putting -- deploying aircraft and vessels into that area.

I would -- I would argue they've had a pretty -- pretty busy schedule for some time in terms of their efforts to militarize the South China Sea. Whether they're taking advantage of -- of a crisis, a global crisis for which they were on the -- on the front end of, I won't say that. I think that they are continuing with their destabilizing activities that we have seen for -- for many years.

We were at -- in Thailand and Vietnam last fall, I think in September, and every meeting we had with our partners in the region, whether it was Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, all of the countries that were there, Japan, Korea, they all had a very similar message of, this is the type of behavior we see from China every day.

And -- and the U.S. has been working with our partners to take a lead in standing up to that behavior and ensuring that China knows that that behavior is -- is not necessary, and encouraging China to choose a different path.

The international global system that has been in place since World War II has been highly beneficial in terms of raising the -- the wealth and living standards of billions of people around the world, including hundreds and hundreds of millions of people in China. And we want to see that international order remain.

But China has continued to challenge it, they want to reorder it. But we've increasingly seen people in the region push back, and we will continue to do so.

I don't believe that the -- the fact that the T.R. is currently in port right now has really had an impact on that. We have additional vessels in the area, we've recently conducted a FONOP through the Taiwan Strait with another vessel, so I think our commitment to the region has been -- been constant, and is very visible for the Chinese government.

All right?

(CROSSTALK)

Q: ... follow up, has -- do you think that over the times the U.S. operation and representation over the South China Sea has actually had an impact on China's activities, has it expanded its operations there?

MR. HOFFMAN: So -- so your question is, have our -- have our military operations in the South China Sea changed their behavior?

Q: Yes, pretty much so.

MR. HOFFMAN: I think the operating assumption would have to be that they would likely be more aggressive in their efforts to expand their -- their geographic and naval presence in the region if we weren't there.

I also think that the other important aspect is, it's for our partners and allies in the region to see that we are committed. So whether it's an effort to deploy vessels in a direct show to the Chinese, as much as it is to let our partners and allies know that we're there to encourage them to do similar things.

And we've seen European countries and Asian countries step up on freedom of navigation operations that the U.S. has the lead on, we encourage that and we believe that that's incredibly helpful for maintaining that -- that global order that's been in existence since the end of World War II.

All right, we'll do a couple more and then I've got to go. So we'll go to -- to Ellen Milhiser?

Q: Hello.

About the personnel who have been sent to the Comfort from the Mercy, could you tell me if they're going to go back to the Mercy once the Comfort leaves New York City?

MR. HOFFMAN: So they haven't -- they haven't necessarily been sent to the Comfort, they've been sent to New York City. So -- so they've been working either -- and I can get you the exact locations, whether they've been working on the Comfort or working in the hospitals in New York. But they've been deployed in the region.

So that's one of the things we're looking at right now, as to whether those forces would stay up there or whether the demand signal is enough, the -- is lessened enough that they can return to L.A. But we -- we haven't -- I don't believe we've made a decision on that.

All right, we'll go -- last question to Travis Tritten?

Q: Hi, Jonathan. Thanks.

The administration has suggested, you know, timelines for reopening the country and the government. I'm just wondering, when do you expect some personnel will begin returning to the Pentagon building? Could that happen in mid-May? And what will that look like?

And the second part of the question, the flipside of that is the -- the teleworking. We've heard that a lot of these current telework arrangements could remain post-pandemic. Is there any more clarity now on the scope of that or the number, the personnel? Should, you know, most employees expect to be working at least part-time from home, from now on? Thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN: That -- so that's -- that's part of the planning that's taking place right now. So I know WHS, Tom Muir's been taking a look at that as well as Dana Deasy with our CIO's office, I think he briefed either late last week or this -- earlier this week on the numbers.

I think we've seen a massive increase in the number of people teleworking. I think some of our -- I think DLA had 90 percent of their people were teleworking. We have almost a million people who are teleworking around the country.

Do I expect that there will be changes? As I talked about at the beginning, I think that we're looking at a new normal, and what does that look like. And have we -- people have been advocating for telework for many years. I think that you would see that there's probably going to be -- technology-wise, we've got more resources in place, whether it's bandwidth, whether it's the equipment to do it.

So we're in a better place if we need to continue to do telework, but we're going to -- we're going to look at that. I think that there is -- the Pentagon is open for business now. We've got -- we've got reporters in here today, we've got staff that are in here, everybody's being careful about distancing.

I think we'll open it, probably, in a -- a very incremental manner, similar to the way that we started to limit activities in the building to ensure that we can maintain some of these best practices that we've seen develop over the last -- the last few months.

So we'll -- we'll work on getting you guys a briefing from Tom Muir and the team at WHS on -- on what we're going to be doing when we get to that place. I don't think we're there yet, where we made a decision on the timeline. But as we get closer, we'll get you guys a briefing.

And then I said last question, but I'm going to -- I'm going to take that back and go back to the phones for Tony Capaccio, I missed -- missed you on here, Tony.

All right. Well, I was probably going to regret letting him ask a question anyway, so I guess this works out, so.

All right, guys. Thank you for -- for coming in, have a good weekend and stay safe.