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tv   Defense Department Briefing on New Security Assistance to Ukraine  CSPAN  August 25, 2022 1:35am-2:17am EDT

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communications. >> broadband, charter has invested billions, building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunities, in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service, along with these other providers. giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> next, a news conference at the pentagon on announcing that ukraine will receive $2.9 billion in new military aid. the announcement came on the six month mark of the russian invasion as well as ukraine's independence day. this runs about 40 minutes.
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>> good afternoon. >> it is good to be back with you again. last night at president biden's direction u.s. military forces conducted precision airstrikes in eastern syria. our forces accomplished their mission of destroying several infrastructure facilities used by groups used by iran's irgc to protect u.s. personnel in syria, the targets of several recent attacks by several iranian backed militia groups including the most recent ones on august
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15. our response was proportionate and precise, designed to minimize the risk of casualties. it responded to the nature of the attacks by iran backed militia groups. that being said, we cannot accept further attacks on our personnel. this operation is a demonstration that the u.s. will not hesitate to defend itself against iranian and iran backed aggression where it occurs. now, nazmi turned to the focus of today's briefing. let me join president biden and secretary austen in underscoring our continued support for the people of ukraine as we mark their 31st year of independence. we are now six months into russia's brutal, premeditated invasion of ukraine. it is an act of aggression into undermine independence. russia's efforts have not succeeded and will not succeed. as we have made clear at every level of the administration we are committed to sustained a security assistance as ukraine defends its sovereignty and territorial ukraine --
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integrity. alongside allies and partners we will stick with ukraine over the long haul. in light of the enduring commitment the department of defense decided to provide an additional $2.98 billion in security assistance to ukraine under the ukraine security assistance initiative. this is the largest single security assistance package we have ever provided to support ukraine. in previous briefings we discussed various presidential drawdown authority practices -- packages or pda practices. usai is different because we will be procuring the systems from the private sector rather than pulling them out of our own stocks like we do with pda. this usai package underscores our commitment to supporting ukraine long term, representing multiyear investment in critical defense capabilities. the package is about building
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enduring strength for ukraine as a defense of sovereignty in the face of russian aggression. vladimir putin seems to believe russia can win the long game, outlasting the ukrainians and the international community's will to support ukraine. this usai package is a tangible demonstration this is another russian miscalculation. the capabilities are tailored to sustain ukrainian capability needs in the near to long-term and include six additional national advanced a missile systems with additional munitions for those. up to 245 thousand rounds of 155 millimeter artillery ammunition, the ammunition used for the nato standard artillery systems that have been transferred to ukraine. up to 65,000 rounds of 120 millimeter mortar ammunition. up to 24 counter artillery radars. we are also including in this package, unmanned aerial systems
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and scanned ego uis systems. we are including vampire counter unmanned aerial systems, laserguided rocket systems, and a substantial funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment so ukraine can keep the equipment they already have and the funding. delivery of this package will begin in the next several months and continue over the coming years. while many of these kid abilities are not intended to directly contribute to today's fight, they will form the backbone of a robust future ukrainian fourth capable of defending ukraine from years to come. stepping back for a moment, the u.s. has committed more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to ukraine since the beginning of the biden administration including 12.9 billion dollars in the last six months. this level of u.s. security assistance is historically unprecedented and demonstrates
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unwavering support for a free and democratic ukraine audit independence -- on its independence day. this may be our largest security package today but will not be our last. we will closely consult with ukraine on its near, mid-, and long-term capability needs. we are far from alone in this effort. as i noted in my last briefing earlier this month at least 50 countries have provided billions of dollars of additional security assistance to ukraine since russia invaded in february. these allies and partners have participated in the monthly ukraine defends contact group meetings hosted by secretary austin. our continued unified effort will help ukraine continue to be successful today and build enduring strength to ensure the ukrainian people are able to commemorate many more dependent states for years to come. with -- many more independence day days for years to come. >> one specific question, then, a broader question.
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the vampires. can you give us a sense of how far down the road that is? more detail on what they are and how far down the road that is. i think that is a fairly new system. more broadly, can you tell us how much of the package would go to training? will the u.s. expanded training? give us a picture of u.s. training for ukraine down the road into the future. >> so, the vampire system itself is a counter uis system, it's a kinetic system that uses small missiles to shoot small uaes out of the sky. we continue to train ukrainian forces on all the systems we are providing and our allies and partners are providing that they have not already been trained on. having made a transition from soviet legacy equipment to nato
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standard equipment has required more training on a rolling basis. now, as it relates to systems in this package, really, we are talking about systems that will take months to get on contract. 1, 2, three years in some instances to arrive in ukraine. we are confident we have the time to train the ukrainians on whatever systems they are not already familiar with. >> how much of the package is on training? >> d sustainment package, sorry. the piece about sustainment, i will get you the exact numbers on that after. sustainment is really about spare parts. >> how does that work with the training? >> i don't have a number but i can get you that. >> i'm with air force magazine, thank you so much. can you tell us why still no aircraft or pilot training if you are thinking medium to long-term?
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also, why not include some systems like army tactical missile systems with ranges beyond 80 kilometers. since russia is now moving their logistics and command control beyond the range of the current conditions. >> thanks. as it relates to aircraft, our current priority is making sure ukrainians can use the aircraft we currently have to generate effect in the current conflict. the last time we had a briefing here we broke news talking about the fact we had provided them some of these anti-radiation missiles. we had adapted those missiles to be able to fire off may 29. they were designed to fly off our aircraft. ukrainians in recent weeks of been using these missiles to great effect or to take out russian radar systems. so, as it relates to future
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aircraft, fourth generation aircraft, for example, even if we provided those now, they would not arrive for years. so, we are focused on what they need to support the current efforts to hold in the east and perhaps go on the counteroffensive. as it relates to the future of aircraft let me tell you where we are in the process. secretary austin has at the office of the secretary of defense to work for the joint staff and office of european command it to work on a future forces picture of the ukrainian force for the mid to long-term term. obviously, this has been a -- is done with close consultation with the ukrainians. it is, after all, their military and we are trying to be disciplined and deliberate about what kind of ukrainian force matters in the next 12, 24, 36 months. under any range of scenarios. it could be a scenario under which the war continues. it could be a scenario where the violence ebbs because there is an agreement or because it just dies down a bit.
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but, even in that instance, ukrainians will need to defend their territory and deter future aggression. we are trying to be very deliberate about what systems we think makes the most sense for ukraine to have in that context. it also matters very much, can they sustain it? can they afford it? billions of dollars of international assistance may not be something years from now or 20 years from now, these have to be systems ukraine itself can sustain. fighter aircraft remain on the table there is no final decisions made about that. as it relates to attack. i think as much of your tracking, we have providing 16 high bar systems which are precision rockets, multiple launch rocket systems. a number of allies have provided similar systems. the brits and the germans have provided m270 systems.
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we have provided them guided multiple launch rocket systems with a range of around 70 or 80 kilometers. we have provided them with hundreds and hundreds of these precision guided systems. ukrainians have been using the m to extraordinary effect on the battlefield. the most relevant munitions are these. we have prioritized getting the ukrainians the guided multiple launch rocket systems to hold in the east and generate momentum elsewhere in the country. they don't currently require attack comes. we will have conversations with the ukrainians about their needs. but it is our adjustments -- evaluation of the moment we should be focused on guided multiple launch rocket systems. >> you mentioned laser rocket
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systems. can you say how many and how long they are supposed to last? how long will it take for them to receive them? and for how long? >> yeah. so, you are asking about the rocket systems in particular, correct? let me make sure i have all the information for you. the laserguided rocket systems provided in this round of funding will basically complement the systems that the ukrainians already have been provided in previous security assistance packages. these specific rocket systems have a range of about eight kilometers and can be used basically to target personnel carriers and unmanned systems.
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in terms of delivery some of the systems and rounds will probably be provided in the next nine months and additional systems could take a year or two. >> there are no guided multiple launch rocket systems there? >> know because we have been focused on providing them through the pda package. about every pda package we have provided a steady stream of gmlrs, hundreds at a time. the ukrainian stocks are good now and we will continue to provide those. pda is something we can draw on to make it not immediately available but usually in days or weeks where usii is typically months or years. let's go to the phone lines. >> dr., can you give us a little more clarity on the timeline.
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there have been some delays in the past with contracting equipment for delivery to ukraine. can you be more specific on the timeline? thank you. >> is there a particular system you are interested in? the timelines are all different. >> let me rephrase. has the pentagon experienced any difficulty in contracting in the past for these kind of weapons and if so, has that been factored in to the timeline? >> the short answer is we are eager to get the ukrainian systems as quickly as the process will allow. it takes sometimes months to get these systems on contract. that has been the case. in each case we will endeavor to get the contracts filled out as quickly as possible and get stuff on the road. but we have to manage expectations. the package of capabilities here is really aimed at getting ukrainians what they will need
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in the medium to long-term. it's not relevant to the fight today, tomorrow, next week. it is relevant to the ability of ukraine to defend itself and to deter further aggression a year from now, two years from now. this is extraordinarily important because at least as we can discern. vladimir putin has not given up on his overall strategic objective of seizing most of ukraine, toppling the regime, reclaiming ukraine as part of a new russian empire. what he has done is lengthen his timeline in recognition that he is out planned. as a consequence, his theory of victory as he can wake everybody out. he can wait the ukrainians out because they will be exhausted. he can wait us out because we will turn our attention elsewhere. he can wait the europeans not because of high energy prices or whatever. so, packages like this are extraordinarily important in directly challenging putin's
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theory that we are not in it for the long haul, that we are not supporting ukraine for the long haul. the other value in using usai money is when we take things out of our own stocks, we are taking things out of our own stocks and output certain constraints on what can we put out on what timeline. when we use usai we are buying things on contract and the private sector can produce these things. >> >> we will go to tara than anthony. >> thank you. does the board of assessment know there is an announcement of multiyear the u.s. will continue to provide arms in the long term? is this the biggest acuity systems package provided in any conflict individually?
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i realize this might take some time to put in context. >> it is historically unusual. whether it is unprecedented in its sheer size we will have to get back to you. it may not be an apples to apples comparison in terms of types of things. usai is not limited to foreign military funding, for example. so we will get back to you on whether it is the biggest of all time. it is the sheer amount that is historically unprecedented as far as we can tell. we are now north of $13 billion with this. $12.9 billion just since the invasion kicked off in february. in terms of, essentially, does this package represent some assessment about the endgame, the shortest answer is, no.
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obviously, it's important for us that ukraine survives and endures as a democratic, independent, sovereign country with territorial integrity. it's important to us that russia pays the cost in excess of benefits so they don't do it again and other aggressors take that lesson. it is important to us that vladimir putin's objective of weakening the west and fracturing nato is turned on its head and nato emerges stronger and the free world emerges stronger. i think we are on track to achieve all three of those objectives. sovereignty for ukraine, that endures, pressure that has more cost then benefits, and a west that is stronger than when this started. this type of package does not presume any particular outcome of the conflict. if the war continues, for years,
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the package is relevant. if there is a cease-fire or a peace settlement, the package is still relevant because ukraine will need the ability to defend itself and deter future aggression. under any scenario, or all the ones in between, we think the package is relevant. >> we will go to nancy's and the phone lines. >> earlier you talked about reports of additional u.s. strikes in syria. can you give us any additional information about that? you also had questions about training. how much of this was dedicated to training. you said you could not give us a number. can you give us a sense of how many people will be trained and over what time frame? you talked about an investment in ukraine's military medium to long-term, i think three years. is it your assessment is that in those three years ukraine will be fully integrated into the nato weapons system? do you anticipate they will no
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longer need soviet weapons systems? can you give a picture of what you envision the ukrainian military looking like at the end of this? >> on the syria strikes we are tracking the same reports you are that there have been -- has been an exchange in syria. i don't have details to provide you. when we have more, we will give you more. as a general matter we will not hesitate to defend ourselves and we have communicated this. both in the actions we took last night, the nature of those actions, and also, what we have communicated to the iranians. we will not tolerate attacks by iran back forces on our forces anywhere in the world including in syria and we will not pay to protect ourselves and take additional measures as appropriate. in this particular case, our response was, i think, extraordinarily carefully calibrated. it was meant to be proportional to the attacks that the iran
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backed groups carried out august 15. it was very precise. we essentially scoped out 11 bunker targets on this site. we ended up prosecuting nine of them. shortly before the strike there was new evidence that there might be individuals near two of the other bunkers, so we held off striking those out of an abundance of caution because our goal was not to produce casualties in this instance. but we will continue to respond if our people are attacked. as it relates to the initial report, we will tell you more when we know more. as it relates to the training numbers, i don't have specific numbers in front of me. nancy will get back to you with whatever details you need for your story on that. at three years, will the ukrainians be done transitioning to nato standard equipment? my sense is they will still have some aspects. for example they have hundreds and hundreds of 152 metta meter -- millimeter artillery systems
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and considerable industrial capacity. it is conceivable that years from now they could still be using those systems produced using munitions they themselves produced. i would anticipate in the timeframe we are talking about here that ukraine will gradually transition to nato standard equipment. you are already seeing that in the tradition to the interval seven howitzers and other systems like the french sees our systems. some of the uis systems. something that will be important as we think through this alongside ukraine in the coming years, what does the future fourth of ukraine look like that is sustainable? -- force of ukraine look like that is sustainable? the reality is that the six months of this war it has been all hands on deck with security assistance for more than 60 countries.
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that means dozens of systems. ideally the ukrainian military and in the future will not be rooted in dozens of systems, it will be a much smaller number of systems that are easier to sustain and maintain at all of that. let's see what the future holds. just know, we are focused here on helping ukraine plan a rational force of the future. i would anticipate a lot of that will include nato standard equipment. >> does go to the phone line. we have the polish press agency. >> thank you. a couple questions. just to clarify, if europeans were not providing military because you think they don't need them, for example, jake sullivan set a couple weeks ago
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that just providing could lead to world war iii. is that not a consideration? you talked about the long-term and medium. the security of ukraine but also translators in the region, will you keep forces for a longer haul? thank you. >> oscar, we were having a little trouble hearing you here. there were some echoes. hopefully i can answer your question. i will tell you our primary consideration is our judgment about what is most useful and
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efficient for what ukrainians need to hold in the east and generate momentum elsewhere in the country. we consulted closely with ukrainians about the types of targets they needed to be able to prosecute inside ukrainian territory. the vast majority of those were ranger bowl --rangeable gmlrs using -- rangeable using gmlrs as opposed to two atacms. it has had an extraordinary effect. as reporting have suggested, this is not an average rocket. this is the equivalent of a 200 pound precision guided airstrike launched off the back of a truck. ukrainians have been using this for precision strikes against command and control facilities,
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logistical nodes, other sustainment facilities and it has had the effect, we believe of a frustrating russia's advances in the east. i think the russians have really slowed down in the east. it has held russian assets elsewhere in the country and complicated russia's planning. it is our assessment that the gmlrs are the most important thing to continue emphasizing and there is a steady flow of those going to ukraine. obviously, part of the package is to signal long-term commitment to ukraine. what about the long-term commitment to the region? i would assume, to include poland and other countries on the eastern flank. as you saw from the most recent madrid setting, our posture is more robust is that it was before the crisis. you know, before the crisis we had between 70000 and 80,000 forces in the alr. we now have -- aor.
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we now have 100,000 in the aor. we had two combat teams. we now have four. one will be headquartered in poland. one will be in romania. they will be available to do exercises and reinforce the eastern flank whether that be poland in the baltic states or romania, bulgaria, hungary, slovakia, etc.. we have put additional ddgs flying into spain. those are naval assets. we will be putting f-35's in the u.k. and there are other movements as well. one of the things we have demonstrated through the crisis is the investments we have made in improving our forward posture in infrastructure after the 2014 illegal annexation of crimea and the beginning of the violence in the donbass, a lot of that work has paid off.
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what it allowed us to do early in the crisis was nimbly move around forces that may have been further back. they were able to flow forward quickly. the infrastructure was there. pre-positioned equipment was there. it is important even as we look at the eastern flank to not only look at the capabilities resident every day in those countries, but the ability of the u.s. and nato to surge forces forward. one of the things we came out of the madrid summit with was commitment not just by the u.s. but other countries like germany, the u.k., canada, etc. was to put in place commitments to and restructure to rapidly surge forward into the eastern flank. i think that a signaling long-term commitment not just from the u.s., but the rest of nato to security in the used. >> we have time for a couple more. >> you just mentioned that the
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u.s. communicated with the iranians that we will not tolerate any attacks on u.s. troops. was it that made it through direct channels to around -- iran? and in ukraine, funding for training. since we are talking long-term is it only training on equipment or does it involve other things like tactical, fighting? since this is a long-term commitment, you are not presuming any outcome. however, often times, wars in with political settlements. a huge security system like this at the end of the day amtrak's political calculus. why don't you factor -- impacts political calculus. why don't you factor in having an impact on russia's willingness to be engaged in political dialogue to end this war? >> i think we are in the same place as your question suggested. i have made clear a bunch of times that the reason for the
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commitment is to challenge vladimir putin's theory of victory that he can outlast everybody. packages like this signal we are not just providing assistance now, but it will be steady assessment -- assistance over months and years. that is challenging vladimir putin's miscalculation, we believe that he can just grind it out and wait it out. it is a supposed impact is calculus. we are also largely, through our pda packages, trying to affect calculus in the nearer term by enabling ukrainians to defend the territory they have and push back when they can so win and if negotiations start, they have the best hand at the table. we are very mindful of that as well. the point i was making is that the usai package matters no matter what world we end up in. we hope the usai package hopes to send a particular signal to putin that he cannot wait everybody out of that hopefully incentivizes pressure to stop
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fighting and get down to negotiations. but if it does not end the fighting continues, then, assistance continues to be relevant. if it does incentivize him to strike a deal, the assistance is still relevant because ukraine will have to hedge against the possibility pressure could do this again. on iran, i will not let that go much further than i said. we have past messages. i will not go through exactly what channels. we have lots of ways of communicating with them and we have tapped all of those channels to make it clear what they are doing is unacceptable and we will defend ourselves where necessary. they're doing is unacceptable. the other piece of iran business right now is the conversation about the jcpoa. with the strikes last night with the illustrated is that our commitment to pushback against iran's support for terrorism
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militancy and what they engage in against our people are not linked to wherever we end up on the nuclear deal. there is the nuclear diplomacy lane. the president has been clear that in the event that iran moves back into compliance that is in our interest. whether the jcpoa is reborn or not, it has nothing to do with our willingness and resolve to defend ourselves and i think the strike last night was a clear communication that these are different tracks. lastly just on training on equipment and tactics, i will say that um you know, for the most part we've been prioritizing training ukrainian,
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true on the systems that they need to be able to very rapidly employ in the field. obviously with these systems will have a longer time period. those interactions do have uh the ability to, you know, pass on not just the technical details but also tactics, techniques and procedures. um uh, you know, how to use these in combination with other capabilities. so we'll do our best to me, make sure that we're kind of synergize ng the training in that way to the final question. >> i have one on ukraine and then i'd like to ask one on taiwan if i may on ukraine. the pentagon's suggested that 10 switchblade 600s we're going to be going into ukraine. have any of those arrived in theater. and will this package include any switch 600. >> yes. so this package doesn't, it includes uh puma us systems and then also some additional parts for scan eagle. um but it does not include switchblade 600 as it relates to the actual delivery of the switchblade. i'll have to get back to you. i don't have that information in front of me. you had a question on taiwan, >> we've seen this week that the
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p. l. a. is still maintaining an aggressive tempo. um flying close to taiwan has the pentagon seen any indications that this is going to slow down? and should we view this as the new normal over in taiwan at the taiwan strait?
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yeah, so ouressment, i mean i think we're still we'll still have to see what settles out and what the new normal looks like. i'll tell you what we've seen thus far. um the tempo of their activities is less than it was in the immediate aftermath of speaker pelosi's visit, but it's still higher than historical norms. uh and they have clearly used this particular incident to try to essentially de facto erase the norm of the center line. for example, of crossing between this, you know, the media position between mainland china and the island of taiwan. they have been more active in the air, they have been more active at sea. um uh, so i think we should anticipate that whatever the ultimate level ends being, it will be higher than it was before. and that speaks to your question about the new normal and will continue to adjust our activities to make sure that wherever china ends up settling that we make clear a
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couple of things we remain committed to, to defending our allies and partners in the region. we remain committed to a stable free and open indo pacific which is i think an interest that all our allies and partners in the region um uh subscribe to. um and that we will continue to operate uh in the air at sea wherever international law allows and that will include freedom of navigation operations, taiwan strait transits uh and other activities. so look, our view of this is that um you know, china took the speaker's visit as an excuse to manufacture a crisis and to set a new normal and that what we need to do is to is to show that we and the rest of the international community will not be coerced that what what beijing wants is for the international community to react to their new normal by two taking a step back and saying whoa uh you know, we don't want any piece of that. and our reaction is not to invite conflict or to generate unnecessary frictions. but to basically make clear that beijing's gambit isn't going to pay off that if their goal was to coerce us in the international community to back off, it's not gonna work. >> can you explain what, why? you know, there have been a number of attacks by the iranian backed groups against u. s. forces and facilities in iraq and syria in the last year or so, including a pretty egregious one against 80 g last october and there hasn't been a us kinetic response like last night. you just explain why the us decided to respond to the august 15th when they they don't seem to have been so far out of the norm from the other ones we've seen.
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>> we were careful here, uh, due to classification issues, but i'll say this part of, part of it's an accumulation um, that we want uh, we don't want iran to draw the wrong conclusion that they can continue just doing this and and get away with it. but part of it was also the nature of the attacks on the 15th. the fact that they were coordinated against two us facilities at the same time. the fact that we believe we have iran dead to rights on on attribution. uh, the u a v parts that we've collected, for example, traced directly back to tehran. um, so i think our concern was that um, this might be an indication that that iran intends to do more of this and we wanted to disabuse them of any sense that that was a good idea. thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen appreciate it.
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she talked about -- spoke at this chemical security summit.


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