THEY SENT THE ATACMS!!!!!!!!!
Full transcript from yesterday’s press conference below, it’s near the end of the page.https://t.co/eVtWlkemw9
— CJ (@CasualArtyFan) November 10, 2022
From the transcript: (emphasis mine)
Q So, will aid to Ukraine continue uninterrupted?
THE PRESIDENT: That is my expectation. And, by the way, we’ve not given Ukraine a blank check. There’s a lot of things that Ukraine wants we didn’t — we didn’t do.
For example, I was asked very much whether we prefe- — we’d provide American aircraft to guarantee the skies over Ukraine. I said, “No, we’re not going to do that. We’re not going to get into a third world war, taking on Russian aircraft and directly engage.” But would we provide them with all — the rational ability to defend themselves? Yes.
We provide those HIMARS. Well, the HIMARS — there’s two kinds of, in the average person’s parlance, rockets you can drop in those: one that goes over 600 miles and one that goes about 160 miles. We didn’t give them any ones that go to 600 miles, because I’m not looking for them to start bombing Russian territory.
And so, we want to make sure that there’s a relationship that they’re able to defend themselves and take on what is purely a — a — the ugliest aggression that’s occurred since World War Two on a massive scale, on the part of Putin, within Ukraine. And there’s so much at stake.
And now we know that the image above was art soon to be imitated by life. What hit the Kerch Strait bridge were the ATACMS!
Now send more!!!! And send the PrSMs too!!!!
Here is President Zelenskyy’s remarks from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
Today we have good news from the south.
The number of Ukrainian flags returning to their rightful place in the framework of the ongoing defense operation is already dozens. 41 settlements were liberated.
I thank all our heroes who make this advance possible. Armed Forces, intelligence, special services… Everyone.
And I will especially mention the warriors of the 28th separate mechanized brigade, the 46th airborne assault brigade, the 60th separate infantry brigade and the 128th separate mountain assault brigade. Those who implement offensive actions. Thank you guys!
Now we are all happy to see how the Ukrainians who remained in the occupied villages and cities meet our warriors.
Many are now checking almost every hour where our units have reached and where else our national flag was raised.
But, rejoicing, we should all remember now and always what this movement means, we should remember that every step of our defense forces is the lives of our warriors. Lives given for freedom for Ukrainians. Everything that is happening now has been achieved by months of fierce struggle. It was achieved through courage, pain, and loss. It’s not the enemy leaving. It is the Ukrainians who drive the occupiers out at a heavy cost. Just as in the east of our country, in the Kharkiv region. Just as before, in the north – Kyiv region, Sumy region, Chernihiv region. Now – Mykolaiv region, Kherson region.
We have to go all the way – on the battlefield and in diplomacy – for our flags, Ukrainian flags, and never again enemy tricolors, to be hoisted on our entire land, along our entire internationally recognized border. It will be so.
Our warriors are virtually immediately followed to the liberated areas by those who restore all conditions for normal life.
The first and basic one is demining. The occupiers leave behind thousands of unexploded mines and munitions. I have often heard estimates that clearing Ukraine of Russian mines will take decades. We can’t wait that long.
We have to do in years what elsewhere in the world could have taken decades after hostilities.
First of all, houses, social facilities, communications, roads – the entire space of people’s lives – are being demined.
But the occupiers mine everything: power lines, enterprise buildings, fields, forests.
At the peak of mine contamination in Ukraine, we had 300,000 square kilometers of dangerous territory.
Today, thanks to the true heroism of Ukrainian sappers and pyrotechnicians, our rescuers and everyone who helps them, the area of land contaminated by mines and munitions has been reduced.
Now about 170,000 square kilometers remain for demining. In particular, this is also the case in the most difficult areas – where hostilities are still ongoing, where the enemy will add mines before his retreat, as it is now in Kherson… Plus forests, plus a huge area of fields.
I am grateful to our partners who are already implementing mine clearance assistance projects. These are the US, Canada and Great Britain, as well as Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Austria, Poland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, UN structures.
Any person on earth – everyone who supports Ukraine – can make a personal contribution through our United24 charity platform.
In particular, thanks to such aid, we have already purchased the first most effective demining machine – Armtrac 400 which is currently operating in the Kharkiv region.
It covers 1.5 hectares in an hour, fully guaranteeing the disposal of mines. And first of all, it clears the territory along the power lines so that energy workers can fulfill their duties and restore power supply.
We will add more such equipment and speed up demining wherever we return our flag, our normal Ukrainian life.
The forces of the National Police immediately follow the warriors to the liberated areas.
Today, the police entered Kalynivske, Bobrovyi Kut, Yevhenivka, Kotsyubynske and Snihurivka. Stabilization measures began there.
I had two important phone calls today.
Together with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom we discussed further defense support for our country and exchanged views of the ongoing frontline operations.
We are preparing for important international events next week, in particular for the G20 summit, we are coordinating positions with partners.
Together with the Prime Minister of Canada we also discussed the G20, our initiatives within the UN – we have important draft resolutions that we propose the General Assembly to support.
Separately, we touched upon the areas of defense and security cooperation that already exist with Canada. We are planning to expand our cooperation.
There are still important negotiations scheduled for tomorrow.
Today I also want to thank the Netherlands for another step to strengthen our defense. 100 million euros will go to the fund to support our defense.
These funds, as well as funds from other partners, will be used to purchase equipment directly from manufacturers and will work for the future. For Ukraine to become stronger.
And one more thing.
Today we have the announcement of a new military assistance package from the United States of America. Important means of air defense. Just what we needed, what we asked for.
Glory to all who fight and work for our country and our people!
Gratitude to everyone who helps!
Eternal glory to all those who give their lives for Ukraine and who gave their lives.
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader’s latest assessment of the situation in Kherson:
NOTE: The 2350 map is believed to be highly ‘conservative’. In the last 60 mins, reports have emerged that UKR forces continue to press forward on all axes toward Kherson. UKR artillery is said to have targeted RU crossing points, causing mass casualties.
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 11, 2022
SLAUGHTER ON THE RIVER: Local sources have reported that RU troop concentrations on the banks of the Dnipro have come under sustained UKR artillery fire. Heavy casualties are reported, and said to be mounting. https://t.co/8sJnUk3rks
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 10, 2022
Here’s Oleksiy Arestovich, one of President Zelenskyy’s advisors, assessment of the situation in Kherson:
– Уважаемые херсонцев. Вот мы и возвращаемся.
Вот вы и возвращаетесь.
Добро пожаловать домой.
Бои на правом берегу ещё будут продолжаться некоторое время.
А после ещё будет непростой период стабилизационных мероприятий.
— Arestovych (@arestovych) November 9, 2022
Here is the translation of his two tweets:
Let’s do it right: – The Russian army does not leave Kherson. She was KNOCKED out of Kherson by the Defense Forces of Ukraine. It was knocked out with heavy battles, with losses, methodically gnawed through the enemy’s defenses, work on crossings, hard and bloody military labor.
– Dear Kherson residents. Here we are returning. Here you are returning. Welcome home. ——- Fighting on the right bank will continue for some time. And after that there will be a difficult period of stabilization measures.
And here’s Mikhailo Podylak’s assessment:
Actions speak louder than words. We see no signs that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight. A part of the ru-group is preserved in the city, and additional reserves are charged to the region. 🇺🇦 is liberating territories based on intelligence data, not staged TV statements.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) November 9, 2022
Sabrina Singh, the Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, held a briefing with Q&A today. Here is the transcript: (emphasis mine)
DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY SABRINA SINGH: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Thursday. I just have a few items to pass along at the top and then I can jump in and take your questions.
So today, as you probably have already seen, the Department of Defense is announcing the authorization of a presidential drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $400 million to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs. This authorization is the Biden administration’s 25th drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.
Capabilities in this package include missiles for HAWK air defense systems, four Avenger air defense systems and Stinger missiles, additional ammunition for the HIMARS, which are the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, 21,000 155 millimeter artillery rounds, 500 precision-guided 155 millimeter artillery rounds, 10,000 120 millimeter mortar rounds, 100 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, the Humvees, 400 grenade launchers, small arms and more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, and demolition equipment for obstacle clearing, optics, and cold weather gear.
With Russia’s unrelenting and brutal air attacks on Ukrainian civilian and critical infrastructure, additional air defense capabilities are critical.
The HAWK missiles, which will be refurbished using Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, will compliment Spain’s recent commitment of HAWK launchers to help Ukraine meet this threat. The Avenger short range air defense systems will also provide Ukraine with capability to protect Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial systems and helicopters. You should have the release in your inbox but it will also be found on defense.gov.
Just a few more items here. Looking ahead, tomorrow, Secretary Austin will provide remarks at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1 p.m. to commemorate and pay honor to our veterans. Their service and commitment make up the strong fabric of our nation and we will never forget their sacrifices.
Also, looking a little further ahead, next week, the Secretary will host the seventh meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. This meeting will be hosted virtually here at the Pentagon and will allow for the Secretary and ministers of defense from nearly 50 countries to discuss efforts to supply Ukraine with the means to defend its sovereignty from further Russian aggression. And additional information will be forthcoming.
And finally, with great admiration, the department would like to take a moment to acknowledge the 247th birthday of our United States Marine Corps. As the department continues to adapt to the complex challenges of the 21st century, the Marine Corps stands ready to bring invaluable experience to the battlefield. Their work on how we will operate in a contested maritime domain reflects their steadfast commitment and value to our Joint Force. We wish them a heartfelt happy birthday and Semper Fi, Marine Corps.
And with that, I will take your questions. Yes, Tara Copp? Sorry.
Q: Hi, thanks for doing this. Can you talk a little bit more about the difference that the Avenger air defense system can make in the battle now, particularly with Russian troops withdrawing from Kherson? Did the Pentagon decide to make these available now because it’s winter and they can be put on high vehicle trucks? What was the thinking there?
MS. SINGH: So again, this is one additional air defense system that we have provided, along with our partners and allies, that I think compliments some of the air defense systems that we’ve provided. In particular, with the four Avenger air defense systems, these are mobile, short range air defense systems that can — they can protect against cruise missiles, helicopters, unmanned aerial systems.
They’re shorter in range, but with some of the additional capabilities that we and Spain and others have provided, like the HAWK missiles, this is something that will, I think, fit in well with some of the capabilities that they’re already using on the battlefield.
Q: And just a quick follow up.
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: Since this system also uses Stingers, are there any concerns that this is another pressure on the Stinger stockpile?
MS. SINGH: You know, again, we continue to assess our readiness. And the short answer to your question is no, we are committed to providing Ukraine with what it needs on the battlefield and what they need day-to-day and we are constantly assessing our readiness but we wouldn’t have provided these Stinger missiles if we didn’t feel like — that we could.
I’ll stay in the room, Laura?
Q: Thanks. Just to follow up on Tara’s question, can you say how many Avenger systems we’re sending and what’s the timeline for …
MS. SINGH: We’re sending four Avenger air defense systems. I can’t say the timeline, but as you know with these PDAs, we have been getting equipment and systems to Ukraine pretty quickly. And, you know, we’re, again, in constant communication with our Ukrainian partners and allies on the ground. So I don’t have an exact date for you and we’d let Ukraine announce when they arrive in country.
Q: … require training for the Ukrainians? And how extensive is that training?
MS. SINGH: There will be some training required for these — these Avengers but I don’t have much more on how long or what the requirement will be. But like with most of the capabilities that we’ve provided, we have given some training when they have gone in country. And so — or before they go in country — and so these air defense systems would require some of that.
Great. Yeah? Hi.
Q: I have a follow up on the Avengers and then sort of a broader question …
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: … for you. I believe the Avengers are automated short range systems, so — so tech first, and I have read that they’ve started being produced, I think, in the early 2000s. So I was wondering if you’re sending older or newer Avenger capabilities, if you could speak to that? And then I’ll have a follow up.
MS. SINGH: Yeah, no problem. In terms of when and what type or what year or make we’re providing, I would just say that we’re just providing the four Avenger defense systems. I’m not going to get into specifics on that.
And then your first question was — I’m sorry, I’m blanking on your first one.
Q: My second question, actually.
MS. SINGH: Or second question.
Q: … it’s two parts for you. Would it be fair to report that this package is part of broader plans from the administration to accelerate support for Ukraine as a result of the midterms and — and maybe concerns that Republicans in Congress could possibly block future assistance down the line?
MS. SINGH: Well, I think you’ve seen a pretty steady cadence of security assistance packages that we’ve rolled out. We just announced another tranche of security assistance just last week, which is what I had mentioned with the HAWK missiles being refurbished.
So I think on top of that, support for Ukraine has had pretty broad bipartisan support, which we welcome and we thank Congress for their support. I think there is in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, a commitment to Ukraine that we’re in this for the long haul. So even with the midterms and the outcomes, I think that Ukraine will still see security assistance and support from the United States in their fight.
I’m going to go to the phones and then I can come back into the room. Howard Altman.
Q: Thank you for doing this. I’ve got some operational questions. First, does the Pentagon see a withdrawal of Russian troops from the town of (inaudible) and Mykolaiv Oblast? And then I have some other questions.
MS. SINGH: Further Russian movements? I mean, I’ve seen the open source reporting there but nothing further to add. We’ve seen the Russians reinforcing their defensive lines and we’re seeing the Ukrainians continue with their counter-offensive but I don’t really have more to add other than that.
Q: Can you elaborate a little bit more on the Russians are all saying they’re withdrawing from Mykolaiv Oblast as well as Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Are you seeing any additional Russian withdrawals across or heading towards the Dnipro River?
MS. SINGH: So we have seen — I will say — and I think — I think this was spoken to earlier this morning — we have seen some indications of movement within Kherson City, it’s a bit too early to make an assessment just yet on the full movement of Russian troops.
I’m going to go to the next question here. Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose?
Q: Thank you. You had mentioned you’ve seen some indications of movement in Kherson City. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? You know, is this movement since the announcement that the Russians are withdrawing from the city? And, you know, how many Russian forces are withdrawing?
MS. SINGH: So I wouldn’t be able to count — to characterize the number of Russians that we’re seeing. I mean, all I can really say is we’re seeing some indications of movement. And as I think you know and we all saw, the Russians announcing that they were going to withdraw troops from Kherson City but we’re only just seeing some indications of that. I would say it’s still, at least on our side, too early to make an assessment there.
I’m going to take one more from the phone and then I will come back into the room. Phil Stewart, Reuters?
Q: Hey there, thanks. Real quick, General Milley made some comments yesterday, not just about the casualty count but also about the need to take opportunities for peace when they come along. I’m wondering if you could articulate the Secretary’s view on both the casualty numbers, whether they’re sustainable for the Ukrainians, on what they say about Russian tactics, and then also his views on, you know, whether or not opportunities for peace need to be seized with some urgency? Thank you.
MS. SINGH: Well, thanks, Phil, for the question. I think it’s important to remember — just taking a step back — that this war could end today or tomorrow. Vladimir Putin has the opportunity to end this war and to come to the table and I mean and frankly, withdraw his troops from Ukraine. We don’t see that happening.
The President has said, the Secretary has said that the way we see the end to this war is through diplomatic conversations, but again, we’re not seeing that the Russians are willing to let up, and frankly, continue to see their aggression on the battlefield and in cities all across Ukraine.
In terms of your other question on Chairman Milley’s comments, I think I’d let those comments speak to themselves. I don’t have anything further to add to that.
I’m going to come back into the room here — yeah, Mike. Hi.
Q: Semper Fi.
MS. SINGH: Semper Fi. I know. As I said it, I was like I’m going to get dragged for this. I’m so sorry. And I know this, so thank you. Yeah.
Q: Anyway …
MS. SINGH: I was just nervous.
Q: I can imagine. It’s a big day for those — for the Marines.
MS. SINGH: Oh, yeah, and I wanted to make sure I got the birthday right and then I just messed up the last line. So thank you, Mike.
Q: The HAWK was never used in combat when it was part of a U.S. inventory, and it’s been 20 years since the Marines have had it as a part of their — has the — Ukraine used it at all yet or are they still in the sort of refurbishment — have they gotten any to use so far?
MS. SINGH: So we announced the refurbishment of the HAWK missiles just last week, so those will be going out for a contract to get refurbished. So in terms of what we have in our stocks, no, those have not gone over there.
Now, you have seen that Spain and other countries have provided other air defense systems. So in terms of …
Q: But specifically the HAWK, I mean, so none of them have been used — Ukraine has never used …
MS. SINGH: Not ours, but remember Spain did provide their HAWK system. So I would direct you to the Ukrainians for further comment on how effective they’ve been or how they’ve been using that but I wouldn’t be able to comment on that from here.
And did you have a second question? I’m sorry.
Q: Nope, that’s it.
MS. SINGH: OK, great. Anyone else? Yeah, Barbara?
Q: Without recounting necessarily all the public turmoil surrounding Twitter right now — it’s all out there, open source — what’s the Pentagon’s view right now for official accounts of senior leaders, starting with the Secretary, of commands, of military organizations? Not individual troops personal accounts, all the official accounts. How confident are you in the security of Twitter, given the concerns about accounts being diverted? And what is your Department of Defense policy on paying money to Twitter for the blue verification check?
MS. SINGH: Yeah, thank you for the question. So we’re seeing Twitter change its policies day by day. So therefore, I don’t really have an answer for you yet on what is going to happen to the personal accounts or the accounts of senior leaders, such as the Department of Defense or the Secretary. It’s something that we’re working through.
In terms of paying for the verification blue checkmark, again, it’s something that we’re trying to figure out what makes the most sense for this department but I don’t really have any further updates, as Twitter keeps changing its policies.
Q: Can you expand at all? When you say you’re working your way through it, what are the — and again, I want to be clear, I’m only asking you about official accounts, not the personal accounts of individuals — you’re working your way through it. What are the issues on the table for you that you’re trying to address? What are the concerns that you’re beginning to identify that you have? And how could you even potentially pay without — do you anticipate you would have to organize some kind of DOD-wide government contract to Twitter to be a vehicle to pay? So what are the issues that — can you expand on that?
MS. SINGH: Well, I think one of the biggest issues is that Twitter keeps changing exactly what it’s going to do. I think it was just yesterday some accounts saw a gray checkmark or verification next to their name, then that went away for some accounts. So it’s hard to — some of this is just speculating because we really don’t have a good grasp of what exactly the Twitter policy is going to be just yet.
So working through those issues, part of it is thinking through — you know, we have official accounts from the Department of Defense all the way down to our services, to the Marine Corps — Semper Fi — and I just — I don’t know that we have a good sense just yet until Twitter makes a more permanent decision of what we do with all of our accounts.
Q: One quick follow up.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: Do you feel at this point that it’s still stable and, if you will, secure enough to be a vehicle for official communications from the people that have — from the organizations that have official accounts? Are you OK with it still right now?
MS. SINGH: So as of right now, you know, I have an official account here at the Pentagon, I use my official account, I feel safe using my official account. Twitter is a massive platform with huge reach. It would be tough to not be on the platform and not be able to reach people where they are, where they get their news, where they communicate, but again, I understand that, you know, Twitter’s going through a lot of changes right now.
So, as Twitter adjusts and makes changes we’re going to have to adjust and adapt too. As of right now I feel fine operating on the platform and I think our accounts do as well. And if that changes I’ll certainly let you know.
Great. I’m just going to go to the phones and then I will come back into the room.
Q: Thank you so much. I was wondering if we can get an update on the maritime situation in the Black Sea right now. And if there’s been any discussions about extending the grain deal that was brokered by the U.N. and Turkey?
MS. SINGH: So in terms of the grain deal, I would refer you back to Turkey and the U.N. I don’t have any updates from here. The maritime picture remains unchanged. We haven’t seen major updates on either side. So, when there are I’d be happy to read that out and get back to you on that.
I’m going just go to one more and then I’ll come right back into the room. Valerie with Breaking Defense.
Q: Hi. Thanks so much for taking my question. I’ve got sort of a broader question. So, as the Pentagon sort of looks forward, you know, could the Russian retreat in Kherson have any impact on the weapons and security assistance for Ukraine as the conflict continues? Is the department expecting any new requirements as a result of these latest developments or are you guys sort of just seeing the continued demand for things like HIMARS, anti-drone equipment, some of the stuff that you guys provided today?
MS. SINGH: Yes, thank you for the question, Valerie. So, in terms of what the Ukrainians need and if there will be any changes on the battlefield with the possible withdrawal of Russians from Kherson City, again, we are in touch with the Ukrainians frequently, regularly. We are accessing what they need on the battlefield.
In the very beginning of this war, you know, when you heard us talking about Javelins and Stingers, right now we’re talking about HIMARS, we’re talking about just last week when we rolled out the Hawk missiles that need to be refurbished. We’re just — we’re talking about different equipment as the battlefield changes. And as we head into different environments and weather conditions as well.
So, we’re going to continue working with our Ukrainian counterparts, but also, this is not just the United States working to arm and support Ukraine. We have our partners and allies around the world. And as I mentioned, next week, on Wednesday, the Secretary will be convening a virtual contact — a virtual Ukraine defense contact group here at the Pentagon, which is again, just another opportunity for nearly 50 countries to come together to talk about what they can do to pull their resources and capabilities and systems for Ukraine as the fight continues.
I’m going to come back in the room. Yes, Tara.
Q: I noticed on the list of new systems and ammunition being provided, 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition. That’s a huge increase. Is the Pentagon providing this ammunition now if, you know, to date there had already been 65 million rounds. Have they already gone through that?
MS. SINGH: I don’t have an update in terms of what they’ve gone through and I certainly wouldn’t want to broadcast that. I think that’s something that the Ukrainians could answer for or would choose to answer for. I mean, this is a changing war, it’s a changing battlefield. It is dynamic and, of course, these rounds are being used. I wouldn’t be able to get into how quickly, but this is something that the Ukrainians expressed to us and to the department that they need. And so, we want to fulfill that requirement.
Great. And I think — oh, sorry. Yes? And then I’ll come back to back to you (inaudible ). I think you’re — oh, you’re good. OK.
Q: One more quick follow-up —
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: — on the Avengers. This is the first time they’re being sent to Ukraine?
MS. SINGH: Yes, this is a new capability that we are sending.
Q: And why now? Was it requested? If — could you just sort of expand a little on that?
MS. SINGH: Yes, sure. I mean, this is, again, we are in touch with our Ukrainian partners, and so we discuss with them what they need in this fight. We access what we can provide and what makes the most sense. So, this was a request that fulfilled a need that they wanted. And so, you know, I think this is something — this is an air defense system that’s going to compliment the other air defense systems, that not just the U.S. has provided, but other countries as well.
Yes. Louie — oh, and then I’ll come to Courtney. Yes, nice to see you.
Q: Good to see you. Regardless how the election turns out there’s going to be a new Congress coming in, a new session in January. You got some — about a dozen high-profile nominations for key posts in the building, you know, Radha Plumb, (inaudible). What are you going to do to try to get those confirmations through in this session? And if it’s not possible, that you’re going to have resubmit these nominations for the coming session.
MS. SINGH: No, thank you for that question. I mean, I think next week Congress is going to be returning, following the midterm elections and we have several highly qualified DOD civilian nominees that are caught up and have not been confirmed. Just to put this in a little bit of context, I mean as you know, the U.S. is facing an array of adversaries, both the acute threat of Russia and our pacing challenge when it comes to China. And then, not to mention, Iran and North Korea continuing to develop their own weapons capabilities.
But, we’re nearly two years into this administration, and yet, the percentage of DOD nominees confirmed by the Senate is lower than it was at this same point two years ago by — into the presidencies of Clinton, Bush, Obama and even Donald Trump. And this has been data that’s been collected by a non-partisan partnership for public service. So, the department is doing everything it can right now. But, with 12 highly qualified DOD civilian nominees, we’re a bit hamstrung here.
And so, we urge Congress to — we urge the Senate to confirm these nominees because they play a critical role in just managing recruitment, our budget, our physical health of the force and just to give a quick example here, when it comes to the PDAs that we’re announcing today, you know when it comes to accessing our own fighting capabilities, our acquisition leaders are so important in maintaining our weapons stocks, but yet the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment remains vacant.
Some of our nominees were submitted in November 2021 and still haven’t been confirmed. So, while we do see this as a small group of Republicans that are holding up our nominees, we believe these nominees are fully capable and they have bipartisan support. I mean, they were voted out of the committees and we just hope and urge the Senate to confirm them.
Q: A follow-up, you listed that the administration is in what point, you know, that progress had been made on nominations. The Trump administration actually seemed to get along pretty well just by having acting people in these offices. Is that something that you feel is appropriate? Is it something that you want to get passed, given the concerns that you just raised?
MS. SINGH: Well I will say that anyone in an acting position, when they don’t have the full authority or they’re not the actual director, there’s still ambiguity within staff. There’s still decisions that need to be made by the actual you know whether it’s a deputy undersecretary, whether it’s having an acting doesn’t necessarily set the trajectory for how that department is going to look. That is what the person that is confirmed does.
I think a good example here is we talk about recruitment. We talk about how we are going to bring in more folks into our, into the Army, Navy, whatever it might be. And we have two positions open in the Manpower and Reserve Affairs in the Army and Navy that have yet to be confirmed. And those people were nominated in January of 2022.
So you can have an acting there but that person won’t necessarily be able to set the trajectory of like how are we going to set the long-term goals. And frankly it doesn’t, I don’t think it’s helpful to just have an acting person in that role. I think you need someone that has the support of Congress, has the support of the Senate to lead the organization as well. Yeah, Courtney.
Q: And just one thought, so does that mean that President Biden or Secretary Austin or someone is going to be lobbying Congress right now to push some of these people through for a vote? Like I think, I may be wrong about this, but I think that the I.G. has already been voted, has already been approved on the committee, just hasn’t been voted on?
MS. SINGH: That’s right.
Q: So you’ve had an acting for like 10 years now?
Q: (inaudible) A long time, right?
MS. SINGH: Right.
Q: Like is there going to be an effort to try to push that through before Congress changes over?
MS. SINGH: Well, that’s why we have our Legislative Affairs Team. They’re certainly doing the work. They’re in touch with Congress. I mean part of the work that is done, not just at the Secretary’s level but at a staff level is working with a senator’s office to answer any questions that they may have urged for these nominees to be confirmed. I don’t have anything to read out from the Secretary’s level, what he’s doing now but he put these people forward. You know he has chosen them to lead their respective departments and as you mentioned, someone from to lead the I.G. I think was one of the, I don’t have my, sorry, my whole list here but I believe that person’s name is submitted in January 2021. I mean we’re talking about like, you made a joke, but six years of not having like a fully confirmed person I mean that’s, I think that’s devastating to a department.
Q: And the names, just to be clear, if they aren’t confirmed by the end of this Congress they go back to the White House, have to be resubmitted, right?
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: And then I have just another one.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: I’m sorry if I missed this when I was walking in here.
MS. SINGH: Mm-hmm.
Q: Did you say how many of the HAWK missiles is providing as far as the U.S?
MS. SINGH: We have not.
Q: Is that why —
MS. SINGH: That’s just for OPSEC reasons. We do not, when I announced it last week we have HAWK missiles that are going to be refurbished but we just didn’t announce the number.
Q: Can you talk at all about anything about how the Ukrainian air defenses and the ammunition for them are holding up right now? If they are, and we hear so much about the need for air defenses, but no one ever really talks to us about they, like how much the Ukrainians are expending them in the current fight.
MS. SINGH: Well I think that’s a great question. I think it’s you know it’s a tough question to answer from here. I would want the Ukrainians to be able to speak to how they feel like they’re being able to employ them on the battlefield. But we’re seeing success with some of the systems that we have given them and I mean we’re basically creating, I may be using a bad analogy here but a net of air defense systems of different ranges that allows them to whatever it’s the HAWK missiles or the IRIST that the Germans provided or what we are providing today with the four Avenger air defense systems. All of them have different ranges. All of them contribute differently on the battlefield, which makes the Ukrainians effective. I would let them speak to what they feel is most effective on and their usage when they go through them.
Q: I only ask about I understand the idea of creating this innovated air defense system like you know —
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: — and that’s fine but I don’t understand why it’s you can say that there’s 192 Stingers but can’t say how many HAWKS there are, what the difference is, why one is an OPSEC issue and one’s not.
MS. SINGH: Well I mean we —
Q: (inaudible) — doesn’t click —
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: — like a sense of the scope —
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: — of what they have, what they, or how much they’re burning through.
MS. SINGH: Yeah, no I mean the HAWK missiles are again a longer-range missile. I think giving a number like 50 HAWK missiles and this is again just an example, you know, then you’re setting yourself up for like okay are the Russians going to count how many go and therefore they can see okay they only have 30 left, therefore we can move in. I mean that’s a very simplistic way of thinking, like of how I just gave the example but that’s why we don’t want to get into some of these numbers. It doesn’t give us or it doesn’t give the Ukrainians an advantage to necessarily talk about that publicly.
I mean we would let them talk about it, if that’s something they want to do. Then they can. But certainly we wouldn’t want to do that for them.
Great. I’m going to take just two more from the phone and then I can come back in the room. Kasim are you there?
Q: Yes. Hi. And something I have two questions actually. One, we were talking about NASAMS. What happened to NASAMS and why Avengers and not NASAMS? And my second question, Russia announced that it is withdrawing from Kherson area. How do you characterize it? How do you characterize Russian withdrawal from Kherson?
MS. SINGH: I’ll take the second question first. So, again as I mentioned, we’re seeing some indications of Russian forces withdrawing from Kherson City. But it’s too early to make a full assessment of what that looks like, what that means. In terms of your second question, I think there was earlier this week that the Ukrainians did confirm they have received the first NASAMS that we announced in July. To date we’ve committed eight NASAMS in security assistance to Ukraine. That’s something that has been announced in previous security assistance packages.
I don’t have additional details at this time on when the rest of the six NASAMS will be delivered. But we’ll be happy to keep you updated if and when I have more information.
Great. I’m going to take one more from the room and then really had one more question here. Steve, military.com. Okay. Alright, nothing heard. Back to you. Yeah?
Q: I’m just following up before you said —
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: You keep referring to Spain HAWK system. They’ve committed actually six systems as of today, you know two additional. When you talk about the HAWK refurbishing, are you talking about missile systems or are you talking about the missiles themselves?
MS. SINGH: The missiles themselves. That need to be refurbished so they can be used for the HAWKS.
Q: So in other words this is a way of providing the Ukrainians with the supply of missiles that can then be used for —
MS. SINGH: With the missile system that Spain provided. Does that make sense?
MS. SINGH: Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
Q: Is there something that hasn’t — actually hasn’t been clarified…
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: … over the last week, so…
MS. SINGH: Yeah, no problem.
Q: Did you say how long it would also take for that refurbishment? Like, when we might start seeing some of those delivered?
MS. SINGH: I don’t have a timeline on that yet. It’s something that, maybe as you know, we announced last week in the seventh security assistance package. We will — you know, they have to go out for a contract and refurbishing, but I don’t have a timeline on that yet.
Q: And that’s being paid for by USAI, right?
MS. SINGH: That’s right.
Q: Even though this is a PDA?
MS. SINGH: That’s right. So it’s being paid for by USAI for the contract to refurbish these missiles. I think Mike had mentioned, you know, we don’t use these HAWKS anymore. But they’re coming off of our shelves, so that’s why it’s being announced through the PDA, as well. But the money to refurbish them is through the USAI. I know, it’s a lot.
I’m sorry, you had one question here? Are you good? No? Anything else before we wrap up?
OK, well, happy Thursday, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I hope you have a good weekend. Thanks. All right.
$400M additional US assistance for Ukraine will be advantageous both for defense and for the liberation of Ukrainian lands.
Modern equipment + a modern #UAarmy will defeat soviet scrap metal + murderers, rapists & looters.
Thank you to @POTUS @SecDef and the American people. pic.twitter.com/pTQLXbchHd
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) November 10, 2022
I’m not sure if this is included in the aid package:
We are a nation with these sorts of biotechnologies…
Friends, we are invincible! pic.twitter.com/Z5dcy2grPu
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 9, 2022
This is an interesting piece of analysis regarding Putin:
THREAD 1/5 From the start of the invasion, there has been speculation that military failure could lead to the downfall of Vladimir Putin. https://t.co/dVeP9eAYcX
— Alexander Baunov (@baunov) November 10, 2022
3/5 In the eyes of dissatisfied Russians, any form of resistance to the west is a victory, almost regardless of the end result. https://t.co/34b6miIBjE
— Alexander Baunov (@baunov) November 10, 2022
— Alexander Baunov (@baunov) November 10, 2022
For those of you interested in how Russia goes about stealing Ukrainian grain, this is the podcast for you:
Don’t miss this week’s Behind the Money:
— Michela Tindera (@mtindera07) November 9, 2022
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
PAWer 🐾 pic.twitter.com/jheFqgkWkz
— Patron (@PatronDsns) November 10, 2022
And a new video from Patron’s official TikTok:
And here’s the machine translation of the caption:
Almost took a note)) @geenafontanella @anthony_gargiula 😄 #irememberwhen #riffchallenge #PatrontheDog