DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY SABRINA SINGH: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon.
All right, so I have a few items to pass along at the top today, and then I’d be happy to take your questions.
So the secretary returned from his trip to Wiesbaden and Brussels on Friday, where he met with leaders and troops supporting training efforts for the Ukrainian soldiers, and then with NATO defense ministers. The meetings were very productive, and the secretary looks forward to continuing his dialogue and open communications with his NATO counterparts.
Turning to this week, tomorrow, Secretary Austin looks forward to hosting His Excellency Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, here at the Pentagon. You may recall that in May, 2022, at the request and coordination of the government of Somalia and at the direction of President Biden, U.S. Africa Command returned a small, persistent U.S. military presence to Somalia to train and advise partner forces to degrade Al Shabaab. This reestablished U.S. presence and support from our partners and allies and multilateral efforts stand as straw — as a strong signal as our — as of — our continued commitment to Somalia and the region more broadly.
Following up from some announcements earlier this year, during the department’s regular oversight of our execution of presidential drawdown authority for Ukraine, we discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine. In a significant number of cases, services used replacement costs rather than net book value, thereby overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from U.S. stocks and provided to Ukraine. Once we discovered this misvaluation, the Comptroller reissued guidance on March 31st clarifying how to value equipment in line with the financial management regulation and DOD policy to ensure we use the most accurate of accounting methods.
We have confirmed that for F.Y. ’23 the final calculation is $3.6 billion and for F.Y. ’22 it is $2.6 billion, for a combined total of $6.2 billion. These valuation errors in no way limit or restricted the size of any of our PDAs or impacted the provision of support to Ukraine, and while the DOD — while the DOD retains the authority to utilize the recaptured PDA, this has no bearing on appropriated USAI or Ukraine PDA replenishment funding approved by Congress.
Sorry, going back in time just one more time, this past weekend, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl returned from his travel to Hawaii, South Korea and Japan, where he engaged his counterparts in engagements to address mutual security challenges, identify opportunities to increase defense cooperation and enable efforts to network our alliances with like-minded partners. Throughout his meetings, Dr. Kahl emphasized our shared commitment to building a free and open Indo-Pacific, one that is grounded in core principles, including the rule of law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And lastly and finally, as many of you know, Senator Tuberville has placed an indefinite hold on the confirmation of our general and flag officers. The department has 64 three- and four-star nominations pending the positions due to rotate soon. Between now and the end of the year, there are approximately 650 general and flag officers that will require Senate confirmation, and without these leaders in place, these holds severely limit the department’s ability to ensure the right person is in place at the right time and to ensure our strategic readiness and operational success. These holds set a dangerous precedent and puts our military readiness at risk at a time when our military is expected to defend the nation with the acute threat of Russia and address the pacing challenge of the PRC.
And with that, I’d be happy to take your questions.
Q: Thanks for this.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: I wanted to ask you about the lost submersible near the Titanic. Are there any other resources that DOD will provide that would be able to aid with the search, or is it just a problem of distance and time and possibly the capability that we just do not have vessels that can go deep enough?
MS. SINGH: So the DOD is assisting in search operations. As of yesterday, there were two C-130s that conducted search-and-rescue flights and conducted a search flight over the area. By later today, an Air National Guard C-130 will also join the search and conduct a search flight over the area. So by the end of today, we would’ve committed three C-130s to conducting search-and-rescue flights.
In addition to that, the Navy has been in touch with the Coast Guard and is working to provide personnel such as subject-matter experts and assets as quickly as possible, but I don’t have anything further to read out as the Navy and Coast Guard continue to remain in touch on this issue.
Q: Are there any vessels that could get to the, I guess, suspected location where the vessel is in time?
MS. SINGH: Right now, we’re working with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is the lead on this mission. I believe that we are doing everything we can in terms of surveying the area, and that’s been the focus of the department right now. If there are further updates, I’d be happy to keep you updated on that.
Q: The Wall Street Journal reported that China may be building a military base on Cuba. The last couple of weeks, this building has been hesitant to say what China is doing in Cuba. Can you talk about what your concerns are and to the extent you can, describe what this new military facility is?
MS. SINGH: Sure. Thanks for the question. So I’ve seen the reports that you mentioned and the one from this morning. I don’t have anything to add to that. I have nothing further to comment or provide to you at this time.
What we do know and what we have seen is the PRC continuing to make or continuing to express interest in the Western hemisphere. We know that they want to expand their military presence, and so we are going to continue to monitor that. We feel that we will have the resources needed to counter any further actions that if they decide to take any, but at this point, there’s nothing that I can add to those reports.
Great, Liz, in the back.
Q: To follow up on that question —
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: On the China and Cuba relationship, does the U.S. have any reason to reevaluate its posture in the Western hemisphere, in Latin America or anywhere in South America based on China’s actions?
MS. SINGH: We feel confident in our resources and our capabilities, and not just here in our hemisphere but around the world. Again, we don’t seek conflict with China. Competition is something that the Secretary and this administration has spoken openly about but we feel very confident in our capabilities, but again, I wouldn’t be able to speak more specifically to the reports that you referenced.
Yeah, go ahead.
Q: Thank you. Just one separate question. Following Secretary Blinken’s trip to China and meeting with President Xi, does the Defense Secretary feel more or less confident in being able to speak with his Chinese counterpart?
MS. SINGH: Well, I think just most recently he was in Brussels and spoke to this. We are certainly keeping a line of communication open. We want to establish communication with the PRC and the Secretary’s counterparts.
We have left that door open, they just have not chosen to walk through that door, but as the Secretary has said before, we remain confident that mil-to-mil communications will resume at some point, and hopefully with Secretary Blinken’s visit just this week, that helps sort of unlock some of these communications.
But again, this is something we encourage. We want to speak to our PRC counterparts but as you know, before his trip to Singapore, we extended that door and tried to have a meeting there and we were turned down.
Okay, one more. Yeah?
Q: Is the Secretary more hopeful or less hopeful?
MS. SINGH: I wouldn’t know how to characterize the Secretary’s feeling at this moment. I think what you heard from him last week is that he’s confident military-to-military communications will resume at some point. We will keep that door open and hopefully they will take us up on our invitation.
Q: My question is about India.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: As you know, (inaudible) is expected to visit this week and India has contracts for five squadrons of S-400s from Russia. So I’m wondering if you could speak a little bit about whether DOD has continuing concerns about India’s acquisition of Russian weapons, and any plans to push back on that or sanctions under CAATSA, anything like that?
MS. SINGH: Sure. So again, we welcome President Modi’s visit to the United States this week. Secretary Austin visited India just two weeks ago and was able to meet with his counterpart there. What we always will continue to urge our allies and partners around the world is to avoid transactions with Russia.
We remain deeply confident in India’s diversification of equipment, and over the past decade, our proposal for industrial cooperation will further integrate the U.S. and Indian defense industries. So I think I’ll just leave it at that.
Q: Can you speak a little bit as to why the U.S. ended up taking certain measures against Turkey for getting the S-400s, whereas they have not taken such actions against India? Can you speak a little bit to why they’re — different countries are being treated differently?
MS. SINGH: We encourage all of our partners and allies to avoid transactions with Russia. That’s something that we’ve continued to reiterate with Turkey, with India, and with others. I think there are very different and two different cases, and when it comes to India, we remain confident in their diversification of equipment and our ability to integrate with them as well.
Q: Thank you.
MS. SINGH: Hi. Nice to see you. Welcome back from your travels.
Q: Yeah. Thank you. I just have two questions on North Korea.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: You know that last week North Korea launched two missiles and North Korean Kim Jong-un announced that it will soon re-try a second satellite launch. As you know, North Korea has (inaudible) that they will not give the U.S. notice of launch. When North Korea attempt to launch a satellite, will the United States intercept the Koreans’ satellite ?
MS. SINGH: So I’m not going to preview or get into our planning or our operations. What you’ve seen from North Korea within the last week or two weeks, when you mention the satellite launch, is that, again, these are clear violations of UN Security Council Resolutions. It demonstrates DPRK’s further use to destabilize and threaten peace and security in the region.
And I believe you saw just last week the White House put out a readout of National Security Advisor Sullivan’s meeting with his counterparts in Japan and South Korea, where he again and we do from this podium we reaffirmed our commitments to the region.
So while I will say that our agreement between Japan and South Korea will not be shaken by the continuing destabilizing actions that DPRK continues to take.
Q: (Inaudible) South Korean missile
MS. SINGH: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?
Q: If South Korea (inaudible)?
MS. SINGH: Well, I wouldn’t get into specifics from here, but as you know, we continue to coordinate and conduct exercises with the South Koreans, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Q: Last question —
MS. SINGH: Okay.
Q: Do you have anything on the U.S.-South Korea cybersecurity talks?
MS. SINGH: I don’t have anything more on that, I’m sorry. I’d have to follow back up with you on that.
I’m just going to take a question from the phone here and then I’ll come back to the room. Chris Gordon, Air & Space Magazine?
Q: Hi, Sabrina. Thanks. Secretary Austin renewed his case for Sweden’s admission into NATO last week in Brussels, and yesterday, two U.S. B-1 bombers landed in Sweden. Can we expect more deployments of U.S. assets, such as aircraft, or deployments of more U.S. troops to Sweden while they await membership into NATO?
MS. SINGH: Thanks again for the question, Chris. I don’t have any announcements to make of any movement of assets into Sweden or anywhere else but what you heard the Secretary say last week is that Sweden has an extremely capable military, and for many years, the U.S. and Sweden and NATO countries have trained side-by-side together.
Sweden’s decision to join the alliance and the path to ascension is something that, again, we continue to discuss, but we have an open door when it comes to the joining oof NATO and we look forward to forging an even deeper relationship with Sweden when they become — when they officially become the 32nd member of NATO.
I’m just going to take one more question from the phone. I’ll go to Howard Altman and then I’ll come back in the room.
Q: Thanks, Sabrina, appreciate it. So this morning, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Ukraine was planning to attack Russian Federation territory, including Crimea, with HIMARS and Storm Shadows, and he said that the use of these weapons would show direct involvement of the USA and the UK. Does the Pentagon have any response to that? What is that response?
MS. SINGH: Well, we continue to provide support to Ukraine and have committed to doing that for as long as it takes in their fight against Russia, in retaking their sovereign territory. As we’ve said from this podium, we believe Crimea is part of Ukraine. The Ukrainians are doing everything that they can with the equipment, with the capabilities that they can on the battlefield to continue to push Russians further back, and we support their efforts to retake their sovereign territory.
I’ll come back in the room. Missy? Hi.
Q: Sabrina, thank you. Just wanted to follow up on Tara’s question about the submersible.
Q: You said that by the end of the day there will have been three U.S. C130s that will have been deployed for search and rescue flights. Are there any undersea assets that are being deployed or plans to send anything actually down to look for the submersible?
MS. SINGH: Right now we are providing air support. I believe the Coast Guard and the Navy have been in touch in terms of what they can provide in terms of assets that can further look for the submersible that has gone missing, I don’t have anything more to announce right now. I know that’s something that both the Navy and Coast Guard are trying to figure out and what makes the most sense. But the Coast Guard is really the lead for this mission.
So we are in direct support for them and we will continue to be for as long as they request assistance. Yes, great. Yes, right here.
Q: Thank you, madam.
MS. SINGH: I’ll come back to you. Go ahead.
Q: Going back to U.S.-India military relations. Secretary’s Austin visit to India was at a very critical time when China is expanding in the region and many countries have fears of Chinese attacks or Chinese expansion. But at the same time the prime minister of India is coming tomorrow in Washington. And two weeks before his visit, for the last several months few items were going on discussion about military transfer from the U.S. with India. One, if during the Secretary’s visit was anything was promised or signed in India as part of U.S. military with India is concerned?
And second, when the prime minister comes here, how much do you think he will be getting from this building as far as India is concerned? Anything promised or discussed with the Secretary? And I have another one, please.
MS. SINGH: So a few questions in there. I’ll try and address all of them. So I think you’ve seen the importance that India has for this building, for this administration. Of course there is a state visit that’s being hosted this week by the White House. I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements that might come out from the White House or any other agencies.
But again, as the secretary did on his visit that was really about deepening Indian and U.S. relations and continuing military cooperation. We’re not asking countries to choose between us and China.
Again, we do not seek conflict with China. We seek we encourage competition in a healthy and safe way but we’re not seeking countries to choose sides here. I think this will be another opportunity for the Secretary to engage with India, his counterparts here at the state dinner and just further deepen cooperation between our two countries.
Q: And number two. Now just before prime minister’s visit to Washington, Secretary Blinken (inaudible) in China and some people are just asking the question why just days before the prime minister’s visit and also at the same time prime minister gave interview to Wall Street Journal and he will talk about China/U.S. relations—we want peace with China and all that.
So how much do you think China will be discussed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit in Washington because (inaudible) between U.S., China and India? So why Prime Minister Modi, you think, discussed China before coming to Washington and also that (inaudible) in China and also there are something in China and India after?
MS. SINGH: So, I think those are great questions, and I would direct you to the appropriate offices to answer those questions, whether it be the State Department or President Modi’s office. But I speak on behalf of the secretary and the Department of Defense, so I wouldn’t be able to answer those questions. So, I’m going to go ahead and move on here.
Yeah, so right here.
Q: On the security situation in North Syria, I know that Turkey has increased its drone attacks on Syria, and today, they attacked a car and they killed (inaudible). And what’s your comment on these attacks, and kind of these attacks distracted local partner from achieving their goal of defeating ISIS?
MS. SINGH: Well, as you know, our mission in Syria is the enduring defeat of ISIS, so we continue to work with our partners to accomplish that goal, and that’s something that we’re focused on. I’m sorry, I’m not tracking the reference to the latest attack so I’m just not familiar to that, so I’m not going to speak to it.
Q: And there are some reports that you have transported some military equipment from Iraq to Syria. Can you confirm that? And do you expect an increase by ISIS if you do, will you forces in Syria, and also, your local partners?
MS. SINGH: Well, I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals there, but I can say that, again, our mission is very focused in Syria. It is to ensure the defeat of ISIS. That is something that we continue to do with our partners in the region. It’s something that we’re focused on, and I’ll just leave it at that. I’ll just leave it at that.
Q: Last one.
MS. SINGH: OK.
Q: Last week there were some people from delegation (inaudible), and the Department of Defense officials and they discussed with the Minister of Peshmerga (inaudible) And what’s your comment on this reform? On the Peshmerga forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?
MS. SINGH: I just don’t have anything more to offer at this time on what you’re referring to.
Q: The counteroffensive in Ukraine…
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: The Pentagon’s assessment, how it’s been going thus far. People have been too optimistic about they’re expecting, you know, an unrealistic outcome this early in the fight?
MS. SINGH: I think our assessments have been pretty clear from the beginning. I think, you know, we know, as you’re continuing to see the fight that it continued to move to the east, it’s become more of a grinding battle every day. You saw that in Bakhmut. The Ukrainians can speak to their operations and more to the day-to-day on what’s happening on the ground. But we know this is going to be a hard fight. We know this is going to take time, and we are confident that the Ukrainians have what they need. They have the combat power. They have the ability to be successful in their — in their counteroffensive operations. We see them launching both defensive and offensive operations right now. But I would let them speak to more of that.
Q: Questions on two topics.
MS. SINGH: Sure.
Q: First on the submersible, when did the conversations between the Navy and the Coast Guard begin to figure out what assets to send? Because we’re now two days later, and it seems like the clock is very much ticking here. Why the delay there? And then the other question on the Senator Tuberville holds. Have you asked or urged members of the Senate to go, at least in some cases like the nominee for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, simply to go for a floor vote in that and just bypass Tuberville in that case?
MS. SINGH: So on the first one, I believe conversations between the Navy and Coast Guard began this weekend. Again, the Coast Guard is in charge of this mission, so when they request support or help in the assistance of search and rescue, that is what we are doing. That’s what we’re providing. But for when those conversations began, I believe they began this weekend.
In terms of Senator Tuberville and the holds specifically, that is really on Senate procedure, and we can go down a very long path on how Senate procedure works, not that I particularly want to do it. But that is really a question for the Senate and how they decide to conduct their business.
Yes, the chairman is one of those holds. It is very important that we have a seated confirmed chairman in the position when Chairman Milley leaves. But there are so many other positions that also are important and require Senate confirmation.
We know that these holds are going to have a ripple effect throughout the department, and we’re talking about with 852 general and flag officers, 650 that are up for confirmation just by the end of the year. I think Senator Tuberville certainly understands the importance of having a team, a cohesive team together to be able to confront the challenges, the day-to-day challenges that this building faces. And so we would hope and we would urge that he lift his hold.
Q: But has there been any discussions with the senator or the administration on at least in the case of the top officer, moving his to a floor vote and bypassing Tuberville? Sure, the hold is on him, but at least in the case of the top officer, you’re two, three months away from having an acting.
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: Why — is there consideration or discussion around going a floor vote on that?
MS. SINGH: Well, I’m not going to get into private conversations between our office andand senators, but what I will say is that we are urging the hold to be lifted the blanket hold to be lifted on all of our general and flag officers. Great.
Q: I have a bunch of questions. You talked about the $6.2 billion evaluation.
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: I don’t expect you to know this off the top of your head, but can you get a written answer in terms of where that $6.2 billion is going to be spent now? This is all PDA money, I assume.
MS. SINGH: This is all PDA money. We wouldn’t have it broken down. It would just be money that’s reallocated into presidential drawdown packages.
Q: Yes. Can you check to see if there’s going to be specific line items that they’re going to use the money for?
MS. SINGH: We would not. It’s another pot of money that we have access to, so when we have our next presidential drawdown package to roll out, it’s not like we’re going to have, like, allocated here, this is $6 billion that we, you know, have found through our reevaluation. It’s just going to go back into the pot of money that we have allocated for the PDAs, and we will roll out the next package when we have that announcement.
Q: I have a question on the House Armed Services Committee markup. In the markup, they cut out funding for a little-known office here called the CAPE, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office.
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: It’s inside baseball to a point, but this is an office that dates back to the 1960s under the McNamara, then 2009, Senators McCain and Levin and Warner all had weapons reforms the agency agreed to.
MS. SINGH: Right.
Q: So this agency looks like it’s going to get whacked by the House Armed Services Committee. What does this agency provide to the Pentagon that, you know, maybe it’s not obvious to someone outside the Beltway?
MS. SINGH: Well, as you mentioned, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office has enjoyed bipartisan support from its founding. CAPE provides unbiased, independent decision support to the secretary and the deputy secretary, and it does so in a way that is transparent and collaborative. CAPE creates options and presents those options to the secretary and deputy secretary to make decisions about the budget and helps inform and guide senior leadership on how to make decisions within this department. These options are also, of course, in con — in consultation with our combatant commanders and our services.
Q: Can you give an example? Like if the Air Force says something’s going to cost “X”, then CAPE would come back and say, “No, it’s going to cost ‘Y’, and you need to get more money in it.”
MS. SINGH: Yeah. I mean, just going back to we’re not commenting on pending legislation here, but again, CAPE is the check to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently and responsibly.
And in terms of, one of the examples that CAPE has done is making sure that our nuclear modernization program is fully funded each year. That’s something that’s incredibly important. We know that we’re going to have to continue to modernize and develop here as a department, and CAPE ensures that we are on pace to get that done.
Q: So they’re in layman’s language, they would tell the Secretary that if a service is just saying that something’s going to cost X, it’s really going to cost a lot more.
MS. SINGH: Or a lot less. Whichever — right.
Q: That’s their value they provide?
MS. SINGH: That’s right. They’re the independent analysis for the department that provides a more holistic view of the budget, I would say.
Q: Can you give us some examples as this markup process plays out?
MS. SINGH: I can do that for you.
Q: Thanks, Sabrina. You mentioned — going back to the submarine rescue, can you clarify something. You mentioned the DOD is providing — has already provided two C-130s and the Air National Guard is going to provide a third C-130.
MS. SINGH: Yes, by the end of today. I don’t know if they have already done so at this time or they will be doing so later today.
Q: The two C-130s, can you say who they belong who those belong to?
MS. SINGH: They’re under the purview of TRANSCOM, so I’d direct any further questions that you might have, I would direct you to TRANSCOM.
Q: OK. And the Air National Guard C-130, do you have the unit that that’s coming from?
MS. SINGH: I do not.
MS. SINGH: Yeah.
Q: Thank you, Sabrina. So you talked about the Ukrainian counter-offensive expressed confidence that they were going to be successful although you said it’s going to take some time and be a tough fight. Considering the losses that they suffered so far. From what we’re seeing on the ground, do you think the Russians are going to be able to adapt or they’re basically adapting? And what are you basing your confidence on? Are you seeing early indication that this counter-offensive is being successful in achieving what they needed to achieve within the first two weeks maybe?
MS. SINGH: Well, I think what I’m reiterating is what you heard from the Secretary and Chairman Milley last week in Brussels, that we believe we have and not just us, I should say. Again, we had a Ukraine Defense Contact Group last week, over 50 partner nations and allies met in pooling efforts and resources together for Ukraine. So this is not just a United States effort, this is a worldwide effort to provide Ukraine what it needs to be successful on the battlefield.
We believe that we have provided Ukraine the systems, the capabilities that they need right now in the fight. We know this is going to be a tough fight. Of course the Russians are going to adapt, as they would have from the beginning of the war of, you know, things that worked, things that didn’t, but so have the Ukrainians.
You’ve heard the Secretary speak about the training that we’ve conducted and continue to conduct overseas. That is helping the Ukrainians in their fight every day, and we believe that what we have supplied them will enable them to be successful on the battlefield.
And we have accounted for losses. We know there are going to be losses on the battlefield. That’s the unfortunate part of this war but it’s something we’ve seen the Ukrainians overcome since the beginning.
And so again, the packages that we provide, they are done in collaboration with the Ukrainians, meeting their needs, finding out what else they need, and making sure that they get that in time on the battlefield.
I can take a few more and then I’ll have to wrap up. Yes?
Q: Hailey Underwood from AFCEA Signal Magazine
MS. SINGH: Great.
Q: Could I just ask about the new NATO-Ukraine Defense Council that’s been proposed? How is the Secretary working to help shape this council? And any considerations you can share about kind of the U.S.’ point of view of how it should be established or look like and be, compared to what the U.S. is providing and NATO allies are providing, as far as support to Ukraine?
MS. SINGH: Just to clarify, are you speaking of NATO — potential accession of Ukraine to NATO?
Q: The preliminary step before that, the NATO-Ukraine Defense Council that’s been announced?
MS. SINGH: So I think the Secretary has said this before and something that we continue to highlight, is every country has its own path when it comes to membership in NATO. We are certainly encouraged by what we are seeing with Sweden, and when it comes to Ukraine, they will have their own path to NATO ascension.
We certainly have. NATO has an open door policy when it comes to membership. What we are focused on here at the department is making sure Ukraine has what it needs on the battlefield today. We are of course committed to its long term efforts but our efforts right now are focused on the security packages that we’re providing, that you see us roll out every week or so, and what we can get to what we can get to them on the battlefield that they need right away. Great.
Yes, right over here?
Q: Hi. I had a budget question as well. House appropriators had moved to cut the multi-year munition request that DOD has said it needs to help prepare for a potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. They said that DOD has not provided enough information. Has DOD been back to Congress to sort of walk them through the cost savings and sort of the process of getting to these contracts?
MS. SINGH: So in terms of — again, it’s hard to comment on pending legislation, so I’m going to refrain from that. The department is of course in touch with Congress and are working with them to address what we need in — in the budget. And so I won’t get ahead of any of those conversations happening.
And pending legislation is, again, hard to comment on, but I think Congress is well aware of the pacing challenge that the PRC proposes to the U.S. military and our country. And so we are continuing to modernize, we are continuing to meet that challenge, but I just don’t have more to add at this point.
Q: Can you address what impact this would have on readiness in the production base if you do not receive the dollars to move forward with these contracts?
MS. SINGH: Well, I think that’s a great question but I am just not going to engage in hypotheticals right now. Thank you.
Yes, at the back?
Q: Thank you.
The submersible. Is DOD preparing for a potential deployment of underwater drones to aid with that effort? And is that some — is that type of assistance something that DOD has offered the Coast Guard?
MS. SINGH: I just don’t have more to provide at this time. We’re working closely with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is the lead for this mission right now. You know, we’re of course thinking of those onboard the submersible and their families, and we are doing everything we can right now to provide air search and support.
If that, you know, changes, if our mission evolves, I’d be happy to update you, but at this time right now, again, we’re working with the Coast Guard. They are the lead on this and — and we’ll continue to support. Great.
I’ll go to Mike and then I’ll — this will be the last one.
Q: Sure. You commented about the story in The Intercept magazine about the Pentagon Protective Service Battalion monitoring social media to run down tweets about General Milley and the other top military brass here. Can you comment on that at all? Is that true or not or …
MS. SINGH: I just don’t have any comment for that. I’m sorry, I haven’t seen the reporting on that. Great.
Thanks, all. We will wrap this up for today.