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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Deputy Director for Regional Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brig. Gen. John Campbell June 04, 2008

DoD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Campbell from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington, Va

GEN. CAMPBELL: Good morning. Brigadier General Campbell, I'm the deputy director for Regional Operations. Thanks for coming out this morning. Got a few quick comments, and then I'd like to -- I'd like to field all your questions.

First off, I think you've seen the reports, just like to talk about JTF Caring Response in Burma, and that the decision has been made that the Essex will start steaming tomorrow and move back toward Thailand, will off-load its supplies, pick back up personnel, and then will continue on with its operational commitments that were suspended when it went to help out this humanitarian effort.

In Pakistan, the chairman has been in Pakistan for two days now. He's been meeting with military leaders, showing the importance of our relationship there and discussing our mutual interest in terrorism and how we can work that together. And I think we can give you -- I'll take any questions on that as well.

On Iraq, I think you've heard General Lynch. You've heard General Hammond this week and then General Bergman this morning come out that the number of incidents and attacks in Iraq have continued to go down. The month of May was the lowest number of incidents in the last four years. Both EFPs and IED numbers continue to go down. The trend is looking very well. We've had the third ID with General Lynch switched out with Major General Mike Oates and the 10th Mountain Division in MND-Center, and so they've assumed control of their area of operations.

The Iraqi security forces continue to make great strides. I think a year ago, when I was there in June '07, they had about 400,000 Iraqi security forces. That number, at the end of May, was 559,000. So that continues to look good.

I think for the first time that I can remember the government of Iraq has control of three strategic cities: Basra, Sadr City and Mosul. And that's all good.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Medal of Honor, Hall of Heroes induction for Ross McGinnis. I'd just like to tell everybody listening out there we need to remember the sacrifice that Ross made and all our soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors do every single day.

But it was a great honor to be able to attend that.

Ross McGinnis was working in an Adhamiya on the 4th of December, 2006, I think, as everybody knows, happened to be under MND-Baghdad when I was there. Great, great sacrifice. But it was very good to see his family and many of the soldiers from 126 of Blue Spaders yesterday. So it was a great honor to do that. But then -- I'd just like to throw that out.

And with that, I'll take any of your questions. Bob?

Q General, a quick thing on the Essex. Is it still scheduled to make a Hong Kong visit?

And a separate question on Admiral Mullen's visit to Pakistan: Can you get into some of the subject areas he's discussing? For example, is he discussing making any kind of changes or additions to U.S. training efforts inside Pakistan?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Okay. First, on the Essex, it'll start steaming tomorrow. It takes about five or six days to get around to the Bay of Thailand there. It'll off-load the humanitarian supplies that we were unable to off-load in the last couple of weeks that have been out on the ship. It'll pick up personnel that have been there, and then it'll continue on with its operational commitments.

I'm not sure of the port visits, of where it'll go from there, but it had a schedule that it was following prior to this. As you know, it's based out of Japan and eventually will go back and get to home base back out in Japan. I think we can get the information for you on the exact dates for the port visit for you. And once again, that's all based on a decision with Admiral Keating, the chairman, the secretary of Defense that we will not be able -- we were not going to get access to Burma, and so we'll continue.

The C-130 flights have been going in about five to six per day; will continue for a while here. And I think we've committed to doing that until there's a viable air bridge that the Asian -- the nations are using over there. So that'll stay on.

As far as Pakistan, I have not talked to anybody traveling with the chairman's party yet on Pakistan. I know that he was meeting just with military leaders over there. And it's his third trip, I think, in the last three months. He had one in February, one in March and this one right here -- really mil-to-mil cooperation, trying to determine other ways that we can work together -- mutual concern, issues with terrorism. I'm sure they talked the FATA piece. I think, as you know, we do have a small number of trainers that are working with the Pakistanis, not in the FATA but inside Pakistan. And I'm sure they're taking a look at everything over -- dealing with terrorism, Pakistan relationships with Afghanistan, but I have not been debriefed or talked to anybody in the chairman's party yet.


Q On the Essex again, the PACOM statement quoted Admiral Keating saying that there 48 hours and that they would still be ready to do any assistance the government agreed to. That kind of sounded like a ticking clock; it's your last chance. Is there a diplomatic outreach to make it clear to the government of Burma that the ships are there, but they're leaving; please reconsider?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Well, I think, for the last several weeks, there's been at least 15 times I know of that we've made engagements, with the regime there in Burma, to try to make them understand that we have this great capability, just sitting offshore and has a great capability to help the people of Burma.

And so I think they've been on notice that after some point in time, they will leave. That's public knowledge now, that they will leave. But Admiral Keating did say that if needed and if asked to go back, then we can certainly turn those ships around and do that.

And I don't think there's a 48-hour, 72-hour piece on that. But I think they just wanted to make sure everybody understood that we have this great capability, has not been used yet.

They will offload the supplies that they had in Thailand. Those supplies will eventually get into Burma. But once again he'll go with C-130 or charter aircraft, not with helicopters, getting out into some of the really bad areas that C-130s can get to.

Q What has been the impact of -- peace agreements have been reached with the militants in the FATA -- on operations in Afghanistan? Has there been an increase in attacks? And is that an issue Admiral Mullen is going to be raising with his counterpart?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Once again I don't know the exact issues that Admiral Mullen is working in Pakistan or has worked here in the last two days.

I would tell you, the treaty piece of it, as you know, Pakistan is a sovereign country that will make deals and treaties with their neighbors. I don't have the specifics on those. As far as the impact that it has on Afghanistan and the fighting, I don't want to speculate on that.

I would tell you that the Marines -- I think you all know the 24th MEU is over there. We've seen great reports on the effectiveness that they've had against the Taliban in RC South where they've been working, down in Helmand province.

They've been in operation there for like the last month and a half. So that continues to do well. So from that perspective, it's working well. But I don't know the correlation between any kind of treaties that Pakistan would have.

Q (Off mike) -- attack activity along the border?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think what I've seen is where we have soldiers, our attacks, or as you put additional folks over there, and we put the Marines in there, the number of attacks has risen up.

I think we can get the exact numbers for you, based on where we were last year to this year, on the number of attacks. And I think there has been a trend that there are an increased number of attacks.

I've seen reports -- some along the border, and some have said in the interior of Afghanistan, more in Helmand and RC South, Regional Command South, where the Marines are. But that may be a function of -- you have more Marines on the ground; it's going to cause more attacks there. But they've been very effective, from what I've seen in the reports, against the Taliban.


Q Different topic. I understand that Admiral Mullen has taken some steps to try and get the Joint Staff and the military to thinking about the presidential transition, even in advance of formal nominees or anything. Can you bring us up to date? What has Admiral Mullen asked the Joint Staff to do? How is the U.S. military getting ready for a presidential transition?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Well, I think it's like anything else: prudent planning. We know that there will be some sort of change. Admiral Mullen has just gone out and has formed a task force. I do not believe they have met with Admiral Mullen yet or that the task force officially has been stood up by name. But I think we're going to look at areas that the military will want to make sure that we have a reasonable expectation that a new administration coming in would have knowledge on. So I think we'll take a look at all those different areas, provide that to Admiral Mullen, and he'll have an opportunity to discuss that.

Q Well, could I just ask you perhaps for -- just to sort of step back for a minute, a little bit more specificity? Could you just kind of walk us through what are the topics that this group will look at? And when does the military expect to start briefing either nominees, or wait until there's a president-elect?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I have not seen a schedule on when any briefings will start. I also have not seen a list of topics. But I think prudently we would talk, you know, the things that we just talked here today -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, those type of topics that the military is always involved in. But once again, I have not seen any kind of topics raised. I've not been part of that task force that's been formed. And once again, I do not believe they have met with Admiral Mullen yet, and I'm not sure they've even had their first meeting. But I know that is on his mind, and he's tasked the director and the Joint Staff to follow through with that.

Q What's your read on -- considering that attacks are way down, Iraqi security forces are up -- you said 559,000 -- and not only numbers, but seemingly effectiveness is up as well. Does this make it more likely that we'll be able to see some significant troop withdrawals later in the year? What's your -- I know that's a decision down the road --

GEN. CAMPBELL: As you know, it's all conditions-based.

And General Petraeus will make that decision in consultation with General Austin on the ground there as time goes on. We are continuing to go to plan. We've reduced the 4-2 Stryker regiments -- come out here on the 1st of June. They have their transfer of authority. That brings us down one more brigade. There'll be another brigade that comes out in July time frame. That'll bring us down to 15 brigades.

And as General Petraeus and the chairman have said before, there will be a period of time for assessment. I think one of the metrics that we'll take a look at is the Iraqi security forces and how we can move them around and their capacity. I think everything we've seen -- and from the time that I spent over there from July of 2006 to when I left in December 2007, Iraqi security forces -- their capacity continued to grow every single day.

And the one area that we've always talked about, they continue to work on, is sustainment. I think we've done some great strides there, but I will -- I do think that we'll take a look at the Iraqi security forces, where we can move them around -- not only the Iraqi army but the National Police. And then there's been a great program here in the last eight or nine months to build up the Iraqi police, who eventually -- the government of Iraq will want to turn over the security in their cities to the Iraqi police. And that's a little ways off, but I think their capacity continues to grow.

Q And where are we on the National Police? Because it wasn't that long ago that we were hearing proposals for dissolving the national police, they were in such disarray.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yeah. That was probably last summer time frame, when there was some issues. And I think if you remember back to when General Thurman was there and then General Odierno, they made the decision to take the National Police and pull a brigade off-line and then send them to a month of training, sort of to "re-blue" them. That process has been completed. Everywhere that they took a brigade off, sent them down for a month of training -- indeed, when they brought them back up and then linked them up with the National Police Transition Teams, they continued to get better. I have seen no reports since I've been back here, and as I was leaving in December there were no reports to dissolve the National Police at all.

I think they've -- the one thing they did do, I think as you understand, is the Baghdad security -- the BOC, the Baghdad Operational Command, underneath General Abboud, took the Iraqi army, the National Police and Iraqi police and kind of combined them together. That had never happened before. So we had the Iraqi army under the MOD and the Iraqi National Police underneath the MOI and then the IPs or the Iraqi police under the MOI kind of doing their own thing. Now they've been merged together, not only in Baghdad but all over. You've seen that with General Riyadh up in Mosul. I think you've also seen that in Basra.

The National Police used to be all around Baghdad. They'd have a couple battalions up in Samarra, maybe one down south. But I think you saw when they went to Basra that the prime minister made the decision to be able to move the National Police. And I think with General Hussein, who's a National Police commander, he was able to take brigades and move them very quickly to different parts of Iraq. And I think they want to continue to do that.

But bottom line, I've seen nothing that says the national police is going to dissolve.


Q There's been a huge increase of foreign military sales to Iraq in the last year, about $3 billion worth of contracts, at one point $6 billion actually paid for M-16s and humvees. Prior to 2006, how were the Iraqis getting weapons? Was the U.S. government simply giving them to them? How would you describe this change of relationship? Is there a risk involved in terms of selling so many weapons? I mean, they're going to nearly double the amount of weapons sold to even Saudi Arabia, which is the second -- right now, the first largest buyer of U.S. weapons.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Foreign military sales is way outside my lane. I don't get into that, so I can't answer that. But I can tell you from practical experience, I was there when they made the decision to provide the Iraqi army the M-16 versus the AK-47. I think, as you know -- and you've been over there -- that everybody in Iraqi has weapons in all the households. The government really tries to control it by putting one weapon per household, by trying to register the weapons, and that has helped.

But there was a training issue with the M-16. The Iraqi Army took that on with the transition teams. They worked that in different parts of the country, first up in Taji, and then they moved it down to the south. A little bit harder to maintain an M-16, but the weapon that you get is much, much better, I think, once you're trained on it. So the Iraqi army was not put out on the streets, just given an M-16 and said, there you go, figure this out. They came into a formal education piece, went through, I think, about a week, five days worth of training with the transition teams, and then they continued to work with them. But that was just personal experience I had with that. The other FMS questions, I'd have to defer and come back to you on them.

Q Was there trouble when you were out there with receiving ammunition? Because we often heard that there were weapons sent, but no ammunition.

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think initially, with the sustainment process that they had, not only with M-16 ammo but with their own ammo, they had some issues initially. And what I saw is they worked all that out. I never saw an instance where -- I mean, the commanders raise it up. They bring it up through the Iraqi channels, also through the coalition force channels. And like any new piece of equipment, even when the coalition forces get something new, there's always going to be some bugs that you work through. And I think, what I saw, the Iraqis did very well with it.


Q General, to what do you attribute the reduction in incidents and EFP attacks and IED attacks?

GEN. CAMPBELL: You know, I think both the IEDs and the EFPs, we've been finding a lot more, been very aggressive, both the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces, and found a lot more caches.

And so when you find the caches, both of EFPs and IEDs -- and we can get those numbers to you -- it just takes away the source that they have to be able to put out there.

So the other thing is, with the Iraqi security forces continuing to grow, with the coalition forces as we flooded the zone, sort of, moved out the joint security stations and combat outposts, you had a 24/7 presence out there and it's a lot harder to put these things out as you continue to patrol. So I think that combination has helped.

The other thing would be, as you're all aware, the Concerned Local Citizens now, the Sons of Iraq. In the past they would be fearful to provide that information to either the Iraqis or the coalition forces because of fear of retribution, but now the number of tips that the Iraqis are -- the local Iraqis are turning in both to the Iraqi security forces and to the coalition forces has just gone sky high. So I think all of those have continued to help out.

Plus I think the final thing is just experience. The longer you're on the ground, both the Iraqi security forces training with our folks and the coalition forces, the longer you're there and you have guys that are second, third tours, they understand the indicators, where they put them, and they just get better and better. So you'll see the number of caches found and the number of IEDs and EFPs found much, much higher.

Q I think there were efforts last year to try to intercept potentially what officials have said were EFP parts, at least, coming from Iran. Can you give us any kind of update in terms of how much success you've had in intercepting those shipments?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think -- and that's been an ongoing issue. I think it's no secret that the EFP, especially, is a weapon that we know is coming to the special groups from Iran. Just like the national police, just like the Iraqi police, just like the Iraqi army, we're putting greater emphasis on the transition teams with the border police. And so I think MND-Center, and I think general Lynch talked a little bit about that as well, they put a lot more emphasis on the border police, and I think that's going to help on the overall.

I don't have any figures or statistics to give you on how many have been found at the borders. I know as I was there, the Iraqis would have meetings on how to improve the security along the borders. There was a lot of talk about getting technology to help out on the borders. They did have some in and around Baghdad with vehicles, as you know, that go through checkpoints to check for x-ray-type vehicles that are out there. And they're going to try to get more of those on the border to also help out. I can't tell you how much that has helped out. My intuition tells me that it has, though.

Q (Off mike) -- that some of this reduction might be due to folks, you know, special groups who are just laying low, for instance, and still have caches available but, for political reasons or whatever, are staying out of -- (off mike)?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yeah, there are reports. And I think as you go into Sadr City or you go into Basra or even into Mosul, that when they know a force is coming in, both the Iraqi and the coalition forces are going to be coming in and try to do a search of that particular area, a lot of the insurgents there will lay low, will go to ground or they will leave.

It's no secret that if they stand and fight, they don't have a chance. And they understand that; they're not stupid. So they will get out of town. Now whether or not they come back or, you know, wait a time and come back or pick up those caches, I can't tell. But just the trends right now for the IEDs and EFPs are continuing to (go low ?).


Q Sir, can you provide us an update on the concerned local citizens in terms of how many of them are being folded in or are going to be folded into the ISF? And are we extending our contracts? I assume the U.S. continues to pay them.

GEN. CAMPBELL: The numbers I saw the other day, we got up to -- the highest was about 103,000 for the Sons of Iraq, is what was working. Now, that's down now in the last couple weeks, starting to go down, to about 80,000. Out of that 80,000, I think there's about -- I want to say the number's about 15,000; we can get the right number for you -- that are going to assimilate into the Iraqi security force. The other numbers are working programs to get them into local jobs. So the intent, initially, was to bring them in. They would help security, but then not just let them go and have no job for them. Then we're back to ground zero.

So there's a lot of different programs. A lot of different districts are different and work in a different way. There's a -- I know in Rashid, when I was there, they had a program that would bring them in, and they would send certain ones to technical school. So they'd do the Sons of Iraq piece, they'd work for six months, and they'd send them to school, and they would come back and give them a job inside that area. So there's a lot of programs that the government of Iraq is working right now to make sure that we don't -- those 103,000, we just don't stop their -- the money they've been getting per month and then just send them back out.

Q (Off mike) -- continue to pay them for the foreseeable future?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think increasingly the government of Iraq is picking that bill up. I don't know the exact number, but the intent was always that the commanders on the ground use CERP funds initially to get that started, and then the government of Iraq has had to pick that up. So -- and that's going to be a gradual process. And they have been picking up some of that bill.

Q As the C-130 flights continue into Myanmar, does the U.S. have any new assurances or evidence that the humanitarian aid that's going in every day is actually getting out to people in need, to Irrawaddy Delta, and that the junta is not just hoarding it or giving it to friendlies?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I know there's NGOs on the ground. The U.N is working that. I don't believe that the U.S. have folks that are able to get out into the delta areas to be able to determine that. I know there's been talks. I don't want to speak for General Goodman, the JTF commander. I don't have personal knowledge of that, only the reports that I've read -- is that there is a concern that the supplies aren't getting to the right people. I don't know the numbers.

We would hope, once again, that the regime would open up and allow access for all the nongovernmental organizations to be able to get out there, to use other modes of transport, helicopter, per se, to be able to get there. They did allow or they are going to allow 10 U.N. helicopters to be able to get in the country and to move around the country.

A couple days ago, I saw that only one, maybe two of those helicopters are in country right now, and I do not know if they've started flights.

The other eight are coming from other countries, working through the U.N -- not U.S. helicopters -- to be able to come in there and move supplies from Yangon really out to the delta areas.

Q And will they do any search and rescue, or will they just be moving humanitarian supplies?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I don't know the scope. I think right now would be mostly moving humanitarian supplies. I think if they get instances where they have knowledge and they have to do any search-and-rescue type operations, they will do that. But at this point in time, I think the priority really is on getting the food in there and humanitarian supplies out to the people.

Q Can you give us an update on efforts to train the Frontier Corps in Pakistan? Has the training begun? If not, has the training course actually been -- (inaudible) -- chosen and built out?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I don't have that information. I know that we have a very small number of folks over there that are assigned to that mission. I don't know the extent of where they are exactly, what posts they're set up on or what they're going to work on that. I think we can come back and get that information for you, though. We'll take that.

Q You know, in terms of a quieting of violence in Baghdad and Basra, any sign that the Iranians are playing a role in that -- in terms of quieting things down?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I mean there are EFPs and we continue to find EFPs -- not EFPs -- I mean, not their presence or -- maybe not their presence, but their influence on those are certainly there. We know that the special groups cannot do EFPs if they didn't have the financial backing and the supplies from Iran. So I think that is still there.

Whether or not they've gone down to ground because the numbers and the trend have gone downward, I don't think we can just attribute to Iran saying, "Hey, we're going to lay low." I think it's a combination of those factors I talked about with the Iraqi security forces, their capability, their ability to find these things is much higher. The tips that they're getting from the people is much higher. I wouldn't speculate on the Iran piece, though.

Q General Campbell, I don't know if you're familiar with -- there were press reports out of the U.K. earlier this week -- a human rights group there said that the U.S. Navy in the war on terror had been running what they called "floating Navy prison ships." If you're familiar with that report --

GEN. CAMPBELL: I'm saw one open press report.

Q What I wanted to ask you is the Navy -- I mean, it's generally been acknowledged that there were at least two cases where suspects in the war on terror were seized and briefly held aboard U.S. Navy ships at the time in the -- (inaudible) -- but these people are alleging that it's much broader and much deeper than that.

Can you tell us -- or take the question -- when is the -- not pirates off the Horn of Africa, but actual suspects in the war on terror -- when is the last time the U.S. Navy held any of these people on board its ships? How many have been held over time, even briefly? And if these people are transferred then to Guantanamo Bay, which is what the allegation is, does that not mean that they've already stepped foot on U.S. territory, if they've in fact been on Navy ships? Can you just bring us up to date on this whole issue?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yeah, I think I'm going to have to take that and take it for the record, come back to you. I don't have the answer to those. I saw the open press report that you mentioned. You know, really the only thing I can say about that is that the Navy ships are not designed to be in a prison system. So we'll have to come back to that. I don't know the answer.

Q And briefly, related -- the United Nations took action this week to -- I'm going to say it wrong -- allow warships to go into Somali territorial waters to take pirates and criminals into -- which is something the U.S. military has been looking to do. Will the U.S. Navy now take advantage of that decision by the United Nations, and will U.S. Navy ships begin entering Somali waters to chase down suspect pirate activity?

GEN. CAMPBELL: I asked the same question this morning. So I've gone to CENTCOM and asked them what the -- what this U.N. mandate will have, what effect it will on their operational posture. I don't know the answer.

I would say we are pleased that the U.N. has taken the piracy thing -- you know, sees it as a very important issue, which they have by passing this mandate.

As far as operational impacts on the U.S. and other countries that are out there trying to stop the piracy, I don't know the specifics, but we can come back to you on that as well.


Q General, can I ask you about the enablers that went in with the surge forces? I think there was about an additional 10,000 that went in with the combat brigades. Have they been rotated out, or has there been a request for forces so that their numbers can be augmented for the foreseeable future? Because it seems that we were told that even after the surge drawdown, that we were still going to be at 140,000 troops.

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know, I think everybody understands that the surge brigades will come out. Four of them are on the -- three of them are out; 4/2 Stryker is on the way out. They -- it's going to have their transfer of authority on the 1st of June. There will be one more brigade that comes out.

The enablers that go with that brigade, that are assigned to that brigade come out with that brigade. When they do their 12-month or 15-month rotation, then they should come out.

Now, as far as when you move a brigade out of a battlespace, there are other enablers that will probably need to be used. And that's been talked about before, whether it's ISR, whether it's other logistical-type enablers, will they continue to be an enduring presence?

And I think that's something that MNF-I and MNC-I have to be able to work out. But I think, as we've talked in the past, the number piece of this, when you say a brigade, that includes its, you know, organic pieces of that. And some of those are enablers.

But as you pull out, I think the intent would be for other coalition units to assume some of that battlespace; Iraqi security forces for sure to come in and assume that. And then I think they're going to have to work out how those enablers are spread out through that.

(Cross talk.)

Q I mean, there were the MPs that went in. There was a helicopter unit specifically that went in, in addition to the five BCTs.

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think as surge brigades went in, when they came in, they needed some additional enablers that they don't have in the BCT.

Now, under modernization, the BCTs are really pretty huge and have great, great capacity that we never had before. But there were some things that had to come in. And I think for the most part, we're going to have to take a look at that. And the commanders on the ground have to make an assessment that they still need those, once those brigades come out. In some areas, they may need those. In some areas they may not need those, depending upon how they remove or relook at that battlespace.

A lot of the areas too, I think, down in the South and a couple places up in the North, the PIC, the provincial in-control piece, have been moved up. So I think a lot of those that we thought, when I was there, was going to be moving out probably a year past or maybe the end of '08, those have been moved up a little bit. So that's all good.

Okay. Last question.

Q What's our number today? What's our current number?

GEN. CAMPBELL: Number of people on the ground -- I don't have that off the top of my head. We can get that for you though.

Q Is 140 still the target for the end of July? The Joint Staff said, a couple months ago, 140 was --

GEN. CAMPBELL: Yeah. 142, I think, was the latest number. That had gone out a couple weeks ago, was around that time frame. And once again we continue to assess that. And that decision will be made on the ground there. But that was a rough figure number.

Q End of July.

GEN. CAMPBELL: I think it was the end of July, right. It was close to, I think, 140. But the number I saw was 142.

Q (Off mike) -- once the U.S. gets down to 142, end of July, early August, that some of those enablers that have gone in may not have to be replaced, because they won't need that additional logistical help.


What I'm saying is that the five surge brigades who come out, those units that are assigned to those BCTs should come out with those BCTs. As they relook the battlefield geometry on the ground, there may be enablers that they don't have there that, as they move other additional coalition forces or Iraqi security forces over there, that they may have to move around the battlefield or add. I don't know -- (inaudible) -- (add them ?).

But, you know, we're committed -- once that they pull out coalition forces, the Iraqi security forces will assume portions of the battlespace. There are still some things that they don't have, right? The joint fires that we bring to the fight. The ISR that we bring to the fight. The medevac that we bring to the fight. Those are enablers that the Iraqi security forces do not have, some sustainment things they don't have. And I think the coalition forces are committed to making sure, you know, that we just don't pick up from an area and leave without them having what they have to do. And the commanders on the ground will be able to do that.

Okay. Thank you very much for your time and patience.


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