Department Of Defense Press Briefing by Secretary Mattis and General Dunford in the Pentagon Briefing Room
Secretary Of Defense James N. Mattis; Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford.
This is a large article with broad coverage so a few highlights are emphasised
First, on building a more lethal force, we have no room for complacency in any domain. We recognize cyberspace and outer space as warfighting domains on par with air, land and sea. And these two domains, cyberspace and outer space, were made contested domains by the actions of others, so as a result we have elevated Cyber Command to full combatant command status and we have worked with Congress and the White House to define the evolving space problem that we confront.

In other adaptations, we've established a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to experiment new concepts while drawing synergy from separate programs for this potentially game-changing capability. We have created the Close Combat Lethality Task Force to accelerate the fielding of advanced equipment and to train our warfighters at the speed of relevance for the battlefield they confront.

We have released our Nuclear Posture Review outlining the necessary steps we are taking to strengthen America's nuclear deterrents so these weapons are never used, nuclear war being a war that cannot be won and must never be fought.

And at the same time we are working with the Department of State to determine how to advance arms control where possible.
We are working with Colombia, Ecuador and others to schedule our hospital ship, the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort, to help our friends dealing with millions of poor Venezuelans fleeing their country, as we witness the human cost of Maduro's increasingly isolated regime. And we will stand with those people and our friends.
Twenty-five nations participated in this year's RIMPAC exercise hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the largest naval exercise in the world. It was emblematic of the refreshed military relationships in that the Chilean navy commanded the maritime element and this is the first time a Latin American country, in the history of this exercise, has done so.

We also continue to work closely with allies as our diplomats lead the effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. We keep a clear-eyed view of the challenges, working together in support of the unanimous U.N. Security Council resolutions to economically sanction the DPRK. The sanction enforcement patrols today are international patrols.
A recent statement by a Taliban leader made specific mention of negotiations as a way to bring, and I quote here, "an end to the war," unquote. This one of the most forward-leaning statements made yet by a Taliban supreme leader, even as they conduct attacks designed to garner press attention, costing lives, and they are now stripped, however, of any religious guise for an inhumane campaign against the Afghan people.
On Yemen, we support our partner Saudi Arabia's sovereign right to self-defense, and we recognize the end of the conflict requires a political solution.
We're also conducting air and maritime operations to disrupt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel in violation of U.N. sanctions against the DPRK, and we're doing this in conjunction with allies and partners.
In Africa Command, approximately 7,200 U.S. forces are supporting thousands more African military partners in providing for their own security and conducting counterterrorist operations against ISIS and al-Qaida affiliates
DUNFORD. Sure, I -- I -- I could start with that.

I think you know that there's one major area in the Middle Euphrates River Valley that still has a significant ISIS presence. So in the near-term, working with our Syrian Democratic Forces, we're working to clear that one remaining area in the Euphrates River Valley.

But what's really important, and I mentioned it briefly in my opening statement, is training the security forces necessary to stabilize those areas that have already been cleared of ISIS, and that is -- that is going to take some time to do that.

With -- with regard to the importance of stabilization funding, that is very important. That's why Secretary Pompeo has been engaging with regional actors, other -- other regional actors, to contribute to the stabilization funds, to get the basic services -- the water, the electricity, the jobs and those kinds of things established in those towns. That's distinct from reconstruction, which is a longer-term endeavor, and -- and we won't be ready to talk about reconstruction until there's a political solution.
On Iran, Iran has been put on notice that the continued mischief they've caused around the area, the murder that they have caused, the support from Syria, and what they're doing with Assad, the threats about the Straits of Hormuz, the support to the Houthis with the missiles that are being fired into Saudi Arabia, or the -- the Iranian-supplied UAVs that are being flown against international airports -- that this is not tolerant -- tolerated by us, and they're going to be held to account for it.
On Twitter Jeremy Binnie highlighted this when he said:
Last week SecDef Mattis appeared to contradict the UAE's denials that Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports were attacked with UAVs on 26 July and 27 August
Q: We have seen many media reports saying -- contacts between Israel and Russia to create, like, a security zone along the northern border of Israel, 60 to 80 kilometers inside Syrian territories. To -- to have this zone out of any fear of any Iranian --

SEC. MATTIS: Okay, so what -- what's your question?

Q: So my question is do you think this will happen?

SEC. MATTIS: You'll have to ask Israel and Russia on that one.
Q: How do you see the situation regarding Turkish arms purchases of the S-400? Are they -- are they continuing with that?

SEC. MATTIS: Well, Turkey has a choice to make, a sovereign decision to make. But clearly Turkey bringing a Russian anti-aircraft, anti-missile system into a NATO country, we cannot integrate that into -- into NATO. Yes, it does concern us, and we -- we do not recommend that.
{Korea} SEC. MATTIS: No, we're not turning them back off -- back on. They've never been turned off.

We turned off several to make a good-faith effort. We are going to see how the negotiations go, and then we'll calculate the future, how we go forward. I mean, this is about as straightforward as I can put it. I --
As far as Pakistan goes, the secretary of state and the chairman are going to fly in to Islamabad to meet with the -- the new government that's in place there now. And to make very clear what we have to do, all of our nations, in meeting our common foe, the terrorists. And make -- make that a primary part of the discussion.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. (inaudible) from Turkish Radio Television. I have a questions for both of you, particularly Mr. General.

First of all, you will deliver a report to Congress in 90 days regarding Turkey, the relations with Turkey, and the current situation about Turkey. What is the Turkey's importance about F-35 fighter jet program? And in the means of Incirlik base and some other means, what is the importance of Turkey, and what news will you deliver to Congress?

And for you, Mr. General, when do YPG give totally give control from Manbij?

SEC. MATTIS: Yeah. As -- as far as Turkey goes, we are working on a number of issues. I have open consultations. I was on the phone with the minister of defense of Turkey yesterday, I think it was, day before -- yesterday, I guess it was. And we had very candid discussions, we're working our way forward.

For example, as the chairman mentioned earlier on the Manbij situation, the training equipment has arrived in Ankara, and we're getting close to actually getting this process to a point that it's enabling the combined patrols. We're already waving each other across the line. Soon, we'll be patrolling together -- very confident of that.

So we continue to work on these kind of issues, but I can't give you an update on all of them right now because we're working them as we speak.

GEN. DUNFORD: You -- you asked about -- you asked about the YPG. The vast majority of the YPG are east of the Euphrates River. There's very few YPG left in Manbij, if any. Part of the -- part of the planning that we're doing with the Turks right now is to, one, start those independent patrols we spoke about, move to combine patrols, and then, there'll be a vetting process to make sure the security in Manbij is provided, and the governance in Manbij is provided by people who are from Manbij, regardless of what their ethnicity is.

Posted by: 3dc 2018-09-03