Quotes from the news wire:
This is not a sum total of the deterrence actions we will take or those to reassure our allies, we stand united. We have said that repeatedly. We say it again today. These movements are unmistakable signals to the world that we stand ready to reassure our NATO allies and deter and defend against any aggression.
The secretary heard from personnel across the force about the need to update and clarify this policy during the standdowns that he directed earlier this year, that was one of the common bits of feedback that we got, was that they wanted more clarity. And so we tried to do that with this new instruction.
Our civilian workers here, they take their jobs very seriously, they take their obligations to their families and their coworkers very seriously and I think we have every expectation that they too will continue to seek and pursue getting vaccinated, there are a range of administrative tools that leaders here at Defense Department would have to make sure that our civilian workers are likewise getting the vaccine.
The fact that we are flying overwatch missions now, and have been since the 14th – we were actually doing it before the 14th, force protection is a high priority, and we’re going to have at our disposal all the assets and resources necessary to make sure we can accomplish this mission safely and efficiently, just like we were accomplishing the previous mission of drawdown safely and efficiently.
What worries me is that the President's decision space gets further limited and smaller, some of it is of his own doing and the fact that his own team is not on the same page but also now the Iranians are closing that decision space and they are pushing him into a corner and I don't think that is good for anybody.
I would think the Trump administration could -- if they choose -- cite the principle of self-defense under the UN Charter and conduct operations accordingly, but those operations would have to be proportional to the threat -- a threat that has now been made more challenging by the sophistication of Iranian air defenses.
What worries me is that the President's decision space gets further limited and smaller, some of it is of his own doing and the fact that his own team is not on the same page, but also now the Iranians are closing that decision space and they are pushing him into a corner, and I don't think that is good for anybody.
If I had posted something about John Kirby like this on social media, Secretary Kerry would have -- rightly -- been incensed. I might even have been fired, my account -- which is a personal account, where I say my personal take on anything from government-related to news-related topics -- is my specific point of view. But it is also consistent with our policy of pointing out the Iranian regime's excesses and misrepresentations and malign activities.
It is not unusual -- and frankly it can be quite beneficial -- to advancing American interests for the spouse of a cabinet secretary to occasionally travel with him or her. The spouse often engages in separate encounters during such trips meeting with local officials and participating in cultural or educational engagements that flesh out and help inform America's foreign policy.
I hope that in the wake of the images that came out, military leaders there and here in DC are taking a look at the protocols and procedures... of briefing service members before these types of visits... particularly by The President, it's bad enough that Donald Trump doesn't see a problem with signing campaign paraphernalia at a military base, maybe even more so that some of our troops are OK with it.
This is what we would call at the State Department a CBM -- a confidence building measure -- obviously baked into the plan to agree to have Trump sit down with Kim Jong Un, good news and certainly indicative of the fact that KJU is taking this summit seriously and that the North Koreans really are serious about wanting to sit down.
A Russian official in Baghdad this morning informed U.S. Embassy personnel that Russian military aircraft would begin flying anti-ISIL missions today over Syria, he further requested that U.S. aircraft avoid Syrian airspace during these missions. We've seen media reporting that has suggested Russian missions have begun.