Defends decision to isolate troops
Hagel defends the decision to place the troops in quarantine in Italy. Hagel:
[It is a] smart, wise, prudent, disciplined, science-oriented decision.
‘New world order’
Hagel says ISIS is reordering global geopolitics:
I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times. I think we are seeing a new world order. What we’re seeing in the Middle East with ISIL is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interests, which we are forming.
Blanket quarantine possible for troops
The Pentagon says Hagel is considering a 21-day quarantine-like policy for all troops returning from west Africa, recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon says there is no event to trigger the policy and that Hagel will take his time considering it.
Military preps domestic response team
Hagel orders the 30-member team to prepare in line with a Department of Health and Human Services request. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby:
[The team is] an added, prudent measure to ensure our nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively and safely in the event of additional Ebola cases.
The team’s members will be selected and led by Northern Command Commander Gen. Chuck Jacoby.
Local forces to fight ISIS
Hagel says that the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will depend on local opposition:
The best counterweight against Isil are local forces
U.S. troops will not engage the group directly:
American forces will not have a combat mission.
He says U.S. forces in Iraq will operate out of Baghdad and Irbil, for a total of about 1,600 troops. will support Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has agreed to host training grounds for more than 5,000 Syrian opposition forces, who will be given small arms, vehicles and communications equipment and training:
We would be prepared to provide increasingly [sophisticated] types of assistance.
The U.S. will select the Syrian opposition carefully:
A rigorous vetting process would be critical to the success of this program. There will always be risks. But we believe that risk is justified.
Hagel: ‘We are at war’
Defense Secretary Hagel says that the U.S. is fighting a war against ISIS:
This will not be an easy or a brief effort … We are at war with Isil, as we are with al-Qaeda.
Approves Syrian airstrikes
Defense Secretary Hagel tells the Senate that he has approved a plan to conduct ‘targeted actions against [ISIS] safe havens in Syria.’
General Dempsey and I have both reviewed and approved the Cent Com plan.
This includes striking infrastructure. He says the U.S. has carried out more than 160 airstrikes so far, which have ‘disrupted’ ISIS.
Airstrikes protect dam
The U.S. launches airstrikes to protect the Haditha dam. The dam is located in Anbar province in the country’s west, where local volunteers are fighting to prevent a takeover by ISIS. Defense Secretary Hagel:
If militants seize the dam or if that dam would be destroyed, the damage that that would cause would be very significant and it would put a significant additional and big risk into the mix in Iraq.
He says the strikes don’t represent an expansion of U.S. military operations.
Hagel: Detainees to Uraguay0 Comments
Hagel gives Congress notice that the military will transfer 6 Guantánamo Bay detainees to Uruguay. He believes the transfer is in the national security interest of the United States, and will proceed despite political unrest. This notice abides by the law to alert Congress at least 30 days before any transfer. The move is set to be complete in August. The chosen detainees will be the largest group to depart since 2009, leaving the Guantánamo Bay population to 143.