CNO and Commandant of the Marine Corps speak with The Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, Defense News, and USNI

by Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs
21 May 2020
Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday and Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David Berger speak with The Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, Defense News, and USNI.

MODERATOR: So, Commandant, we’re going to go ahead and have you make a few opening remarks. And if desired after that, CNO, we’ll kick it to you, sir, and then start with questions. Over to you, Commandant. 

GENERAL DAVID H. BERGER: No opening comments from me. I’ll leave it – leave it to the CNO. 

ADMIRAL MICHAEL M. GILDAY: OK. I was just going to make – I was just going to make a couple. And you’ll – one question per agency? 

MODERATOR: Just depending on the time, one question and a follow-up, yes, sir. 

ADM. GILDAY: OK. I’d probably give them more than that today if the commandant’s OK with that. 

GEN. BERGER: Yep. 

MODERATOR: All right, sir. Do you have any opening remarks, CNO? 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah, just a couple. 

MODERATOR: All right, sir. We’re ready when you are, CNO. 

ADM. GILDAY: Is everybody online? 

MODERATOR: Yes, sir. 

ADM. GILDAY: Oh, OK. Sorry about that. 
Good morning, everybody. It’s good to be online with the – with the commandant of the Marine Corps to talk to you a little bit about Navy and Marine Corps operations. It’s been a while since we’ve – he and I have talked to the press together, and there’s really three points upfront that I think we wanted to key on. 

The first is that we’re out there and operating in numbers. And so as we take a look at the numbers of ships and submarines that we have underway today, we are operating about 15 percent above norms if I take a look at – if I take a look at our operating average since 2017. So we’ve got over a hundred ships underway today. A good percentage of them are forward-deployed. That includes two amphibious ready groups, as well as seven aircraft carriers. Not all those forces are deployed, but they’re at sea right now. That includes the USS Ford that remains ahead of schedule in terms of her – in terms of her ongoing work, and she is our carrier qualification platform in the East Coast for about the next year. In terms of prevention and containment of COVID, the Navy and Marine Corps have made significant gains, as has the country, over the last two months in terms of understanding the behavior of the – of the virus. I wouldn’t say that we’ve – that anybody has mastered the knowledge of how this virus behaves, but we have adapted pretty well in both, I would say, prevention as well as containment. 

And then lastly, in terms of the future force, both of the services are in close coordination with the defense industrial base, as well as our supply chains. And things are going along fairly well in terms of both on the production side in terms of – in terms of new capabilities coming online, as well as the sustainment efforts in our shipyards, in our aircraft depot-level facilities to keep – to keep everything up and operational. 
So with that, I’ll pause and, Nate, turn it back to you. 

MODERATOR: Thanks, CNO. All right, Idrees, we’ll go ahead and start with you first. 

Q: Thanks, guys, for doing this. Just a couple of quick questions. 
Obviously, the TR has now left port in Guam. Could you update us on the number of sailors that are still in Guam and what the plan is to bring them back? 

And just more broadly, you talked about, you know, no one’s mastered it, but you’re adapting it. What’s our future, in your perspective? Is this the new normal for a year, year and a half, for a decade? Just sort of your thinking on how this is sort of long term and how long this can continue. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah. So on the first question, we have a few hundred still ashore in Guam. I can’t give you the exact numbers, but there are a few hundred that are still recovering. And as you’re probably aware, we are working very closely with the CDC on understanding what the thresholds are for those that have previously tested positive in terms of making a determination of whether or not they should still be considered contagious and brought back to the ship. And so we want to minimize, of course, any risk of additional outbreaks on any of the ships, TR included, and so we’re taking a close look at that with the CDC. 

The ship, as you know, is out there doing her carrier quals with the airwing over the – over the next few days, and then we’ll be bringing additional sailors back onboard. If she had to sail further west today, if she needed to, we could bring those sailors back aboard and head west. We have contingency plans in place to do that if required. 

And then your second question about, you know, looking ahead to the future, we are both looking into ’21 and ’22 in terms of force generation. So all the things that have to be in place with respect to manning, training, and equipping the fleet to meet the secretary of defense’s requirements out through ’21 and into ’22, we’re beginning to look at that based on what we’ve experienced so far with COVID impacts with the industrial base and to begin to make some projections, as well as pulling on – the way operations is, pulling on some levers, including things like overtime in shipyards, including bringing back some reservists into the shipyards, in order to make sure that we are at close to full capacity. 

Q: And if I could just ask a follow-up, are we sort of talking about the sailors on the ground being brought into the TR via CODs, or would it dock back into Guam? How would that work? 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah, I don’t have those details, to be honest with you, in terms of the exact way we’re going to transfer the remaining folks back on the ship. But we can get back to you with that information. 

Q: Thank you. 

MODERATOR: All right. Barbara, we’ll come to you next. 

Q: Good morning. 
For both the CNO and the commandant, can we drill down just a little further on this question of the way ahead for both services? For both of you – and I guess I assume the other chiefs – what is your planning assumption going into ’21-’22? Are you planning – is the planning assumption – is the belief that there will be a second wave and you have to be ready for that? Secretary Esper has suggested that. What is your planning assumption on when you think you might have enough of a vaccine that it makes a difference to the whole – your whole force? For both of you, please. 

GEN. BERGER: I’m going to – yeah. Yeah, I can – I can do that. 
First of all, I would – here’s the way that we view it. And I’m not talking about specifically the Marine Corps, but – although I suppose through a medical lens or corporate lens or whatever you could talk in terms of a post-COVID era, for us that’s not a – that’s not a useful framework. We operate – have continued to operate through it. We’ve continued to train through it because that’s what we do: We adapt to the operating environment. We make the changes we need to make. So, for us, there is no – we’re not talking in terms of some sort of post-COVID era. It’s more like a continuum where we just make – we need to make the adjustments along the way. 

The second, I would say, just – and some of you all have said this same thing, and I would agree with you – that although, again, the commercial sector or some other – some other places might be able to work from home, the military is not a work-from-home force. You expect us to be out there and you expect us to figure out how to do that safely, so that’s what we’re going to do. 

Planning for ’21 and ’22 we’re doing now in terms of global force management and operations around the world. We are planning – and we plan with the real world in mind, not a make-believe world. So we take the guidance that the president and the secretary gave us in terms of priorities, and we allocate forces accordingly. We are not – if your question is are we – are we curtailing operations around the world, we are not. 
And I’ll turn it over to CNO. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah. So I’ll just add to what the commandant said. I think I’ll give you a couple of examples to start. 
So the first is the guidance that the services now have out to the force. Initially, essentially what we – what we told commanders is that these are the CDC guidelines and we’d like you to best implement that on kind of a mission-command approach with respect to your individual units, taking into consideration the environment that you’re operating in. What we learned probably since mid-March is that we need to be much more specific and to a certain degree much more standardized in terms of providing guidance to these units in terms of this is all we’ve learned from the TR and the Kidd. These are the exact steps that we want you to take in order to minimize risk on the prevention side. And then, if you do have an outbreak on a ship, here are the steps that you need to take. This is – this is, essentially, the decision tool you need to follow in order to – in order to ensure that you can – you can contain it quickly. 

The second piece I’ll just mention briefly is the industrial base. And so, as you know, particularly for the Navy with respect to maintenance, that is a critical – that’s a critical part of the deployment cycle in order to get ships back to sea. And so because the shipyards on average have an aging workforce that is more vulnerable to COVID, we’ve been pretty conservative in March and April in terms of ensuring that that workforce is well taken care of and not put at high risk. And so you saw the numbers come down to about the 7 percent – the 7 percent level in terms of the production side in shipyards, and now you see that going back up as we have a better handle on the prevention side to minimize the risk of transmission.  So I’ll leave it – I’ll leave it at that. 

Q: Could I just try one more time? I guess it’s my bad I didn’t ask it as clearly as I should have. I wasn’t indicating any reduction in operations or anything like that. My question was – really goes to just the – if either of you could address it – as you look ahead, as you plan for the rest of ’20, ’21, and ’22, do you plan – is your planning scenario that you will have to plan against a potential second wave of the virus? When do you – what is your planning scenario about when you might have a vaccine in sufficient quantities? 

GEN. BERGER: Barbara, this is Dave Berger. We had a great conversation that the secretary and chairman set up day before yesterday with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, and this came up. Your exact question came up. There’s too many unknowns, from their perspective, to accurately forecast, although clearly we’ve learned a hell of a lot from the last three, four months that we’re going to apply should that happen. 

We’ll be prepared for it. Some of us asked, you know, will people be immune if they’ve had it once, whether we are immune from it a second time. And there is just so much to learn that there’s – that there is not solid enough data yet to draw a conclusion. Will we be prepared for that if that happens in the fall or winter or whatever, if there’s a second wave? We will. Will we have enough vaccines? Too early to tell. 

But we have a – we have a much more solid screening and testing regimen now that we’ve learned a lot. They are clearly prioritized by the secretary. We know who’s tier one, tier two, tier three. We’ve got good prioritization in place. And we recognize now, like the CNO mentioned to me last week that part of our job is to identify the vulnerable population, those with an underlying condition, and make sure that there’s extra measures to protect them. But we have a very resilient, young, strong population that’s – that is unique in its ability to guard against or to fight off the virus. Not immune, but we have the – we have that portion of the population that’s best suited for it. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah, this is CNO. I’d just add on to what the commandant said. 
So our job is to man, train, and equip the force, provide forces for combatant commanders in the course of meeting the secretary defense’s direction. And so we have to assume that that threat just exists, right, and it exists in different locations at different levels. And so that threat is not going away anytime soon. Nobody has a crystal ball. And so that’s why I go back to the prevention and containment frameworks that we have in place, so that we are just ready to continue to meet the requirements that we have to meet regardless of the – regardless of the – of the level of the threat of the coronavirus. And so we just have to – so, Barbara, to your point, we’re just – we’re just planning for the worst, really, that we have to be ready to continue to operate regardless of the levels of COVID. 

Q: Thank you both. Thank you. 

MODERATOR: All right. We’ll move to Dan Lamothe with The Washington Post. 

Q: Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you. 
As a starting point, in light of the TR going back to sea I just wanted to ask how you can be confident you’re free of the virus, based on the most recent positive tests you’ve had, and how you’ll handle it if it pops back up during these trials or afterward. 

And then separately, perhaps more for the general, you’ve had some flareups in your boot camps. Looking forward, I know numbers are somewhat down going through boot camp as a precautionary measure. How do you handle that looking out forward while still keeping end strength up? Thanks. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah, I’d start off by saying I’d ask you not to look at every COVID case on every ship as a failure. So we are still understanding what the incubation period is of this virus, when it flares up in people, if they have it asymptomatically, and that’s very difficult to predict right now. The CDC, I think, is getting better. It’s learning more every day and refining their guidance to the – to the nation, to the Department of Defense, in terms of what they’re learning so that we can be better prepared. But we are going to have cases on our ships at sea, and there’s no doubt about that. 

So the question is, how are you – I go back to what I said previously about not only the prevention side, which we are much better at, but – and the containment side, once you do have a 
case on a ship. If I – if I use the TR as an example, so we had 14 people come back with mild symptoms. They went to medical, they were retested, and they were positive. So we quickly did contract tracing. And because we changed the way that we move about that ship, the way that they eat their meals, the way that they work together and move around the ship together, the contact list was contained to about three dozen people, which is pretty small given the size of an aircraft carrier and the number of people we have on board. 

So that’s just an example, I think, Mr. Lamothe, of how we’re – this is now becoming part of our DNA and how sailors think about how they move around a ship, or the fact that they are wearing PPE, the fact that they are maintaining distancing, the fact that they are not eating in large groups anymore. So they’ve completely changed their – I don’t know if they’ve completely changed their behavior on a ship, but they’ve modified their behavior on a ship to minimize – to minimize risk. 

All of our big decks, all of our big carriers, all of our big-deck amphibs, all have a testing capability onboard. All have ICU capabilities. Those physicians are all trained to deal with positive COVID cases. And so – and if we have to, in places like the Kidd, if we have to – if we need to bring that ship into port, we’ve identified ports in different areas of responsibility that the – the COCOM that it’s operating in so that we can – so that we can have those contingency plans in place if we have to execute. 

GEN. BERGER: For the – for the second part, as far as Marine Corps enlisted entry-level training – and I’ll just weave in officer candidate training, too, because it’s the same, similar measures – we did – as you pointed out, we reduced the inflow, the kind of the throughput of how many recruits and how many officer candidates we were shipping intentionally so that we could spread out. And we went to an alternate East Coast/West Coast model for about three weeks.

Now we’re back to a point where we can ship in a more normal fashion, but still at a – at a slightly reduced throughput. We quarantined all of them for 14 days when they got there. 

And much help from – like, in South Carolina from The Citadel, where they allowed us to lease a dormitory that was empty, and so allowed us to keep all the recruits separate before they began training. And then we’re testing all of them before they begin training. So a lot of measures in place that weren’t available a month ago that are now there to help. 

And as far as the impact on end strength, I think too early to tell. We’ll know for sure by the end of June. We may come in a little bit under strength or we may be able to make it up. We don’t know yet. But if we come in under strength, it won’t be by much. 

MODERATOR: All right. We’ll go to David Larter with Defense News. 
David, you still there? 

Q: Sorry, I was on mute. Thank you both for doing this and taking the time out. 
I wanted to direct the first question to General Berger. So Senator Webb recently penned an op-ed, and – where he criticized the Naval Integration Plan – and obviously, the CNO can respond to this as well – as sort of narrowly tailoring the Marine Corps to a specific set of missions, when historically post-World War I the Marine Corps has been, you know, a fight anywhere, anytime response to the specific threat as it arises kind of force, and compared naval integration to something like the Schlieffen Plan. I’m interested in getting your response to that, and how you are sort of processing that criticism, and how you’d respond. 

GEN. BERGER: Yeah, I think, first of all, I’d just tell you that any informed debate is always helpful when you’re going through a reorganization or a refocusing of your – of your force, so I welcome the debate. It’s all helpful, as long as it’s informed. To the point, your point about the role of the Marine Corps, the central role of the Marine Corps in terms of being a force in readiness, the 9-1-1 force, the – as Congress stated, the force that has to be most ready when the nation is least ready, that has not, will not change. It is still our bread and butter. It is still what the nation expects us to be. That said, we have threats now on the horizon that we must prepare for or we’ll be overmatched, and the Marine corps will not and the Navy will not allow that to happen. 

So as far as the are we too narrowly focused, I would argue absolutely not. We’re pacing in terms of capability against a very rapidly developing adversary so that we are never overmatched. But that’s not geographically constrained. That’s not nationally constrained. The Marine Corps – as you point out, the Navy and the Marine Corps operates around the world, will continue to do so. And I’m very confident that the force that we end up with, you can apply that force to any mission set. It’ll be very capable and will not be overmatched. So I don’t – I don’t – I don’t sign up to the view that it’s going to result in a very narrowly focused, singularly focused force at all. 

Q: Got it. And I guess on this theme, CNO, so as you’re sort of – and I know this force structure – Integrated Force Structure Assessment is still, you know, a never-ending process, is still in process. But you know, as you’ve looked at it and as you’ve thought about this during your time on the job thus far, how are you processing naval integration? And how do you see it – in what way – where you believe the Navy needs to go in order to support this vision of the Marine Corps? 

ADM. GILDAY: So to answer your last question in terms of how I think about it and what direction we need to go in, we have to – we have to think about it together, together with the Marine Corps. 
So I’ll give an example. In his planning guidance, the commandant asked the question, you know, how does the Marine Corps support the Navy? We can’t let either service solely determine what the answer to that question is. We have to do it together. And the force structure assessment that’s ongoing and just finished up in the fall, we’re making really good progress right now, despite COVID, with that – with that assessment. So it’s not just what we’re going to fight with or what we’re going to operate with, but it’s how we’re going to operate and how we’re going to fight. 

And as the commandant said, although the Indo-Pacific gets much of the attention because we consider China the pacing threat for us, and in some areas I think we’re pacing China, the fighting concepts and the operating concepts that we’re developing together are applicable, as the commandant said, anywhere. And so we’ve got a global mission set and global responsibilities, and honestly, all of the problem sets that are identified in the – in the National Defense Strategy, we look at – we look at all of them through a global lens. So it’s not just in one particular theater. 

So we have to be really adaptable with the force that we’re putting together, right, and so that it can meet any adversary on any terms and fight and win, put us in a position of advantage very early to fight and win. And so I would tell you that the collaborations between both of our staffs is excellent. And I know that you would expect me to say that, but the commandant and I have been in meetings – a couple of meetings this week with generals and admirals around the table, working the same problem set, working together, debating, you know, the best way to go forward with a – in the case of a couple meetings this week – a new capability, and asking some really hard questions to each other to make sure we get it right for the Navy and Marine Corps team and not just one or the other. 

So I hope that provides a little bit of – you know, I hope that answers your question in terms of kind of how we’re approaching this. And we don’t have the final answers yet, right? We are working to those final answers. We expect that both capabilities and the question of how we’re going to operate and fight together, ongoing wargames, ongoing experimentation, that’s a big part of this. It’ll be – it’ll be evolutionary, I think, in nature. 

MODERATOR: All right. We’ll turn to Megan Eckstein with USNI. 

Q: Hey, good morning. Thank you both very much for doing this today. 
Admiral Gilday, I wanted to go back to one of the comments that you made early on regarding maintenance. I had two conversations earlier this week with maintenance-related folks who kind acknowledged that, you know, they’re managing the risk right now, but that if this COVID situation were to go on much longer that there’s going to have to be some frank conversations, that are already starting, between the maintenance community and the fleet, just about, you know, what’s realistically possible, you know, what the give and take might look like. 

And I wondered for both of you kind of what the discussions at your level have been on, you know, where’s some slack, I guess, operationally or training, where you could maybe give up a little bit if the maintenance community falls behind, versus what really are the priorities, and just kind of how you expect the maintainers and the operators to work together to get through this situation. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah. So first, if you consider the demand signal for – the demand signal is driven by the secretary of defense in terms of the forces that we need afield. And so typically those decisions are made about 18 months out, and in the case of FY ’21 specifically they’re not – they’re uninformed by COVID math, right? And so those requirements were set in place and we have a budget that was laid out to meet those requirements, and those requirements may need to – may need to be modified based on – in the case of the Navy, based on – based on our ability to get ships out of the shipyards on time. 

And so we are looking closely right now at 14 big what we call CNO availabilities that are ongoing. And for each one of those there are challenges because there are specific skillsets in each of those yards that may not – that is not up to 100 percent manned right now. And so we’re looking at flowcharts that are very complicated in terms of what needs to be done on a ship to get it done on time, and sometimes that work is sequential, right? One job depends on another. We’re reprioritizing that work in stride. We are – we are descoping some availabilities slightly based on what we’re seeing with the workforce, so deferring some work that’s not critical. But we do need to continue to maintain and modernize the fleet. 

So based on what we’ve seen so far this year with COVID, we are beginning to – we are beginning to take a look at what that bow wave of potential delays might impact in ’21, and then how do we prioritize nuclear-capable ships or nuclear-powered ships, strike groups, ARGs, SSNs, SSBNs. We want to make sure we get the prioritization right so that we can – we can optimize those ships, their path through the shipyards, through the maintenance cycle, and back out. 

And I mentioned a few of the levers to pull, right? So one of them is overtime. Another one is reservists. And so we’re taking a look at how we can mitigate some of the – some of those – as Secretary Geurts framed it yesterday, I think, with USNI, some of the slowdown that we saw early in COVID, how do we – how do we put the right – how do we put the right mechanisms in place to prevent significant impacts at the end of this fiscal year and into the next one? 

GEN. BERGER: Now, Megan, this is General Berger. I would say a helpful way perhaps to look at this is two different timeframes. This summer, the impact to maintenance efforts this summer – for example, like our – the depot work, where weapons systems and vehicles and aircraft are sent to be – for major maintenance. Is there an impact? Yes, there is, because of reduced – just like the CNO laid out. So is there an impact this summer? There is. Can we adjust training accordingly? We cannot. But we will factor that in in terms of where the flow of machinery is, equipment is, through those depots. That’ll have an impact this – probably late this summer or this fall. That’s the near term. 

The long term, as the CNO hinted at, perhaps six, 12 months down the line, this is where the supply chain impacts can come into play because right now all those parts that would have been produced this summer for maintenance we’re going to need, you know, next summer are going to have an impact. So we need to work hard to try to forecast what that – what those critical elements are or where we might be short parts next year, next summer, for maintenance that we do, because we’re using parts right now that are on the shelf but by next summer all those parts will be used up. So this summer’s impact on the supply chain we’ll – I think we’ll feel six to 12 months in the future, and that could be somewhere 7 to 10 percent. We’re not – and it varies between different end items, as you might imagine. And I’ll just pause there. 

Q: Thank you. I appreciate that. 
And if I could just follow up a little bit more broadly, I mean, both services have struggled over, you know, a few years ago just with the supply versus demand issue between the services and the joint force. I know the Marine Corps has been challenged with deployment-to-dwell ratios, and the Navy had been challenged with some of the shipyard maintenance lagging. But I just wondered, I mean, it seemed like both services had made some progress getting the supply versus demand kind of back in your favor, and I wonder what the situation might do to kind of complicate those efforts. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah. So I’d lead off by talking about the National Defense Strategy, right, and how that really changes the paradigm of supply versus demand. And so it essentially flipped that equation, so now it’s a supply-based model instead a demand-based model. And so the secretary of defense is the one that really sets – he’s the one that sets the readiness levels for the joint force. It’s informed by the combatant commanders’ demands, but it doesn’t necessarily – but their demands don’t necessarily drive the final decision because the line of operation one in the NDS is all about lethality, and a big piece of that is restoring readiness. And as a former service chief, Secretary Esper is very sensitive to and very well-cited on the readiness challenges that we have that are, in some cases, exacerbated by COVID. 

And so I think that we have a very strong voice in terms of being able to come to the table and say – I go back to what I said a few minutes ago about the fact that, you know, the global force management plan that was determined 18 months ago was not informed by COVID’s math, and needs to be. And we are having those discussions now so that – so that we can plan – we can plan better and set expectations better across the force. Over. 

GEN. BERGER: And I think this is not anything new to you, Megan, but I would say you can look at it in a – boil the whole NDS down through how well can you deter – can a force deter? How well can it – is it ready to react if something happened, whether that could be a natural disaster or something manmade? And then a third would be, are you – are you prepared, are you ready to take action if the president – if we need to do something proactively? Are you ready to do those three things? 

To the CNO’s point, we absolutely have to prioritize. We can’t be, to your point, running the machines so hard that we’re not in a position to react or not in a position to take action when we need to. But this is, I think, great – I know the term is way overused, but great-power competition, this is competition every day. There’s not a week off or a day off because the other side is working very hard all the time to take your place, to displace you. So we’re – the balancing act that you speak of, I think the CNO captured it the same way I would. It’s much more coming into balance now, but that means risk in certain areas. 

And our job as joint chiefs is making sure that the secretary – we can inform him, give our best military advice: These are the risks. They are acceptable risks. And give him our best 
military advice so that he can give us the right guidance and manage the force. That’s our – that’s our role. 

ADM. GILDAY: If I could just make one follow-on comment to what the commandant just said. So if I gave you some discrete examples of how we’re operating the force a little bit more dynamically right now than maybe you’ve seen over the past few months, if I take – if I give you an example of the American ARG in the South China Sea. So we extended them on station. They operated specifically in the South China Sea with F-35s, integrated with allies and partners. If I – if I then go to the Arabian – if I then go to the Central Command AOR, we’re operating in the – we have our destroyers operating in the Arabian Gulf with the French and other nations, as an example. 

And then the last one, kind of pointed against the Russians, is the surface action group of four destroyers, a sustainment ship, and a British frigate that we sent up to the Norwegian Sea and the Barents. And we haven’t been up there in 30 years. And so we were trying to be much more dynamic against those – you know, the primary problem sets of Russia and China and Iran than maybe we have been in the last several months because we want to – we want to basically show that COVID is not – is not going to – is not going to affect us in terms of being able to pivot where we need to be, when we need to be there. 

Q: Thank you very much. 

MODERATOR: All right. Commandant, do you have any closing comments for us, sir? 

GEN. BERGER: I appreciate the opportunity. Like the CNO said, it’s better when we get to do it in person, but I’m glad we got the opportunity this morning to catch up. Thanks. 

MODERATOR: And CNO, I’ll offer any closing comments for you also, sir. 

ADM. GILDAY: Yeah, thanks. We appreciate the opportunity to give you some insight to what we’re thinking about right now. And you know, I think specifically if I go back to what we’re learning every day with respect to testing that’s informing, you know, how we better prepare – how we better prepare our force to operate at the level that we want to operate at, it has been very dynamic and the – and the collaboration with the CDC has been excellent. In the case of TR, we have been providing data from the TR cases to the CDC for the last two months. And so that – those discussions are ongoing on a daily basis between the Bureau of Naval Medicine and the – and the CDC scientists. And so it’s been very positive, very collaborative, and I think we’re in a better place right now because of that collaboration. 
And I’ll leave it there. Thanks so much for the opportunity. 

MODERATOR: Thanks, sir. Thanks to you all for joining this morning. Out here. 

Q: Thank you very much. 

(END) 

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