March 26, 2023 3:22 pm

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III convened senior Division leaders these days for an update on the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. The meeting integrated the Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Below Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., Below Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William A. LaPlante, INDOPACOM commander Admiral John C. Aquilino, Joint Job Force Red Hill commander Vice Admiral John Wade, and other senior leaders.

Vice Admiral Wade briefed Secretary Austin that efforts to safely and expeditiously defuel the facility are on track to meet the milestones in DoD’s defueling program, which projected defueling operations to commence February 2024 and be total by June 2024. The Joint Job Force is leveraging logistics experience from the Defense Logistics Agency-Power (DLA Power) and is coordinating closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Hawaii Division of Wellness (DOH). 

The Division of the Navy is actively engaged with federal and state regulators to administer a closure program for the Red Hill facility upon conclusion of the defueling method.  The Navy also will continue to monitor water top quality levels to guarantee residents of Hawaii have access to protected and clean drinking water. In addition, the Defense Wellness Agency (DHA), in concert with the Workplace of the Assistant Secretary for Wellness Affairs, continues to deliver well being care for the military households and residents impacted by the incident. In January 2023, the DHA established the Red Hill Clinic, which gives very same-day consultations two days a week for these experiencing symptoms potentially connected to the Red Hill fuel release.  

In the course of the meeting, Secretary Austin also received an update on the Maui Space Surveillance Complicated (MSCC) fuel spill at the summit of Haleakalā in Maui, Hawaii. The Division of the Air Force recognizes the cultural significance of the Haleakalā summit and is proactively implementing a program to mitigate the environmental effect of the leak.

Secretary Austin reaffirmed his commitment to safeguard human well being and the atmosphere in Hawaii and emphasized that DoD leaders will continue to operate closely with the Hawaii Division of Wellness, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Hawaii state officials to guarantee a timely and protected defueling and closure of the Red Hill facility.

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