By DoD News
By C. Todd Lopez
Last weekend, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Russian private military company the Wagner Group, made comments on a social media video that appeared to contradict the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Pentagon said earlier this week the matter remains one that is purely internal to Russia, and it’s something Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder reiterated again during a briefing Thursday.
But the general also added that a primary concern for the U.S. in this matter has been the continued stability of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. He said that, at least for the time being, stability appears to remain intact.
“Certainly, our focus is on ensuring that we don’t see anything that would portend strategic instability,” Ryder said. “In other words, nothing to indicate that [there is] any concern regarding Russian nuclear forces. We have not seen anything [at] this stage that concerns us and certainly nothing that has required us to change our own force posture.”
Ryder said the U.S. would continue to monitor what’s happening, but the focus of the U.S. and the Defense Department will be to provide continued support to Ukraine as it fights to defend its sovereignty from the Russian invasion.
Rather than relying on a draft — which was done in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam — the all-volunteer force relies on voluntary enlistment to fill the ranks of the military.
“For the past 50 years, our nation’s all-volunteer force has recruited and retained talented people from all walks of life, from across the country and beyond,” Ryder said. “Since the elimination of the draft in July 1973, those who have joined the ranks of America’s armed forces have done so out of conviction and not compulsion and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
Ryder said that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the all-volunteer force next week with a public statement and a visit to Fort Meade, Maryland, where he will swear about 100 new recruits into the armed forces.