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Defueling Information Sharing Forum Meeting Notes

23-001 | Jan. 13, 2023

Honolulu —

 The meeting agenda consisted of the following:  

  • Nov. 29 Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Spill and Investigation Update 
  • Repair and Defueling Schedule Update 
  • Additional Membership 
  • Media Participation 
  • Ways to Improve Public Transparency 
  • Questions, Answers & Discussion among Forum Members 
  • Next Defueling Information Sharing Forum (DISF) Meeting 


Key areas of discussion consisted of the following:  

  • The Nov. 29 AFFF spill was a significant setback to Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH)’s mission because it raised valid questions about safety and further eroded trust with the Hawaii community, local leaders, military families, and the public.   
  • The Nov. 29 AFFF spill investigation report was provided to Vice Adm. Wade on Friday, Jan 6.  The investigation report, including findings and recommendations, is now under review.  Several members of the forum questioned why the investigation report could not be made public at this time.  The recommendation from the members was to release the investigation report as soon as possible.  Vice Adm. Wade indicated he was committed to releasing the investigation report at the earliest possible time.  
  • The Nov. 29 AFFF spill video will be released in conjunction with the public release of the investigation report. While the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reviewed the video, Vice Adm. Wade understands the importance of providing the video to the public and other stakeholders. 
  • As a result of the Nov. 29 AFFF spill, JTF-RH implemented a new requirement for all personnel conducting work at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF) to coordinate and synchronize through JTF-RH. Contractors conducting work at RHBFSF will have military escorts and military technicians accompanying them for any work conducted at Red Hill.   
  • Several members asked about the camera system at Red Hill.  The Navy is currently conducting a holistic assessment of the camera system. 
  • Several questions were asked about how JTF-RH is collecting lessons learned to help ensure incidents do not occur at other military locations storing fuel.  Vice Adm. Wade and Brig. Gen. Link assured the group that lessons learned will be documented and provided to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the military services.  DISF members recommended U.S. Indo-Pacific Command apply lessons learned holistically, in the State of Hawaii, through all military services. 
  • A recommendation was made to establish a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) chart to characterize the information discussed. 
  • Subsequent discussions focused on the overall aging military infrastructure in Hawaii and the need for the Department of Defense to devote greater resources to addressing lapses in infrastructure in terms of water, electricity, and housing.  
  • Members asked about contractors and military personnel training, specifically Hawaiian cultural sensitivity training, emphasizing the importance for service members and contractors to understand the deep connection of Hawaiian people to the land. 
  • Members were briefed on the resumption of repairs at the RHBFSF and potential to add capacity to the repair and maintenance process.  JTF-RH is awaiting final approval from regulators on the repair plan, and once approved, will work with DOH and EPA to find ways to shorten the defueling timeline in accordance with safety requirements. 
  • Members asked questions about repairs to the RHBFSF AFFF system.  Vice Adm.  Wade stated that engineers are looking at different courses of action for the RHBFSF AFFF system. 
  • Vice Adm. Wade brought up adding new members to the DISF in the event there were any technical, functional, or cultural gaps in expertise and/or perspective.  One potential gap discussed was to have someone from the State legislature with representation from the health committee to participate in future DISF meetings in light of recent changes to the new State legislature and administration. 
  • Forum members discussed the role of the media in future meeting attendance.  Members agreed, on a case by case basis, after discussion and agreement amongst Forum members, the role of the media at the specific meeting could be decided. This said, to ensure greater transparency, it was agreed that notes of the meeting would be released to the JTF Red Hill website. 
  • Final discussions centered on how the DISF could use information generated from DISF discussions to inform their own stakeholders. DISF members requested time for a wrap-up session at the end of each meeting to agree upon key take-aways and due outs.  

DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A.  Approved for public release. 

This is the record of the Defueling Information Sharing Forum meeting. These statements are the result of many perspectives and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense.  

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