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DoD outlines plan to transition JTF Red Hill defueling mission to Navy closure mission

23-001 | Nov. 14, 2023

HONOLULU, Hawaii —

Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced its plan for timeline and leadership transition from defueling to closure of Red Hill, via its submission of Supplement 3 of the DoD Defueling Plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Hawaii Department of Health, and the public. Defueling Supplement 3 reflects the outcome of continuous coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health to defuel and close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (RHBFSF).

Defueling Supplement 3 updates the DoD Defueling Plan to refine the distinction between defueling tasks and closure tasks, particularly with respect to residual fuel - the fuel that remains in the facility following gravity defueling's completion. It also discusses the transition of responsibility for RHBFSF from Joint Task Force-Red Hill to Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill (NCTF-RH).

“Joint Task Force-Red Hill and Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill will conduct a tightly-coordinated transition of command-and-control responsibilities to ensure seamless continuity of all health, safety, and environmental protection operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility as facility closure begins,” said Brendan Owens, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy Installations, and Environment. “Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill will deliver on Secretary Austin’s commitment to permanently close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.”

JTF-RH will complete its gravitational defueling mission and begin removing residual fuel in early 2024. Concurrently, NCTF-RH will reach its initial operating capability (IOC). This will start the transition period, during which JTF-RH and NCTF-RH will take a “left-seat-right-seat” approach, with JTF-RH in the lead and NCTF-RH in close support, to every task taking place in Red Hill. This approach will continue until JTF-RH completes removal of the residual fuel that can be removed through non-destructive means (approximately 60,000 gallons).

JTF-RH is projected to complete its defueling mission in March of 2024. At that point, NCTF-RH will assume full responsibility for Red Hill, including the completion of residual fuel removal. NCTF-RH will remove the known residual fuel that must be removed by destructive means (approximately 4,000 gallons), which are in the scope of the Navy’s closure planning. NCTF-RH will also remove the pipelines and the sludge in the bottoms of the tanks (approximately 28,000 gallons) and will remove any unknown quantities of residual fuel or related products in the facility until the RHBFSF is permanently closed.

“This supplement to the defueling plan presents a detailed roadmap and timeline to complete gravity defueling and to remove residual fuel in the facility,” said Vice Adm. John Wade, commander, JTF-Red Hill. “It also describes the responsibilities, approvals, and safety requirements that need to be accomplished to transfer responsibility for the remainder of the closure process from Joint Task Force-Red Hill to the Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill. We are grateful for the collective partnership, collaboration, and coordination of the EPA and DOH, as well as the Navy.”

Just as JTF-RH has worked with regulators and government stakeholders to defuel, NCTF-RH will do the same for closure; safely, expeditiously and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

“We are prepared for a seamless transition from JTF-RH to NCTF-RH,” said Rear Adm.Select Stephen Barnett, the Region Hawaii Commander who will be the NCTF-RH Commander. “Navy has served proudly as part of the JTF, and we will build upon its good work and bring with us the knowledge and processes developed, to ensure the same discipline and transparency as we do the work of closing Red Hill.”

DoD’s work to permanently close the RHBFSF will not be complete until we can ensure, in coordination with the EPA and DOH, that the facility no longer contains fuel and that we have done all necessary corrective action around the facility to mitigate any risk to human health, the aquifer or the environment.

A link to the complete Defueling Supplement 3 can be found here:

For more information about JTF-Red Hill, please visit

For more information about safe water and Red Hill environmental information, please visit

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