An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | March 28, 2024

The Pentagon Transfers Authority to the Navy to Ensure the Safe Closure of Red Hill

U.S. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense announced today that the Joint Task Force-Red Hill has completed its defueling mission at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawai’i and shifted command and control of the facility to the United States Navy. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment will continue to convene a Senior Steering Group on Red Hill to provide oversight and offer support to the Navy.

"Today I am pleased to announce that the Navy has assumed command and control of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility," said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. "Rear Admiral Stephen Barnett – now dual-hatted as Commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Commander of Navy Closure Task Force – will have overall responsibility for the final steps to ensure the safe closure of Red Hill.

"I’m grateful to Vice Admiral John Wade, Commander of the Joint Task Force, for his leadership and his work with the Hawai’i Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and our community partners in Hawai’i to complete the Department’s prompt and safe defueling of Red Hill earlier this month.

"The Department of Defense and the United States Navy remain deeply committed to protecting the public’s health and preserving the environment. Rear Admiral Barnett is determined to close Red Hill safely, and I’ve directed him to continue to communicate with our personnel and the people of Hawai’i candidly, frequently, and transparently.

The Navy will continue its work to safely close Red Hill while protecting the safety of the surrounding community and being responsible environmental stewards in Hawai’i."

In March 2022, Secretary Austin directed the defueling and the permanent closure of the Red Hill facility and established the Joint Task Force to lead the defueling efforts and maintain command and control of Red Hill.  Last fall, the Secretary directed a conditions-based transition of command and control from the Joint Task Force to the Navy Closure Task Force, with the Navy assuming responsibility for Red Hill upon completion of the defueling mission.

On March 4, the Joint Task Force completed its gravity defueling mission, and a significant number of its personnel have been reassigned to serve on the Navy Closure Task Force to retain institutional knowledge and to ensure continuity of mission for safety, security, and community engagement. The Department of the Navy has provided the remaining personnel.

Secretary Austin convened all key stakeholders on March 14, 2024, to verify that all conditions for transition, including final transition review and safety measure turnover, have been met.

Following certification by INDOPACOM, the Navy, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment that the transition conditions have been met, Secretary Austin has directed the transition from the Joint Task Force to the Navy Closure Task Force. The Navy-led Task Force will assume responsibility for the permanent closure of Red Hill, in accordance with state and federal regulatory requirements.

Dual-hatting Rear Admiral Barnett as both Commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Commander of Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill will allow for synergies throughout the closure of Red Hill and remediation actions. It will also establish clear responsibility for future steps, which the Department hopes will continue to rebuild trust with the State of Hawai’i and the community of Oahu. Rear Admiral Barnett will also draw on supporting commands’ capabilities to assist the Navy Closure Task Force.

A Deputy Commander for Closure and Demolition and a Deputy Commander for Remediation and Environment will both report to Rear Admiral Barnett. These Deputy Commanders will oversee the day-to-day activities of the project and will lead the on-the-ground execution of the Department of the Navy's Tank Closure Plan.

Since the establishment of the Joint Task Force in 2022, the Navy has been routinely involved with community meetings to provide information and answer questions about the water-distribution system, the water-monitoring program, closure planning, and environmental remediation steps. The Navy will continue this high level of engagement throughout the closure of Red Hill.

On February 28, the Department extended until March 2025 the Secretarial Designation authorizing continued access to a medical assessment at the Red Hill Clinic on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. This designation was also expanded to include current residents of military family housing served by the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Water Distribution System.




18th MEDCOM Commanding General at LANPAC 24: Remote robotic surgeries to save lives on future battlefields?
18th Medical Command Commanding General Paula Lodi discusses Army Medicine in the Indo-Pacific Region during Land Forces Pacific 2024 in Honolulu, Hawaii, May 14, 2024. 18th MEDCOM sets the Joint theater for medical operations while increasing its strategic posture by synchronizing and coordinating health service support and medical logistics across its more than 4,000 square mile area of responsibility.
May 15, 2024 - What does it take to win in the complex Indo-Pacific region? Spanning over 4,000 miles and consisting mostly of the air and maritime domain, as well as densely populated land masses, the Indo-Pacific creates logistical...

Enhancing communication capabilities with the Philippine Air Force
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Quincy Brooks, 644th Combat Communication Squadron client systems technician, briefs Philippine Air Force 1st Lt. John Mangaoang, assistant director for command and control capability for the office of the assistant chief of Air Staff, about the Harris PRC-152A line of sight radio capabilities during Cope Thunder 24-1 at Basa Air Base, Philippines, Apr. 12, 2024. Cope Thunder 24-1 enables the U.S. and the Philippines to integrate capabilities and technologies to enhance interoperability at all levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)
May 15, 2024 - Bilateral exercises such as Cope Thunder 24-1 underscore the importance of allied and partner nations coming together to enhance interoperability between participating forces. One key aspect of this collaboration is ensuring...

U.S. Navy Destroyer Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in the South China Sea
SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 10, 2024) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG-97) conducts routine underway operations in the South China Sea, May 10, 2024. Halsey is forward-deployed and assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ismael Martinez)
May 15, 2024 - On May 10, USS Halsey (DDG 97) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law...

Statement from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 14, 2024 - Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security Tarun Chhabra and Department of State Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technologies Seth Center will lead an...

U.S. Army provides legal training to Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers
(Left to right) U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Lillard, national security law attorney, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gabriel Bush, deputy staff judge advocate, Andersen AFB, Guam, and Maj. Christopher Niemiec, international operations officer, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies pose for a photo with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers April 6, 2024, Tumon, Guam, during Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training. The three-day training session covered a wide range of topics crucial to the legal aspects of detainee operations, law of armed conflict, and legal considerations in conflict zones to four PNGDF officers re-introducing aircraft to their air wing. (Courtesy)
May 14, 2024 - A U.S. Army national security law attorney conducted Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers in an effort to enhance their legal expertise April 4, 2024, in...