By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, September 29, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today directed his staff to "open lines of communication with Russia on de-confliction" of air operations in Syria, the Pentagon press secretary said today.
Peter Cook said the United States and Russia have a common interest in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria. Further details, including who will be involved and the scope of the subject matter, will be determined, he added.
"The purpose of these de-confliction discussions will be to ensure that ongoing coalition air operations are not interrupted by any future Russian military activity, to ensure the safety of coalition aircrews and to avoid misjudgment and miscalculation," Cook said.
Cook said the defense secretary spoke with senior leaders in the services and his policy team this morning. The development follows President Barack Obama's meeting yesterday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the press secretary noted.
The key priority, Cook said, is to maintain the integrity of coalition air operations and the safety of coalition pilots.
"We do not want misjudgment and miscalculation. We do not want an accident to take place," he said.
It will take some time to work out specifics, including who are the "best and most appropriate people" to be involved in the talks, he said.