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US official discusses Indo-Pacific challenges with US Navy Admiral John Aquilino

Antony Blinken

Washington, Dec 16: Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks visited Department of Defense sites in Hawaii on Wednesday to assess the ongoing Red Hill water contamination situation, and discuss the challenges associated with strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific.

The Deputy Secretary first visited the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility to assess efforts to rectify water contamination issues, then spoke to families who have been affected, convened senior Department of Defense officials and federal partners, and met with lawmakers and local officials to hear their concerns.

Deputy Secretary Hicks then met with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) Commander U.S. Navy Admiral John Aquilino and senior military and civilian leaders to discuss strategy and initiatives to ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

In a series of briefings and conversations on December 14, she heard from military commanders in the region regarding strategic competition with China, discussed how INDOPACOM is employing integrated deterrence concepts, and conducted a town-hall event with military and civilian leaders to discuss DoD priorities.

Today, Deputy Secretary Hicks assessed specific capabilities, including Naval Special Operations, Army maritime support, and Air Force air superiority and F-22 programs.

Dr. Hicks is on a multi-state tour, meeting with lawmakers, military leaders and service members to see first-hand the Department’s efforts to rapidly advance warfighting concepts and capabilities to meet advanced threats, and hear about challenges and successes within each command.

Dr. Hicks is meeting with leaders and service members across the commands she is visiting to gain insight into family readiness challenges, career development, and other issues which affect the workforce.

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