WASHINGTON -- Pentagon Spokesperson Lisa Lawrence provided the following readout:
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher P. Maier, visited South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia from June 12-17, 2023.
On June 12, Assistant Secretary Maier participated in the United States Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR) change of command where Maj. Gen. Michael Martin relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Derek Lipson. The Assistant Secretary met with Joint Service special operations personnel to understand their role in extended deterrence in the Korean Peninsula and the region. In addition, he met with service members stationed at Camp Humphreys to discuss Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) programs and to hear firsthand how to better support the needs of servicemembers and their families serving at SOCKOR.
In the Philippines, Assistant Secretary Maier observed a U.S.-led training exercise for members of the Philippines Coast Guard in Palawan. He also conducted key leader engagements with senior Navy and Coast Guard officials from Western Command and the regional office of the National Coast Watch Center to discuss challenges and opportunities within their areas of responsibility. In Manila, Assistant Secretary Maier met with U.S. special operations (SOF) personnel supporting the Philippines' territorial defense initiatives. He also held discussions with defense officials in the Philippines' Department of National Defense on opportunities to build upon an already strong foundation of SOF cooperation, particularly in support of maritime operations.
In Australia, Assistant Secretary Maier conducted bilateral meetings with officials from Australian Department of Defence to discuss outcomes of their recent Defense Strategic Review and implications for combined efforts to address gray zone challenges in the region and increase U.S.-Australia special operations integration. In addition, Assistant Secretary Maier participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute focused on U.S. and Australian special operations partnership supporting deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. He rounded out the trip participating in a discussion with Australian Special Operations Command leadership on further integration of joint and combined special operations planning and activities. Finally, Assistant Secretary Maier attended the Last Post Ceremony at the Australia War Memorial, laying a wreath in honor of fallen Australian servicemen and women and in recognition of shared sacrifices as our nations have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in every major conflict for more than a century.