Department of Defense Spokesman Lt. Col. David Herndon provided the following readout:
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, Dr. Mara Karlin, completed an official visit to Australia on July 1.
Over an intensive six-day itinerary, Dr. Karlin traveled across the continent, engaging in robust discussions centered around Australia's Defense Strategic Review and the U.S. National Defense Strategy. She met with senior leaders across Australia's government, along with U.S. and Australian defense personnel, focusing on developments across the regional security environment, force posture, and the future trajectory of the AUKUS trilateral security pact.
While in Canberra, Dr. Karlin received briefings on the regional security environment, the implementation of Australia's Defense Strategic Review, and Australia's international engagement initiatives. Her interlocutors included Australia's Secretary of Defence Mr. Greg Moriarty; Deputy Secretary of Defence for Strategy, Policy, and Industry Mr. Hugh Jeffrey; Deputy Secretary of Defence for International and Security Mr. Scott Dewar; and Chief, Nuclear Powered Submarine Task Force Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead; among other senior officials. Dr. Karlin also attended an interagency roundtable convened by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, focused on opportunities to deepen collaboration between the United States and Australia to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Dr. Karlin's subsequent visit to the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, an advanced, collaborative, and combat-ready Marine Air-Ground Task Force, provided valuable insight on how the U.S. military, working side by side with the Australian Defense Forces, are operationalizing the National Defense Strategy. Dr. Karlin received operational updates and force posture briefings from U.S. and Australian service members stationed in the region and toured key sites, including HMAS Coonawarra, Defence Establishment Berrimah, and the Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin.
In Perth, her visit to HMAS Stirling — a key logistical and operational support base for Royal Australian ships, submarines, and aircraft – offered unique perspectives on the AUKUS trilateral security pact. The base recently hosted the USS Asheville Los-Angeles class fast attack submarine for a combined exercise. Dr. Karlin also toured a submarine training facility and met with local defense leaders to discuss progress on various initiatives under the historic AUKUS agreement.
Dr. Karlin's visit underscored the U.S. commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Her trip also reinforced the close ties and shared strategic interests between the U.S. and Australia, a testament to the strength of our alliance.