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NEWS | May 6, 2024

Secretary Austin Concludes Trip to Hawaii

U.S. Department of Defense

Pentagon Spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following release:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III concluded his travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, today. During his visit, Secretary Austin met with counterparts from Australia, Japan, and the Philippines, presided over the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Change of Command, engaged with service members, and spoke with distinguished guests from the Freely Associated States.

Secretary Austin's Meetings on Thursday, May 2

Secretary Austin met bilaterally at Camp Smith with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles to discuss the U.S.-Australia Alliance. The two officials surveyed a range of areas where both countries are continuing unprecedented work to deepen their defense cooperation, including force posture initiatives, defense industrial base collaboration, and partnerships across the Pacific Islands region.

Secretary Austin also met bilaterally at Camp Smith with Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru to advance historic momentum in the U.S.-Japan Alliance. The two officials discussed ongoing efforts to implement agreements announced during Prime Minister Kishida's Official Visit to Washington, as well as opportunities to further strengthen the Alliance by increasing cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners.

Secretary Austin, Deputy Prime Minister Marles, and Minister Kishida then convened a Trilateral Defense Ministers' Meeting (TDMM), where the three officials highlighted landmark trilateral achievements made in implementing a range of cooperative activities announced by the United States, Australia, and Japan in June 2023. The three officials signed a trilateral technology research and testing arrangement and also announced  plans to conduct a regional integrated air and missile defense live-fire exercise in 2027.

Secretary Austin, Deputy Prime Minister Marles, Minister Kishida, and Philippines Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro then held the second-ever meeting of defense ministers from Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States. The officials highlighted significant collaboration among their four countries to advance a shared vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. The officials then convened the first-ever joint press conference by the defense ministers of their four countries at Camp Smith.

Secretary Austin and Secretary Teodoro also met in Honolulu to discuss bilateral defense cooperation between the United States and the Philippines following President Marcos' historic April 2024 visit to Washington and trilateral meetings with President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida.

Secretary Austin's Engagements on Friday, May 3

Secretary Austin presided over the USINDOPACOM Change of Command in Honolulu, where he delivered remarks recognizing outgoing commander Admiral John Aquilino, incoming commander Admiral Samuel Paparo, and the hundreds of thousands of American service members across USINDOPACOM's Area of Responsibility.

On the margins of the Change of Command, Secretary Austin also spoke with leaders from the Freely Associated States (FAS), including President Surangel Whipps, Jr. of the Republic of Palau, President Wesley Simina of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Minister Kalani Kaneko of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Their meeting follows the historic passage of the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2024 in March, which funded a twenty-year extension of U.S. economic assistance to the FAS under the Compacts.

Secretary Austin concluded his trip to Hawaii with a series of engagements with service members, where he thanked them and their families for their contributions to the safety and security of the American people.




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