ISSN 2330-717X

Austin Begins Indo-Pacific Visit In Alaska

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By Jim Garamone

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III landed in Fairbanks, Alaska, yesterday beginning a weeklong trip to the Indo-Pacific.

It’s the secretary’s second trip to what he has called the Defense Department’s “priority region” since taking office in January.

“I think it’ll be a really good visit: you’ll hear me talk a lot about partnerships and the value of partnerships,” Austin told reporters traveling with him. “We believe that we’re a stabilizing force; no matter where we are, what part of the world, we add value to the stability of the region. So, my goal is to strengthen relationships.”

Alaska is a cornerstone of America’s defense in the Indo-Pacific. The state is home to some of DOD’s most modern systems, including F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning IIs — fifth generation aircraft that can dominate any battlespace. Alaska is also home to ground-based missile defense sites. These systems — manned by members of the Alaska National Guard — are key to America’s defense from rogue states.

Soldiers based in Alaska are key to America’s Arctic strategy and are integral forces for the Indo-Pacific. Army personnel have deployed to work with allies throughout the region and have conducted exercises and operations with many allies and partners.

Austin will travel on to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines before returning to Washington.

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