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Hagel, Australian Counterpart Note Progress, Cooperation

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith met for a working lunch at the Pentagon this afternoon, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little said the two defense leaders discussed the progress and cooperation between the United States and Australia on a number of fronts, including the rotation of U.S. forces to Australia, cooperation in space and cyberspace, and their nations’ shared commitment to investing in critical defense capabilities.

“Secretary Hagel commended the progress to date of the rotation of U.S. Marines to Australia, noting that the second company-sized rotation of Marines arrived in Darwin recently and will train with their Australian counterparts over the next six months,” the press secretary said.

Hagel also thanked Smith for Australia's significant commitment to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, Little added, and emphasized the enduring importance the United States places on the Asia-Pacific region.

“[He] assured Minister Smith of the American commitment to the Asia-Pacific and to the security of our allies and partners,” Little said. “The two leaders plan to meet again on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore next month."

The press secretary added that Hagel thanked Smith for his condolences in the wake of yesterday’s deadly tornado in Moore, Okla.


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Chuck Hagel

Related Sites:
State Department Fact Sheet on Australia

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