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Panetta to Visit Groton Before Halifax Forum

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will leave tomorrow to speak with sailors and civilians in Groton, Conn., and then move on to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a defense ministerial conference.

In Canada, the secretary also will meet with Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said during a news conference today with Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.

In Groton, the secretary will visit General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyards where Virginia-class submarines are built, Kirby said, where he will be briefed on submarine construction. His visit highlights the importance of a robust defense industrial base that can quickly meet future challenges, he added.

Panetta also will meet with the submariners of the pre-commissioning unit of the Mississippi, and will visit the forward engine room of another pre-commissioning unit, the North Dakota, where he will speak with shipyard workers and Navy personnel, Kirby said.

Following the visit, the secretary will fly to Nova Scotia for the Halifax International Security Forum, which brings together defense ministers from around the world to discuss key defense and security issues.

Panetta will discuss America’s strong bilateral defense relationship with Canada, and meet with French Gen. Stephane Abrial, the NATO allied commander for transformation, Kirby said. The forum will allow Panetta to have his fourth meeting with Barak.


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