Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby provided the following readout:
"Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Italian Minister of Defense Mario Mauro today at the Pentagon where the leaders discussed a range of issues including Afghanistan, Syria, and security in the Mediterranean, as well as cooperative efforts such as the Joint Strike Fighter program.
"Italy is a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally and an important leader in addressing global challenges in Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Balkans and North Africa.
"Secretary Hagel praised Italy's contributions to capacity building in emerging democracies in the Middle East and North Africa. Italy recently began providing security training to Libyan general purpose forces, and will help stabilize Afghanistan post 2014, as a framework nation in Afghanistan's western region.
"Secretary Hagel also lauded Italy's role in the international community's mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. Italy has offered to provide a port to transload the materials from Danish and Norwegian vessels to the Cape Ray, a United States ship that has been specially configured to neutralize the chemical weapons materials at sea.
"Secretary Hagel is thankful for the hospitality Italy provides to the approximately 33,000 U.S. service members, civilians, and families who live and work there, and looks forward to seeing Minister Mauro at this year's NATO Summit."