Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met today at the Pentagon with Italy's Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti. The two discussed the strong partnership between the United States and Italy, especially in the area of security and defense. Secretary Hagel highlighted his deep appreciation for Italy's hosting of U.S. forces and thanked Minister Pinotti for Italy's cooperation and flexibility to address regional crises, including those in the region.
Secretary Hagel lauded Italy for its leadership in promoting regional security and stability in the Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East. He also commended Italy for being a significant contributor towards the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons materials by offering a port to trans-load Syrian chemical materials between the Danish vessel Ark Futura and the U.S. vessel Cape Ray.
Secretary Hagel thanked Italy for its leadership, contributions and sacrifices in international coalition operations in the Balkans, the Middle East and especially Afghanistan. Secretary Hagel and Minister Pinotti discussed the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, where Italy's has committed to serve as a framework nation in the west.
Finally, the secretary and minister spoke about the importance of continued investment in defense and capabilities, especially the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Minister Pinotti discussed Italy's review of its armed forces and defense investments through its defense white paper. Secretary Hagel encouraged a level of ambition and investment that will ensure Italy can continue its strong contributions and leadership in the area of security.