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Immediate Release

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks Visits Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon: 

Today in Hawaii, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks visited Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. 

She was accompanied by U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono and U.S. Representative Ed Case.

During the PHNSY and IMF tour, the shipyard leaders discussed their mission, demonstrated the value of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) historic strategic investments in the public yards, and demonstrated the scope of DoD’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP)- to include construction of a new dry dock capable of servicing Virginia-class and future fast-attack submarines.

Deputy Secretary Hicks noted that the DoD Fiscal Year 2023-2028 investment into Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard’s construction of a new dry dock capable of servicing Virginia-class and future fast-attack submarines is the largest single military construction project in in DoD history, totaling around $3.6 billion.

She also reiterated that the Department of Defense will strive to maintain its positive impact to the state of Hawaii by offering competitive jobs at all levels to keep talent in Hawaii, and thanked lawmakers for their continued support toward upgrading DoD’s capabilities and capacity at PHNSY & IMF.

She also met with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander Adm. John Aquilino and Joint Task Force Red Hill Commander Vice Adm. John Wade to receive an update on the Navy’s progress toward defueling the Red Hill site and rebuild trust with Hawaii’s citizens and lawmakers. Deputy Secretary Hicks said she is satisfied with the Navy’s progress, which includes an accelerated schedule for Red Hill defueling, which is scheduled to begin in mid-October.

Later, she met with servicemembers from across the services and multiple Hawaii-based commands to discuss quality of life issues, their role in supporting the U.S. National Defense Strategy, and get their feedback on Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Taking Care of Our People initiatives, which are designed to improve the well-being and resilience of our forces and their families.  

Throughout her travels, the Deputy Secretary consistently meets with junior- and mid-grade service members in closed settings, without local command oversight, to hear directly about the issues which impact our people the most. 

She commonly hears about resourcing challenges- to include housing, pay, and childcare availability- and uses that information to help gauge the effectiveness of Department policies aimed at alleviating those challenges. The feedback she receives also helps to illuminate regionally specific challenges which require additional attention in specific challenge areas.  

Following the troop engagement, the Deputy Secretary participated in more discussions focused on the Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE) series, which test the effectiveness of JADC2 data integration in the context of globally-integrated mission threads and key operational problems identified in the National Defense Strategy (NDS).

“Foundationally, we need to understand why and how technology and improved workflows influence operations,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks. “In the ideal case, that would be the positive impact new technology has, and its effective cascade into downstream operations- making our decision makers and warfighters more effective.”

During her two-day visit to Hawaii, Deputy Secretary Hicks engaged with lawmakers and military officials on a broad span of topics related to U.S. force presence in Hawaii and U.S. National Defense Strategy implementation. 

This visit was her second visit to Hawaii to meet with USINDOPACOM leadership as Deputy Secretary of Defense.