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Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks visited U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) headquarters today in Doral, Florida.
She met with the command leadership and discussed National Defense Strategy implementation and the regional challenges presented by competitors like People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia.
Deputy Secretary Hicks also toured headquarters facilities and met with junior and mid-career enlisted and commissioned service members to discuss quality-of-life issues and Secretary Austin’s Taking Care of People priorities.
During their meeting, Deputy Secretary Hicks and USSOUTHCOM Commander Gen. Laura Richardson discussed strategic competition with the PRC in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility, and the economic, political, and environmental consequences that accompany PRC investments in the region. They also discussed the importance of supporting partners and allies in the region through security cooperation, joint exercises, and capacity-building programs to counter strategic competitors, support the disruption of transnational criminal organizations, and address a range of shared security interests.
The deputy secretary also heard from the command team on efforts to expand security cooperation, address regional migration, increase partner-nation resilience to cyber security attacks, and support to partner nations to address the impacts of climate change.
She then toured facilities and met with junior- and mid-grade enlisted and commissioned service members to discuss quality-of-life issues, to include medical care, child care, housing, and efforts to reduce the impacts of high costs of living in the Miami metro area.
Deputy Secretary Hicks thanked the entire USSOUTHCOM team for their efforts to support U.S. and regional security in a posture-limited theater.
This engagement concludes a series of visits to the headquarters of each U.S. Combatant Command to personally interact with leaders and service members, and learn more about the unique issues that affect the department’s geographically-dispersed elements.
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