Navy Secretary Ray Mabus tours Pacific region to forge partnerships prior to increased Navy, Marine presence
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is touring the Pacific to meet with government and military leaders as his department plans to shift more ships, sailors and Marines to the region.
Mabus left Washington for Hawaii to meet with Adm. Cecil Haney, the new commander of Pacific Fleet. From there he will stop in Guadalcanal, Australia, East Timor, Brunei, the Seychelles and Cape Verde.
He told Navy Times in an interview that the goal of the two-week trip is to build stronger relationships between the host nations and the U.S. military, particularly in the Pacific — a focus of the Obama administration’s new national security strategy.
The first part of the trip includes visits to countries where the U.S. is seeking partnerships that give its forces strategic access to Southeast Asia, also a key focus of the expanding Chinese navy. The latter part of the trip includes meetings with African officials in an effort to address piracy issues.
“If I can go to places that not many senior Americans go, you can sometimes make a lot of progress on the partnership-building, on items of mutual interest, strengthening that connection, whether it’s Navy to Navy, Marine Corps to their ground forces or military to military,” Mabus told Navy Times.