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US Navy leader visits Indo-Pacific to discuss defence, partnerships

US Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven. Photo: US Navy

US Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven has conducted his first visit to Guam to meet with Indo-Pacific area military leaders, government officials, and service members.

US Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven has conducted his first visit to Guam to meet with Indo-Pacific area military leaders, government officials, and service members.

Under Secretary Raven travelled to Guam and Hawaii from 7 to 12 January to discuss regional security and stability, defence of American interests, and the defence of allies and partners.

Raven acts as the Department of Navy’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Management Officer, providing policy for defence and naval strategy, intelligence, sensitive activities, special access programs, space activities, critical infrastructure, small business programs, and the naval audit service.


“Our prosperity and security is built upon free and open oceans and as a maritime nation, we will continue to keep the sea lanes open and defend America and our allies and partners,” said Raven.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to the security, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”

During his visit to Guam, Raven met with acting Governor Joshua Tenorio and thanked him for Guam’s continued support of the Department of the Navy, as well as their hospitality to sailors, Marines, civilians, and their families.

“In order to accomplish their mission, our military service members rely on the capabilities of Guam’s infrastructure and the valued contribution of the Chamorro people,” said Raven.

“Thank you to the people of Guam for your support, collaboration, and partnership.”

Tenorio spoke about continued collaboration and emphasized the importance of defense and understanding potential impacts.

“These are dynamic times. In my meeting with Under Secretary Raven, it was clear that the Navy and the entirety of the DOD understand our administration’s priorities and our need to ensure that the quality of life for the people of Guam is improved as a result of expanded military activities,” said Tenorio.

“In addition to partnership with DOD to support the construction of a new hospital, we require additional details on the missile defence infrastructure … with the health and safety of our people at the forefront, we need to understand the environmental consequences of whatever is planned and executed.

“Additionally, with tourism, we want assurances that the new missile defence system is not going to limit commercial air activity on Guam.”

During his visit, Raven also met with Commander, Joint Region Marianas, Rear Admiral Greg Huffman, and other Navy leadership; engaged with sailors and commands assigned to Naval Base Guam; visited the USS Frank Cable (AS 40); spoke to soldiers assigned to Task Force Talon and visited the Army THAAD site; engaged Marines and sailors while visiting commands at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz; visited Andersen Air Force Base; and met with several members of Guam’s Armed Forces Committee Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout the under secretary’s visit, he received updates on infrastructure, missile defence, submarine/ship maintenance, capabilities, recruiting, and Typhoon Mawar impacts.

He routinely spoke about the importance and value of military service, the role US forward-postured forces serve, and the Department of Navy’s commitment to ensure the joint force can preserve the peace, respond whenever needed, and win decisively during conflict.

He emphasised partnerships and teamwork, explaining that the strong network of allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific ensures the stability and security of the region and facilitates the preservation of the rules-based international order.

Joint Region Marianas plays a vital role in US efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific due to its unique geographic proximity to Asia and its unparalleled value as a regional supply hub and training location.

In Hawaii, Raven met with senior military leaders, to include Commander, US Pacific Fleet Admiral Samuel J Paparo; Deputy Commander, U. Indo-Pacific Command Lieutenant General Stephen Sklenka; Commander, US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Lieutenant General William Jurney; Deputy Commander, Pacific Air Forces Lieutenant General James Jacobson; Joint Task Force-Red Hill Commander, Vice Admiral John Wade; and Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Rear Admiral Stephen Barnett. He also received operational updates, visited local commands, and toured installations, to include Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, and spoke with Navy, Marine and Air Force service members.

Raven has recently been designated as the Department of Defense’s lead senior Defence official for Guam. This designation assigns Raven elevated responsibilities, to include: serving as the DOD senior representative when meeting with key leaders in Guam; providing senior leader oversight, advocacy, and support to commander, Joint Region Marianas in the execution of its installation management mission; and bringing senior military leaders together to align efforts to meet operational requirements consistent with the National Defense Strategy, ensure resources are programmed and deconflicted across DOD components, and to develop and deliver new capabilities to meet logistics, environmental and infrastructure requirements.

Earlier this year, on 18 January, the US acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Sasha Baker met with Australian Secretary of the Department of Defence Greg Moriarty at the Pentagon to discuss growing defence and security cooperation between the United States and Australia.

The two officials emphasised their commitment to further deepen defence cooperation, including through defence technology collaboration, force posture initiatives, and the trilateral AUKUS partnership with the United Kingdom.

They affirmed the ironclad alliance between the United States and Australia and committed to continue their cooperation with regional allies and partners towards a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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