WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned a panel of experts about the importance of updating military infrastructure and collaborating with Pacific region partners and allies—two of her top priorities as the incoming Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support. The Senator asked her questions during a full committee hearing on Global Security Challenges and Strategy. During her line of questioning, Senator Hirono highlighted the importance of updating DOD infrastructure in Hawaii and strengthening relations with Pacific allies, especially the Freely Associated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
“Clearly, there are many demands on our resources—that is an understatement—and I would consider a foundational concern to be the need to invest in our infrastructure, which is not only a matter of geopolitical competition, but also the readiness of the forces,” Senator Hirono stated. “As Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness improving our military’s readiness is a top priority. In the last year, there have been numerous issues with the military’s infrastructure in Hawaii—from water main breaks to toxic chemical leaks and spills endangering our groundwater. And I know that these kinds of events are not particular to Hawaii. Across the country, we need to better maintain and modernize our DOD infrastructure to take care of our people, get our systems out of maintenance on time, and be able to support national security.”
Senator Hirono also highlighted the importance of the U.S. working cooperatively with our allies and partners to strengthen our national defense relationships in the Indo-Pacific through channels such as agreements with the Philippines, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the current renegotiation of the Compacts of the Freely Associated (COFA) nations.
“A key foundation of our national defense strategy is integrated deterrence, which highlights the need to work cooperatively with our allies,” continued Senator Hirono. “A number of you have already emphasized how important it is to strengthen our allies and partners, to strengthen our economic, cultural, and defense relationships.”
All of the experts on the panel agreed that strengthening the United States’ relationships with Pacific Island nations, such as COFA nations, will play a crucial role in efforts to deter China’s military expansion across the Pacific.
A link to download video of Senator Hirono’s full question line is available here.
As the incoming Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Senator Hirono is focused on overseeing the safe closure of Red Hill, rebuilding and modernizing military infrastructure in Hawaii and around the country, strengthening U.S. relationships with partners and allies, and advancing DOD’s work to combat climate change.