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Defense Secty Carter to visit LANL, Sandia

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By Tris DeRoma

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be wrapping up his two-day visit to New Mexico today after a whirlwind tour of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and the state’s two national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos.
The purpose of Carter’s stop in New Mexico was to greet and thank the personnel at the base “for their work to ensure the readiness of the nuclear force,” according to the Defense Department.
His tour of the two laboratories was also to thank them for their work in the “development, assessment and security of the nuclear triad.”
The tour of the laboratory was closed to the press and the public.
During his visit, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich asked Carter to open a “Defense Innovation Unit Experimental” office in the state.
Udall and Heinrich, in a joint statement, said they told Carter New Mexico would be a natural place to have such an office, because of the support it would get from the state’s two laboratories.
DIUx offices are staffed by a mix of civilian, active duty reserve and contractor, and they are part of the U.S. military’s strategy to stay militarily and technologically relevant.  
“A successful DIUx mission in New Mexico will serve as a hub, connecting the DOD to the robust southwest tech industry, similar to what Silicon Valley and Boston have done for Northern California and the Northeast,” the senators said in the statement.
Carter’s tour of Los Alamos and other parts of New Mexico was one of several stops in the U.S. Before New Mexico, Carter visited the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to give a speech on the future of the country’s nuclear capability.
His trip will end in Hawaii at the end of the month. In Honolulu, Carter will host a gathering of defense ministers from Asian nations that belong to the “U.S. Association of Southeast Asian Nations.” The purpose of the meeting will be to follow up on issues and commitments raised at the 2016 U.S.-ASEAN Summit held in Laos earlier this month.
“The ministers will discuss common security concerns and opportunities for further cooperation to build and sustain a rules-based international order in the Asia-Pacific,” said a Dept. of Defense spokesperson, in a written statement.
The conference will end with military exercises highlighting U.S. military capabilities and a dinner aboard the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor.