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SECNAV Travels to Chile; Meets with Key Military Leaders

13 June 2024

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro underscored the Navy’s commitment to the strong and enduring partnership between Chile and the United States during a visit June 11-13.

SANTIAGO, Chile – Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro underscored the Navy’s commitment to the strong and enduring partnership between Chile and the United States during a visit June 11-13, where he met with key U.S. and Chilean military and civilian leaders.

Del Toro first met with U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bernadette M. Meehan, and Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Gen. Laura Richardson. From Chile, he met with Under Secretary of Defense Ricardo Montero; Chief of the Air Force Lt. Gen. Leonardo Romanini; Chief of the General Staff of the Navy Vice Adm. José Luis Fernández; and Chief of the Joint Staff Vice Adm. Pablo Niemann, among others, in support of Southern Seas 2024.

Southern Seas 2024 aims to enhance capability, improve interoperability, counter threats, and strengthen maritime partnerships with countries throughout the region through joint, multinational and interagency exchanges and cooperation. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Carrier Strike Group 10 are transiting around South America, engaging with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay, providing the opportunity for partnered countries to train together and learn from one another during subject matter exchanges, exercises, and tactical sea scenarios.

On Wednesday, the Secretary met individually with Vice Adm. Niemann and Vice Adm. Fernández, as well as Commander of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Claudio Maldonado. He also presented awards to several Chilean Navy personnel. During the meetings, Del Toro expressed his commitment to working with Chile and other South American nations to address shared security challenges.

“Economic security is national security, and we must continue to work together to counter the common maritime challenges which threaten our way of life,” said Del Toro. 

On Thursday, Secretary Del Toro met with leadership at the Chilean National Ministry of Defense. Del Toro expressed appreciation for Chile’s participation in Southern Seas 2024, and their important work alongside interagency colleagues, allies, and partners, to address shared security challenges and promote adherence to international law.

Del Toro ended his time in Chile meeting with leaders from the Office of the Naval Research Global. Secretary Del Toro conveyed his appreciation for ONR’s commitment to fundamental research and their dedication to the availability of worldwide scientific information, resulting in positive strategic collaboration through scientific diplomacy.

Chile is one of the United States’ strongest partners in Latin America, and a leader in promoting respect for democracy, economic stability, education, environmental protection, human rights, and sustainable development throughout the region.

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