Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Meetings with ROK Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and ROK National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-Jin

Secretary of Defense Spokesperson Cmdr. Gary Ross provided the following readout:

‎Secretary Mattis met with Republic of Korea (ROK)Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and ROKNational Security Advisor Kim Kwan-Jin today in Seoul, South Korea to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-ROK alliance.

During the meetings, ‎the secretary emphasized the priority that President Trump places on the Asia-Pacific, and on strengthening the U.S.-ROK alliance. He also underscored that the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to defend the ROK and that the U.S. extended deterrence commitment remains ironclad.  ‎Both ROK officials impressed upon Secretary Mattis the importance of close cooperation in the face of a growing North Korea nuclear and ballistic missile threat. The secretary responded that the alliance would continue to take defensive measures in response to this threat developments, such as the stationing of THAAD to Korean Peninsula.

The secretary relayed that he had inherited an already strong Alliance, but committed to spending his tenure making it stronger than ever.

Release No: NR-043-17
Feb. 2, 2017

Department of Defense Announces Guidance on Implementation of Civilian Workforce Hiring Freeze

Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a memorandum providing guidance on the implementation of the presidential memorandum, dated Jan. 23, subject:  “Hiring Freeze.” The guidance ensures that the department will honor both the letter and spirit of the president’s direction, mindful of our significant national security mission and public safety responsibilities.  While remaining consistent with the president’s objectives, the department will ensure that applicants for DoD positions are treated fairly and consistently as the policy is implemented.

The secretary of defense has identified certain functions necessary to meet the department’s national security or public safety responsibilities, which are enumerated in the guidance.  Civilian positions may be exempt from the hiring freeze only if they are determined to be critical to the execution of those functions.  The guidance also outlines processes and procedures for approval of additional potential exemptions that meet the criteria.

 

This is an opportunity for the department to assess its most critical missions and requirements, ensuring that members of the civilian workforce are assigned and capable of executing the highest priority work.  The DoD guidance will help to accomplish this objective and ensure that resources are allocated in a manner that will promote effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

The secretary of defense expects that all members of the department will apply their best efforts in implementing the hiring freeze in accordance with the guidance issued today.  The department’s work will inform a government-wide plan to optimize the size of the federal civilian workforce and will best position the department to implement that plan for the long-term.

 

For more information please view the department’s GUIDANCE.

Release No: NR-042-17
Feb. 2, 2017

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Call with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman

Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout:

“Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke today by telephone with Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to discuss the strong U.S.-Saudi defense partnership. In their first conversation, Secretary Mattis thanked the minister of defense for Saudi Arabia’s contributions in countering ISIS around the world. He reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia strategic relationship, particularly to countering new and emerging security challenges in the Middle East. Secretary Mattis also noted his desire to consult closely with Saudi Arabia on security issues of mutual concern.”
Release No: NR-041-17
Jan. 31, 2017

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Call with Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti

Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke today by telephone with Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti to discuss the strong U.S.-Italian defense partnership.

In their first conversation, Secretary Mattis thanked Minister Pinotti for Italy’s leadership and contributions in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan and in securing Europe’s southern flank.  He praised the professionalism, capabilities and compassion of Italy’s deployed forces, saying that Italian forces represent the best that Italy has to offer. He highlighted specifically Italy’s carabinieri who are performing the important work of stability police training in several theaters.

Secretary Mattis also noted his desire to consult closely with Italy on security issues of mutual concern, especially Libya.  Both he and the minister pledged to consult further at the upcoming NATO defense ministerial in February.

Release No: NR-040-17
Jan. 30, 2017

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Call with Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Han Minkoo

Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke today by telephone with Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Han Minkoo to introduce himself and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to defend the ROK and provide extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities. Defense Minister Han congratulated Secretary Mattis on his confirmation and both wished each other a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year.

The two affirmed that the U.S.-ROK alliance of more than 60 years remains even more relevant today and determined to take steps to strengthen the alliance further to defend against the evolving North Korean threat.  Secretary Mattis recognized the significance of the U.S.-ROK alliance, noted that his visit to the ROK and Japan will be his first overseas trip during his tenure as secretary of defense, and conveyed that the U.S. will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the ROK forces.

Release No: NR-039-17
Jan. 30, 2017

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Meeting with the His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan

Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Pentagon today, his first bilateral or head-of-state meeting as secretary of defense. Secretary Mattis reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Jordan strategic relationship and the United States’ commitment to security and stability in the region. The two leaders have had a close and continuing dialogue for many years.  Secretary Mattis expressed his deep appreciation to His Majesty King Abdullah II for Jordan’s commitment and contributions to the counter-ISIS Coalition.

The two emphasized the close nature of the U.S.-Jordan defense partnership and reiterated their shared commitment to ensuring a stable and secure Middle East.

Release No: NR-038-17
Jan. 30, 2017

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on U.S. Casualty in Yemen

I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.

Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service. The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors.

I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan’s family in this most difficult time.

Release No: NR-037-17
Jan. 30, 2017