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Defense Secretary Ash Carter Speaks In San Diego

Reported by Katie Schoolov

Photo caption:

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Defense Secretary Ash Carter Ash Carter speaks to sailors at USS Carl Vinson, Sept. 29, 2016.

The U.S. aims to continue being the dominant military power in the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday in a speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on San Diego Bay.

Carter said an effort started four years ago to move more U.S. military assets to the region and shore up alliances there "will continue to sharpen our military edge so we remain the most powerful military in the region and the security partner of choice."

Carter headed to Hawaii after the speech to host a meeting with defense ministers of Asian and Pacific countries.

Among those he'll meet is Delfin Lorenzana, the defense secretary of the Philippines. Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' maverick new president, said Wednesday his country would no longer take part in military exercises with U.S. forces, following war games scheduled for next week.

Carter, in his speech, said U.S. relations with the Philippines were ironclad, Stars & Stripes reported.

The defense secretary began a four-state swing Monday by calling for billions of dollars of upgrades to U.S. nuclear weapons and facilities. Speaking to personnel at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota — home to the B- 52H Stratofortress bombers of the 5th Bomb Wing and the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles of the 91st Missile Wing — he noted that the U.S. hasn't built a nuclear weapon in 25 years, while other nations have.

Modernizing the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal is expected to cost $348 billion over the next eight years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Carter also visited New Mexico, where he spoke at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and toured the Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.

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