Gates to Meet with Canadian Defense Minister

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates trav­els to Ottawa, Cana­da, today to meet with Defense Min­is­ter Peter MacK­ay, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said.
The meet­ing, which was sup­posed to be the first tri­lat­er­al meet­ing of the North Amer­i­can Defense Min­is­ters, becomes a U.S.-Canada bilat­er­al meet­ing because Mexico’s defense min­is­ter has fall­en ill, Mor­rell said.

“This ses­sion was orig­i­nal­ly planned for last July, but had to be post­poned due to an out­break of vio­lence in Mex­i­co,” he added. “Now, unfor­tu­nate­ly, we’ve received word that due to ill­ness the Mex­i­can sec­re­tary of nation­al defense, Gen. Guiller­mo Galván Galván, will not be able to attend tomorrow’s ses­sion as he had hoped, and the tri­lat­er­al meet­ing will have to be post­poned once again.”

Gates and MacK­ay will dis­cuss U.S.-Canada defense issues and areas of coop­er­a­tion, includ­ing mutu­al efforts in Afghanistan, Mor­rell said, adding that Gates will look for future oppor­tu­ni­ties to engage with defense lead­ers in Mex­i­co.

From Ottawa, Gates will fly to Offutt Air Force Base in Oma­ha, Neb., to par­tic­i­pate in a Jan. 28 change-of-com­mand cer­e­mo­ny for U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand.

“This event will give the sec­re­tary a chance to thank [Air Force] Gen. Kevin ‘Chili’ Chilton for his decades of ser­vice in the mil­i­tary,” Mor­rell said, “and wel­come his suc­ces­sor at Strat­com, Gen. Bob Kehler, who has most recent­ly been com­man­der of Air Force Space Com­mand.”

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also will par­tic­i­pate in the change of com­mand, Mor­rell added.

Mullen will fly to Nebras­ka from Brus­sels, where he arrived today to attend the NATO Mil­i­tary Committee’s chiefs of defense meet­ing. The chair­man also met with his Russ­ian coun­ter­part, Gen. Niko­lay Makarov, as part of the NATO-Rus­sia Coun­cil ses­sion that took place today.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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