Panetta: Hawaii important to Asia-Pacific security

CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is telling troops Hawaii is important to advancing peace and security throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Panetta spoke Thursday during a town hall meeting at Pacific Command headquarters on Oahu. He stopped briefly in the islands on his way to Asia.

The secretary says the military of the future will be smaller, agile, flexible, deployable, and on the cutting edge of technology.

Panetta will first stop in Singapore, where he will speak at an annual conference on regional security. He will also travel to Vietnam and India.

The Obama Administration earlier this year announced a new defense strategy that places greater emphasis on a U.S. military presence in the region in response to Asia's growing economic importance and China's rise as a military power.

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