In Meeting with Governor Palacios, Senior Military Officials Emphasized Support, Communication

Senior military officials, including Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment/Chief Sustainability Officer) Meredith Berger, and Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General David H. Berger, traveled to Saipan yesterday to meet with Governor Arnold I. Palacios as part of high level talks to expand cooperation and communication between the CNMI and the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Assistant Secretary Berger and General Berger are two of the highest ranking military officials to have personally visited the CNMI. 

“We had an open and candid discussion about the CNMI’s priorities, and discussed ways that we can work more cooperatively to advance both the CNMI’s and the U.S. military’s interests,” Governor Palacios said. “Assistant Secretary Berger and General Berger also assured me that they would communicate and relay our need for support and assistance to the Secretary of Defense.”

“The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands provides phenomenal training opportunities for Marines, the joint force, and our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Gen. Berger. “We’re building a strong community here, and it will only get better as we continue our dialogue with the leadership of the Northern Marianas.”

Their meeting also focused on ongoing military projects, joint training exercises on Tinian, environmental issues surrounding these projects, and other matters. 

“The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is crucial to the strategic posture of Department of Navy forces,” said Assistant Secretary Berger. “It was a pleasure to speak with Governor Palacios about our shared vision of a more connected, more resilient CNMI that will benefit the local people and our service members.”

The Governor was joined by House of Representatives Speaker Edmund Villagomez; Senate President Edith Deleon Guerrero; Rep. Vicente Camacho, Chairperson of the Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs; Sen. Paul Manglona, Chairperson of the Committee on Federal Relations, Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation & Communications, and Committee on Rules and Procedures, and, Sen. Donald Manglona, Chairperson of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs and Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare.

General Berger has served as the Assistant Division Commander of 2d Marine Division; policy planner in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, J-5; Chief of Staff for Kosovo Force (KFOR) Headquarters in Pristina, Kosovo; Director of Operations in Plans, Policies, and Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; and the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration.

Assistant Secretary Berger is responsible for providing oversight and policy for Navy and Marine Corps energy and climate resilience; infrastructure sustainment, restoration and modernization; military construction; acquisition, utilization and disposal of real property and facilities; environmental protection, planning, restoration and natural resources conservation; and safety and occupational health.

Assistant Secretary Berger’s and Gen. Berger’s delegation included Maj. Gen. Mark Hashimoto, Executive Director, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, and Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, commander of Joint Region Marianas.


Office of CNMI Governor and Lt. Governor
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