Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Canberra, Australia where she led the Presidential delegation, which included U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeff L. Bleich and Commander of the United States 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Scott H. Swift, at the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
"Australians and Americans have fought together--and given lives together--in every single major conflict over the past hundred years," said Secretary Napolitano. "Today reminds us of the sacrifices made by our fellow countrymen--Americans and Australians alike--and their courage, bravery, and determination to achieve victory, whatever the costs." Secretary Napolitano also read a commemorative message from President Obama, which noted that seven decades after the Battle, the U.S. and Australia "remain united in our purpose to preserve freedom, maintain stability, and promote lasting peace."
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a series of naval engagements off the northeast coast of Australia between May 4-8, 1942, that prevented the invasion of Port Moresby by Japanese forces and helped turn the tide of World War II in favor of the Allies.
While in Canberra, Secretary Napolitano delivered remarks at the Australian National University, highlighting the importance of security, privacy, and strong international partnerships. During her remarks, she underscored the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) commitment to protecting privacy rights through the DHS Privacy Office, which ensures that privacy protections are built into the department's systems and technologies.
Secretary Napolitano concluded her visit to New Zealand earlier today, meeting with Leader of the Opposition David Shearer and signing a Statement of Intent to explore frequent traveler facilitation pilot programs with Customs Minister Maurice Williamson. On May 4-5, Secretary Napolitano will participate in bilateral meetings with Australian counterparts and lead the Presidential delegation to Brisbane for another commemoration ceremony of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.