Chuck Hagel portrait

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel joke after attending the unveiling ceremony for Hagel’s official portrait at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. 

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley, Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will be in the Omaha area on the same day U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in Lincoln.

Mattis will visit U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base on Thursday as part of a three-stop tour, which he began Wednesday in Minot, North Dakota. 

The defense secretary is highlighting America's nuclear defense capabilities. StratCom's top officer would command nuclear forces in war, and Minot Air Force Base is home to more than 100 land-based nuclear missiles, as well as nuclear bomb-carrying aircraft. 

Mattis' trip was scheduled before the recent series of North Korean nuclear and missile tests. But the tests give Mattis a chance to highlight what the Air Force promotes as an always-ready system equipped to deliver nuclear devastation to nearly any point on the globe.

Thursday, Mattis will meet with StratCom leadership and discuss "strategic deterrence in the 21st century," according to a Defense Department news release.

Mattis will end his trip Friday in Mexico City, where he'll participate in Mexican Independence Day activities.

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