Northern Mariana Islands Governor Arnold Palacios (I) flew out to Washington, DC, on January 9 for “high-level” discussions with federal government officials. These extended trips are rare for the governor–it has been a year since he was last in DC.

Most of the governor’s meetings will be with senior representatives in the Department of Defense. This emphasis underscores the military significance of the Northern Mariana Islands and the role it plays in American extended positions.The talks are not all about American grand strategy, however. Governor Palacios will also seek to finalize infrastructure funding that has been previously floated, both from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior. Securing these infrastructure grants will prove especially critical in the wake of Typhoon Bolevan, which has damaged infrastructure on all three islands.

He also met with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R). Senator Murkowski is a member of appropriations, interior, and energy committees, so Governor Palacios discussed infrastructure grants with her as well.Governor Palacios returns on January 15, hopefully with clarity on the Northern Mariana Islands’ military role and funding to help rebuild critical infrastructure.