WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WANE) — United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks visited Purdue University Thursday to take a tour of Purdue’s research facilities that specialize in aerospace technology, energetic materials, semiconductors and hypersonics research.

Hicks received a firsthand look at Purdue’s national security focus at multiple facilities, including the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories and Birck Nanotechnology Center.

“We are investing heavily in the infrastructure, human and physical, to design, test and develop the systems necessary to protect the freedoms Americans enjoy,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

Hicks also met with ROTC students to discuss their academic progress and career goals. She also delivered a speech to students and faculty highlighting the spirit of American innovation and experimentation which continues to provide the United States with an enduring advantage against strategic competitors such as Russia and China.

The stop was part of a two-day, four-state tour where Hicks focused on linking the DoD’s resources to its strategic competition priorities.