NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is counting on defense companies in Rhode Island to help ensure the nation's security.

Hagel said he relies on the state as he briefly toured the exhibit area at the inaugural Defense Innovation Days, hosted by the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance.

Hagel spoke with executives at Electric Boat and the Raytheon Company and praised them for their defense work.

The event brought policymakers and industry representatives together to discuss new trends within the defense industry and technologies being developed and deployed to military forces. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and other members of the state's congressional delegation attended.

Hagel also hosted a town hall meeting on the Defense Department's role in national security at the U.S. Naval War College.

Shutterstock/Stephen B. Goodwin