NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Policymakers and defense industry representatives are coming together in Rhode Island to discuss innovation and technologies in development for the military.

The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance is hosting its sixth annual conference on defense innovation Monday through Wednesday in Newport.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper plans to participate Tuesday.

The executive director of the alliance, Molly Donohue Magee, says local industry executives can hear directly from Esper about his priorities and he can learn more about the region's role in the national defense.

Esper was invited by U.S. Sen Jack Reed and Rep. Jim Langevin. The Rhode Island Democrats are also taking part in the forum, along with other congressional and military leaders.

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport is hosting an advanced naval technology exercise this week.

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