US Secretary of Defense welcomed to UK
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, is visiting the UK for the first time in his new role, reaffirming the special relationship between the two companies.
As well as having a number of aligned security goals, the two companies work very closely on defence and are vocal supporters of NATO’s 2% minimum GDP spend.
Mr Mattis was welcomed by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon; the two met to discuss a number of defence and security issues, such as NATO modernisation and increased defence spend from members, the campaigns against Daesh in Iraq and Syria and the fight against extremism, and the joint equipment and defence trade programmes. The two called on NATO allies to increase their defence budgets in order to demonstrate greater burden sharing.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “We have no closer friend than the United States and across the globe our nations are standing side by side in defending our values. Together we’re showing leadership on the world stage – tackling extremism, standing up to Russian aggression and modernising NATO, making it fitter, faster and more agile.”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said: “I thank Minister Fallon for the very warm welcome to the UK on my first visit as Secretary of Defense. The special relationship is a source of strength for our two nations, standing together in defense of our freedoms. It is demonstrated daily in our military-to-military interactions across a host of domains, and our relationship grows in strength with the mutual respect and friendship we share.”
Sir Michael also took the opportunity announce a £90M investment to support the UK’s new F-35 Lightning aircraft, with a multi-million pound contract, providing maintenance, training and logistic services to be located at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “Nothing demonstrates the strength of our relationship better than our joint work on the most advanced combat aircraft in the world – the F-35. The UK is proud to be the future repair hub for all the European jets. This additional investment at RAF Marham will ensure that we have a formidable fighting force that, at a time of growing danger, will help us work with our US partners to promote international peace and security.”
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