Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has hosted a visit by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in London.
At a press conference at Lancaster House, Mr Fallon and Mr Carter spoke about the special relationship between the US and UK and how the two nations continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of emerging threats, including ISIL and resurgent Russian aggression.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Our two nations continue standing shoulder-to-shoulder against multiple, concurrent dangers. The first part of our morning meeting focused on operations. In the Middle East we’re degrading the ISIL terrorists, reducing their Iraqi-held territory by thirty per cent. But our strategy goes beyond strikes and training: we’re freezing their finances, stemming the flow of foreign fighters, and countering their corrupt ideology.
We also spoke about Russia. By propping up Assad, instead of defeating ISIL, they risk making a grave situation worse. To avoid winding up on the wrong side of history, Russia must help us find a diplomatic solution while alleviating the humanitarian crisis.
Mr Carter’s UK visit comes a day after NATO Defence Ministers met in Brussels and also provided an opportunity for the two nations to share thoughts in the run-up to the SDSR as well as discuss how a growing budget will enable the UK to concentrate on a full, comprehensive review.
Mr Fallon also announced the first tranche of funding for a major new Government drive on innovation and technology in Defence. The £70 million funding package will transform our approach to innovation over the next 5 years ensuring Defence is open to innovative ideas and technologies from the widest range of sources across industry, academia and SMEs.
Mr Fallon said:
Together these investments will ensure that we are able to plan, develop, and deliver genuinely cutting edge capability to our Armed Forces.
Later in the day, Mr Fallon and Mr Carter visited Imperial College in London, where they looked at technology and research being jointly funded and developed by the UK and US.
They challenged Defence officials on both sides of the Atlantic to take inspiration from the US Tizard mission over 75 years ago which led to ground breaking technologies that helped win World War Two.
Mr Fallon said:
Both Secretary Carter and I believe taking a more innovative approach is vital to ensuring we are ready for the challenges we will face together in future. Harnessing new technologies and concepts of operation will be central to that.
So today Secretary Carter and I have challenged out teams to tighten our bonds, to bring forward proposals that match the ambition of the Tizard mission.
The UK is already championing innovation in collaboration with the US by jointly investing in things like biologically inspired unmanned aircraft. Over recent years this has seen the insect-like Black Hornet UAV which provides soldiers with amazing capability in current operations. The UK has also looked for innovative new ways of working – for example, the MoDHACK 2015, which saw Silicon Roundabout software engineers give their time for free developing apps which might be used in military support to disaster relief operations.
You can read Mr Fallon’s full opening remarks here