At a meeting with British Defence Attachés, hosted in London, Sir Michael called on the UK’s military diplomats to take advantage of the growing network to deliver security and prosperity for Britain.
In a move which underlined the UK’s global role, Sir Michael last year announced the creation of three new regional hubs for defence engagement. The new British Defence Staffs for the Gulf, Asia Pacific and West Africa are now established, allowing our personnel to advance the UK’s important defence and security interests in their region. The new hubs will be based in Dubai, Singapore and Abuja.
Britain last year also strengthened its commitment to NATO Allies and European partners by creating new Defence Attaché posts in Albania, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia. In Africa, 2016 saw the UK establish a new Defence Section covering Senegal, The Gambia, Mali and Niger.
The expansion of the Ministry of Defence’s overseas network delivers on a key commitment of the Government’s 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). The SDSR increased the importance of defence engagement overseas, by making it a core defence task.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
The UK’s 120 Defence Attachés work to protect and advance Britain’s interests abroad, strengthening relationships with our allies and advancing defence and security partnerships.
Britain’s new Defence Staffs are now up and running, underlining our global role, promoting the UK abroad and furthering security and prosperity at home.
At the annual gathering in London, Sir Michael outlined his 2017 priorities to the Attachés. These include:
Pressing home the Coalition’s advantage against Daesh, including pushing the group out of Iraq.
Continuing to strengthen NATO, underlining its position as the world’s foremost defensive alliance.
Demonstrating the UK’s commitment to European and global security.
With a £178 billion equipment programme, the UK meets NATO’s 2% target for GDP spending on defence. This year, Britain is leading NATO’s ‘spearhead force’ - 3000 troops at high readiness, ready to respond to any threat. The UK will also deploy to Estonia in spring 2017, underlining our commitment to the defence of NATO. The UK has an extensive Defence Attaché network, with over 120 DAs in 80 countries worldwide.