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The UK-US defence partnership

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has been talking about why the UK and US must remain partners of choice in defence.

On Wednesday 26 March, the Defence Secretary gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC about the special relationship that exists between the UK and the US.

Various UK and US defence issues were raised in his speech, including Nato and European allies working together, broadening military capability, and Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Philip Hammond recognised the challenges that European defence faces in these times of austerity, but urged European Nato countries to take on greater responsibility for providing security in Europe.

British and French troops
British and French troops taking part in a training exercise (library image) [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

During his speech, Mr Hammond said:

Nato needs to grasp these challenges, and with the current events in Ukraine as a backdrop, reassert the pivotal role of Nato in our collective security, and demonstrate that we are prepared to put our money where our mouths are.

Guests at the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom were also told about the meeting between Philip Hammond and the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel where they discussed the current situation in Ukraine.

A British reservist and a Danish soldier
A British reservist and a Danish soldier training together (library image) [Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie RLC, Crown copyright]

Mr Hammond said:

We have a shared view of Russia’s actions and the consequences that Russia must face as a result.

With thousands of Russian troops still massed upon the border with Ukraine, there remains a significant risk of the crisis escalating.

That is why we, with the United States and our allies in Europe, have imposed a range of sanctions on Russia.

British and American troops
British and American troops working together on operations in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC, Crown copyright]

The Defence Secretary went on to say that there is hope that Russia and Ukraine will be able to resolve this dispute peacefully, through diplomatic means.

The future investment in our armed forces and the benefit that can bring to the UK’s relationship with the US was also reinforced by Philip Hammond. He said:

With a fully integrated force of 190,000 regulars and reserves, retaining our ability to deploy into the field a division-size force, our cutting-edge, broad spectrum conventional capabilities, our world class Special Forces, and our unique intelligence network, the UK will continue to be able to project and sustain military power around the world.

We will remain the most capable and most interoperable ally of the United States of America.