US and UK Defence Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging continued joint support for the Armed Forces Community yesterday
Following President Obama’s visit to the UK in May 2011 a Service Personnel Task Force was established between the UK and the US to share experiences and best practice, including strategies for supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel and how best to help those leaving the Services transition into civilian life.
Yesterday’s meeting is the third meeting of the Task Force but the first to be jointly chaired by UK Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, and, in his first official visit to the Ministry of Defence, the US Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr Clifford Stanley.
Mr Robathan said:
As our servicemen and women have stood together historically, and in recent operations, so the US and UK will stand together in recognising the sacrifices made by them and their families.
Our nations share the belief that there is much benefit to be gained through continued close engagement, and through the Service Personnel, Families and Veterans Task Force we will seek to learn from shared information and best practice.
Both nations ask a great deal from our Armed Forces and believe they have a right to expect a commitment from us to support them through the challenges of Service life. In the UK that commitment is embraced within the Armed Forces Covenant, the principles of which we are writing into law for the first time.
The Task Force is headed up by Dr Stanley and Mr Robathan, brings together teams of UK and US experts from inside government, and seeks the views and involvement of the charitable and business sectors. The Task Force focuses on three strands of work:
- supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel, including physical and psychological care and rehabilitation
- supporting Service personnel, veterans and families, in particular linking them to local communities
- supporting the transition of those leaving the Services into civilian life, including vocational training and education.