Earlier in the day the Defence Secretary also addressed the Atlantic Council think-tank to emphasise the importance of NATO, the critical need for long-term thinking and the continuation of UK-US cooperation.
“For more than a hundred years our Armed Forces have fought in defence of our common values and interests,” said Williamson. “From the turmoil of the Great War, through the dark days of World War II. From the heat of Korea, to the chill of the Cold War. From the mountains of Afghanistan, to the deserts of Iraq today.
“Our two countries have developed the deepest, broadest and most advanced Defence relationship of any two nations. The United States has never had nor will have a more reliable ally than the United Kingdom. Others may pretend, but you will find no greater ally than us.”
During his meeting with Mattis, the pair went on to discuss current threats to global prosperity and safety. Russia and the ongoing fight against Daesh were among the hot button issues highest on the agenda.
The UK and US are the biggest overseas suppliers to each other’s militaries and have worked closely on numerous key projects. The most prominent of these is the F-35 fighter jet programme. A further five aircraft recently arrived at RAF Marham, two months after the first-ever RAF batch flew from the US.
Both nations play key roles in NATO. Both have called on other nations to invest more in security and increase the readiness of their forces. By the end of 2018, eight members will meet their commitment to spending 2% of their GDP on defence compared with just three in 2014.
According to Theresa May’s cabinet, an even closer bond is expected post-Brexit, as the UK establishes new relationships and trade deals outside the European Union.
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