Secretary of Defense Speech

Remarks at Bilateral Meeting with Secretary of State for Defence Williamson


Secretary of State for Defence Williamson, Sir Kim, members of the U.K. delegation, welcome to Washington and welcome to the Pentagon. It is a pleasure to continue our conversation following our November meeting in London.

The United States is proud to strengthen our special relationship with the United Kingdom. It’s an unmatched bond, as we all know so well, forged from common values, but also shared sacrifice in the crucible of wars. Over a century of shared battlefield experiences from the Marne in World War I to the battlefields in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. and U.K. have stoically stood shoulder-to- shoulder against all adversaries.

Secretary Williamson, as you said in January, we face intensifying threats from “state-based aggression,” from rogue nations like DPRK and Iran to revisionist powers as different as China and Russia.

In the face of these threats, we value the U.K.’s diplomatic, moral and military leadership on the European and global stages, particularly as Russia seeks to undermine and weaken NATO’s cohesion and capabilities. And in the face of North Korea’s outlaw actions as well, our nations stand together with all other members of the UNSC, resolved to end the unnecessary and destabilizing provocations.

Recognizing a world awash in change, the United States has identified priorities through our recently released National Defense Strategy, just as the United Kingdom is doing now under your leadership on your National Security Capability Review.

We appreciate your steadfast efforts to preserve and adapt the United Kingdom’s critical defense capabilities. I welcome your team’s keen appreciation of these challenges that we all face and the resources required to meet them, because our democracies can afford survival, and because peace-loving nations need to know that Britain’s traditional, moral voice is strengthened by a capable military.

As close allies, we stand with you to retain our special military relationship in a world where no nation can alone provide for its security – and these efforts are vital, ensuring survival of our two nations’ way of life.

Secretary Williamson, we will again be discussing pragmatic ways to bolster our defense cooperation as we carry out our responsibility to strengthen our special relationship, turning it over to the next generation stronger than we inherited it.

Thank you and your delegation for traveling here.  You, your officers and your ideas are always welcome in the Pentagon. Thank you.

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