White House.gov Press Office Feed
Friday, March 13, 2015
DEFENSE SECRETARY CARTER SAYS U.S. AND U.K. SECURITY TIES STRONG
Right: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and British Defense Secretary Michael C. Fallon brief reporters during a joint news conference at the Pentagon, March 11, 2015. The leaders met beforehand to discuss security and other matters of mutual importance. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt.
Carter: U.S., U.K. Maintain Strong Security Ties
By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, March 11, 2015 – The security ties between the United States and the United Kingdom are enduring and exceptional, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today in a joint news conference with British Defense Secretary Michael C. Fallon.
For 200 years -- since the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war of 1812 -- service members from the U.S. and the U.K. have flown together, sailed together and fought together, Carter said.
“And our military collaboration in so many different areas -- from Iraq to Afghanistan -- reinforces the fact that our ‘special relationship’ is a cornerstone of both of our nations’ security,” he said.
The news conference was a first for both leaders -- it was Fallon’s first visit to the Pentagon and Carter’s first trip to the briefing room as defense secretary.
During their meeting before the news conference, the two secretaries discussed the “full scope of issues on which the United States and the United Kingdom are leading together around the world,” Carter said.
The U.K. is a stalwart member of the global coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Carter said, noting British contributions in the air and on the ground.
“As we continue to support local forces, the United States is fortunate to have our British allies by our side,” he said.
From the beginning of combat operations in Afghanistan, the U.K. was steadfast in its support, Carter said, and it continues that support as the mission evolves by providing hundreds of troops to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.
“Their efforts will be critical to making sure that our progress there sticks,” Carter said.
In the Baltics, the U.S. and U.K. are working together to reassure their transatlantic allies and deter further Russian aggression, he said.
Support to Ukraine
“The United States has been clear from the outset of the crisis in Ukraine that we support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Carter said. “And we’ve been very clear that if Russia continues to flout the commitments it made in the September and February Minsk agreements, the costs to Russia will continue to rise -- including and especially through sanctions in coordination with our European allies and partners.”
The United States will continue to support Ukraine’s right to defend itself, he said. The White House announced today that it plans to provide Kiev with an additional $75 million in nonlethal security assistance and more than 200 Humvees, Carter noted.
“This brings U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to a total of nearly $200 million, with the new funds going towards unmanned aerial vehicles for improved surveillance, a variety of radios and other secure communications equipment, counter-mortar radars, military ambulances, first-aid kits and other medical supplies,” he said.
The additional assistance underscores the reassurance mission, Carter said, noting the impending arrival of troops and equipment from the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division to train with regional allies as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
“And since Russia’s aggression began last year, the United Kingdom has also stepped up militarily, contributing to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission and serving as a framework nation for NATO’s Very-high Readiness Joint Task Force,” he said.
The NATO mission’s importance is demonstrated by alliance members’ commitment, agreed to last year in Wales, to invest two percent of their gross domestic product in defense, Carter said.
“Seventy years after we declared victory in Europe, our NATO allies -- and indeed the world -- still look to both [the U.S. and UK] as leaders,” he said. “And it’s clear that the threats and challenges we face -- whether they manifest through cyberattacks, ISIL’s foreign fighters, or Russian aircraft flying aggressively close to NATO’s airspace -- all of those will continue to demand our leadership.”
Leadership requires investment in innovation and modernized capabilities, in prudent reforms and in the forces necessary to meet national security obligations, Carter said.
“These are investments that both our nations -- and both our defense institutions -- must not only make, but embrace in the months and years to come,” he said.