tv British Defense Secretary on NATO Alliance CSPAN August 7, 2018 9:50pm-10:57pm EDT
a funny remark but it is no joke. i have spoken from legislators across the board, senators, representatives, mayors. person is notngle confident that one thing can be done about the 17 people who died in my school, and the many others who have died since. c-span.org c-span, and listen on the free c-span radio app. from britishrks defense secretary gavin williamson on the nato alliance and the u.k.'s role in the world. he addressed military aggressiveness and military modernization. hosted by the atlantic council, this is one hour. host: good morning, everyone and
, welcome to the atlantic council. my name is jim jones. i am the interim chairman of the atlantic council. i work with the skull crop kocroft center as well. i have been a big fan of the council for many years. i am honored to be here especially for this very great day. we are pleased to welcome the secretary of state for defense of the united kingdom, the honorable gavin williamson. welcome to washington. there is no secret in this room about the fact that the u.s., -- the u.s.-u.k. relationship has for many years been the anchor of the transatlantic relationship since world war ii. my own experience with the u.k. has more to do with the royal marines, which i have had many great expeditions with around the world, and we have a very tight relationship as does the navy, air force, and the army.
where more than allies, where -- we are more than allies. we are friends. we think the same way and the -- and meet the threats that face us same way. these are crucial times that we live in. announcedentury has itself as a messy century full of different centers of gravity , big changes in what defines and national security. more than just about armies, navies, air forces, and marine corps, but also what defines us as a people in our economic strength and culture and the rule of law. and in those several things working together hopefully will lead toward a peaceful world. in europe, our friends in europe are challenged by a russia that
is increasingly disruptive in what it seeks to do. that has had the effect of revitalizing ally to defense -- revitalizing allied defense spending, military modernization and readiness. what is still the most important alliance in the world and that is the north atlantic treaty organization. the nato summit that recently concluded, despite the headlines, was in fact a very good summit that delivered quite a few important conclusions and set the alliance on a good path toward combating the threats. -- the threats that face us. the u.k. of course has been at the desired defense spending level for quite a while. and i think we should pay tribute to the europeans for kicking in over $40 billion towards revitalizing the economic strength of our defense
agreements. the u.k. has troops in estonia, and poland. it forms a core of the nato defense in northern europe. it provides leadership in the region, troops in afghanistan for many years, and so on. the u.s. and the u.k. have been shoulder to shoulder for many years, sharing these defense and security priorities. so we are very pleased today to welcome the secretary of state williamson, who was appointed in 2017, a position of great responsibility going all the way , from strategy to acquisition to operational deployments. in 2016, he was honored to be named commander of the order of the british empire. today we hear from our guest, and we will have a moderated conversation with the 23rd secretary of the air force, the
honorable beverly jones, who is here today. she is a distinguished fellow of the atlantic council and the war -- and a board director of the atlantic council. following that discussion, we will have an opportunity for you to engage with the state secretary, and this entire session will be on the record. you are encouraged to join the conversation on twitter and use #strongerwithallies. and we are indeed stronger with allies. mr. secretary we welcome you to , the atlantic council and the , floor is yours. [applause] secretary williamson: it is an enormous privilege to be here today. i must begin by thanking the atlantic council for hosting this event. told that washington
in august is not always at its best, so you must be the more hardened inhabitants of this city. the reputation of the atlantic council precedes it. a list of famous alumni is a who's who of the great and good of washington. , brent scowcroft, colin powell, a list that goes all the way back to the formation in 1961. in fact, you could not have formed at a more timely moment one year before the cuban , missile crisis. history does not record what role the atlantic council played at that time, but i have counsel that the wise of some of your founder members was sought. and judging by the outcome, it was clearly good advice.
today, the insights of your experts are just as important as we seek to navigate a rapidly changing world, as we seek to adapt and harness change and work together to seize the opportunities which change brings. we need that type of dynamic, creative thinking. because i know that many people in this city are nervous about the rapidly changing politics, the rise of new powers and the moving tectonic plates of global politics. people still worry about brexit , and what role britain will play in the world. no one should worry. for while britain is leaving the european union, we are clear about our place in the world. we will remain a nation that champions those fundamental
values of freedom, democracy, and tolerance. we will remain a global trading nation, and we will remain a good always for , committed to strengthening our international security and prosperity. brexit is britain's moment. it is britain's moment to look up and be more ambitious and redefine our place in the world. in some ways, the european union has limited our vision, discouraged us from looking to the horizon. now we're being freed to reach further and aim higher. the u.k. is determined to seize these new opportunities. my job as defense secretary is to make sure that we can
develop, and if necessary deploy hard power which underpins the soft power of our global influence. we start from the strongest of foundations. britain is a major global actor. we have always been a tier-one military power, and we always will be a tier-one military power, possessing an ndependent nuclear deterrent, world-class special forces and cyber capabilities, exceptional independent forces able to deploy independently around the globe and take command of coalition forces to deliver joint outcomes. but we also agree with the national defense strategy, that by working together with allies and partners, we amass the greatest possible strength for the
long-term advancement of our interests. after all, we need international solutions to international in the past few years, we have seen global terror hit our streets on both sides of the atlantic. at the same time, we have witnessed increased competition between states, a terror sponsoring iran. a nuclear arms north korea. not forgetting to mention the rising china. an increasingly aggressive russia, using every weapon at its disposal to advance its interests. a russia who uses covert operations, cyber warfare, political regulations and military posturing. it is part of a wider pattern of malign behavior. who would've thought, a year ago, that we would have seen, in
the united kingdom, in a sleepy cathedral town in the middle of the english countryside, the use of chemical weapons. the first use of chemical weapons in europe since the second world war. it demonstrates the fact that the dangers are diversifying. states are topping the tactics of terrorists and terrorist increasingly armed with more and more sophisticated weapons, including cyber capabilities, all blurring the line between peace and conflict. it is clear, we are in a new age of intertwined dangers. it is getting ever more complex.
it is even more important, that we stand together with our allies. i am not here to give you a history lesson, but some of you may be aware that in the 1770's we were having a little bit of local difficulties in this area. [laughter] in 1778, the last british governor of new york wrote to george washington. it was the moment we were about to vacate the city, and he wrote, "the recent hostilities have been regrettable, but as we withdraw, we do so in the hope that our two nations will build on a common heritage and act together for the betterment of the world."
all those years ago, those words are so very true. we have no stronger ally than the united states. there is a reason so many have called our relationship special. for more than 100 years, our armed forces have fought in defense of common values and interests. from the turmoil of the great war through world war ii, from the heat of korea to the chill of the cold war. from the mountains of afghanistan and the deserts of iraq today, we have developed the deepest, broadest and most advanced defense relationship of any two nations. the united states has never had,
nor will have, a more reliable ally than great britain. others may pretend, but you will find no greater ally than us. to those who prefer to dismiss what the u.k. can do i have one message. we stand with you ready, willing, and able to meet the challenges of the 21st century. our appetite, desire and will to be a force to change, a force for good, a force for light that stands as a beacon to the world, that is what great britain is. let me explain what i mean in more detail. first, we are ready to respond to any situation at a moment's notice. we have forward deployed forces around the world. we can draw on our sovereign based territories around the world. these provide key facilities, not just for us, but also for the united states. we are extending our presidents
with our new naval base in bahrain. we can also bring in allies other than the u.s. as and when as required, such as art nine nation joint expeditionary force which can muster up to 10,000 personnel to respond to any type of operation. from humanitarian assistance through too high and end war. the embodiment of our great britain. more than 14,000 personnel employed on operations around the globe.
we have 19,000 preparing to deploy. currently they are in the north atlantic, commanding and direct doing anti-submarine warfare operations. keeping an eye on the undersea cables that underpin our online systems. they are on the eastern fringes of europe, supporting nato's deterrence against a resurgent russia, policing the black sea, the baltic and, soon, icelandic skies. and leaving nato's presence in estonia. in march, i visited our troops and estonia, close to the russian border. i was struck, but not surprised by how many locals still saw britain as a liberator and protector, willing to stand up for their freedom as we have so
often done in the past. our people are not just in estonia, they are in poland to, proudly operating with a u.s. battle group. it underlines the increasing integration of our forces, who serve and train together regularly, so they can fight together seamlessly. you see this integration between our armies from battle group through brigade from division to court. you see it between our air forces and our navies. you see it between your u.s. marines, who i will have the privilege of seeing at their sunset parade. and of course, our royal marine commandos. both the u.s. marines and our
royal marines have been exercising beside each other in the baltic, developing new ways of operating. they will be working together as part of the marine expeditionary force headquarters on exercises in norway later on this year. being ready is only one thing. the united kingdom has that essential willingness, a willingness to act, the willingness to use military force when other measures fail. the willingness to operate where others cannot or will not go. look at the way u.k. pilots joined their u.s. counterparts to strike chemical facilities, or look at our operations targeting isil in iraq and
syria. trading more than 77,000 infantry skills, counter engineering and medical facilities. and providing the second most highest contribution after the united states. the u.k. is not just in the middle east, we're in afghanistan training a new branch of officers and committing a second battalion, we are demonstrating a continued commitment to afghanistan and the afghan people. we are also in the indo pacific, where we lead the way by deploying naval ships to be the first nation to enforce united
nations sanctions against north korea, and where we are maintaining an unbroken presence of raw navy surface presence. when it comes to china, we have our eyes wide open. we have a positive relationship with beijing and wish to build on that. we will not shrink from telling them when they do not respect the commonly expected laws and rules. the laws and systems by which we all, china included, in a fit and have a duty to protect. in this respect, the militarization and artificial features is a backward step and puts them on the wrong side of the line of what people expect from international nations.
if you wish to be respected as a global power, you have to respect the international norms and behaviors that bind the international community together. from the continent of asia, to africa, i just returned from somalia. having had the opportunity to visit ethiopia and kenya, where i have seen the excellent work of u.k. forces training, stopping terrorists and helping bring stability. in mali, we are providing our french allies with strategic airplanes. we are the only power in europe with the capacity and capability to do that. in south sudan, our people have built a united nations hospital bringing aid in the midst of an awful humanitarian crisis.
whether the danger is near or far, whether we're acting unilaterally, bilaterally or multilaterally, the u.k. continues stepping up. i already touched on our nato efforts. since i am at the atlantic council, i will hope you will permit me to say a few more words in support of the alliance. it is worth remembering that european nations are not its sole beneficiary. the only time article five has ever been in vote was after 9/11, when great britain and other nato nations stood side-by-side with you after the atrocities we saw. just as the united kingdom helps the united states shoulder the burden of international security, so does nato.
it is providing a new majority of resources for the new iraq mission. they are responsible for 85% of the cost of the mission in the balkans. at the most recent summit, allies agreed to a readiness initiative within the next 18 months to have 13 mechanized battalions, 13 combat vessels and 30 air squadrons to be used in 30 days. alongside the u.s., the u.k. has been pressing for the alliance to do more and to pay its way. we're seeing results. last year saw nato's biggest spending increase in 25 years. since making the pledge of 2014, allies have spent $87 billion more on defense. in just two years time, that number will increase to $150 billion.
four years ago, only three allies spent 2% of their gdp on defense. by the end of this year, eight will meet that target. increasingly, we're seeing more partners will their weight, realizing that they have got to spend more because of the increasing threats that the world faces. investing in capabilities essential and relevant to modern warfare, making sure they have the best equipment and the best technology. the u.k. is ready, we are willing, but what makes us reliable partners is the fact that we are able. able to act now and far in the future. thanks to our world-class defense technology and industrial base.
some believe that only america can develop cutting-edge technology or capabilities. that has never been and never will be the case. the u.k. has always brought something special to the table, from the perilous days of the second world war when an unassuming british scientist named henry tizard flow to the united states taking a black box with the secrets of airborne radar and the turbojet. from then, right up until today, the u.k. is the biggest offshore supplier to the u.s. military. we have the skills to meet a host of your requirements from avionics to vehicle communications to military bridging and cbrm. that is why, 60 years on from
the signing of the mutual defense agreement, we continue to cooperate on nuclear technology. there can be no greater sign of trust then for us to work together on the dreadnought and columbia class submarines. that is why we're a partner on one of the biggest equipment programs of them all, with the u.k. producing 15% of every aircraft built. with the arrival of our new, 65,000 turn aircraft carrier, h.m.s queen elizabeth to the east coast, we take another step towards the momentous day when the u.s. marine corp. embark a squadron along our own.
for the first time we watch a fifth-generation aircraft flight from the world's first fifth-generation carrier. in other words, a vibrant u.k. defense industry spurring healthy competition. this is in our shared interests. why reinvent the wheel when you can buy from a trusted partner? it is a two way street. you invest in us, and we invest in you. today we are procuring more than 50 types of defense equipment from the united states, including maritime patrol aircraft, attack helicopters and reaper drones. the u.k. industry is making u.s. jobs. u.k. defense companies employ
50,000 staff in the united states, with u.k. businesses employing more than 50 million u.s. employees. we are helping programs supporting the livelihoods of 160,000 americans. the u.k. is one of only a handful of trusted partners to be included within the national technology and industrial base initiative, which is looking at sharing ideas and making global supply chains more resilient, so we can sustain our military advantage in the future. we must take maximum advantage of this to create the jobs and prosperity that the u.k. and u.s. need. the u.k. also combines world-class capability with strategic long-term ambition. this year, our world-famous royal air force celebrates its 100 birthday.
far from dwelling on the glory years of the spitfire or lancaster bomber. we have unveiled a new air strategy, to build the next generation of tempest fighters. no wonder our great nations continue to push the boundaries of innovation, working on insectlike uab's to disrupt and constrain activity. in may, it was my privilege to host a meeting between u.s. and u.k. innovation experts, designed to strengthen cooperation further. we are now running a u.k.-u.s. funded competition, seeking technologies to destroy i.e.d.'s and agents in challenging environments.
we are investigating ways to transform the famously convoluted acquisition process leaving the value of death between procurement. novely developing technologies and date of the art software, developing a cutting-edge chemical weapons defense center. so, the united kingdom is ready, willing, and able to act when necessary. our modernizing defense program will make sure that you continue that you can continue to rely on us far into the future. it sets out our challenge of the 21st century. giving us a force that matches the pace with which our adversaries can now move. while strengthening our
resilience in an information age to achieve what we are calling information advantage. it will make sure that international cooperation is held into our dna, deepening our relationships across the globe and seeing how we can further rebalance our global posture to be ready and willing to fight in mainland europe, in the middle east or the far east. and our program will transform out of and's business, speeding up our processes and bridging the gap between the emergence and the adoption of new technologies. the next phase is all about delivery. we will continue seeking the views of our close pentagon colleagues and the brilliant minds in this room to shape and refine our plans. so, we may be entering a more unpredictable and uncertain age. but i am profoundly optimistic.
optimistic about our future. the united kingdom remains a great power, a country with one of the world's greatest economies, a creative powerhouse, a force for good. we continue having one of the most credible armed versus anywhere on the planet. a force that will continue using its power hard and soft in concert with our greatest ally, the united states. we will always be the most natural of partners together. 30 years ago, ronald reagan gave a great speech to the annual meeting of the atlantic council. he spoke. he spoke of his hopes of rapprochement between and west. he spoke of being for freedom and democracy without hesitation or apology.
and he quotes the words of that great anglo-american, winston churchill. where we are able to stand together and work together for righteous causes, we shall always be thankful. and the world will always be free. so, let us seize this moment to strengthen our transatlantic ties in the face of an ever greater unpredictability. let us show our certainty and being ready to act as a great asked you in of international east and prosperity. let us do everything in our power to make sure that those great anglo-american values avail. the values of liberty, justice and democracy. underpinning the magna carta and your constitution. they represent more than just
the souls of our nation. they are the cornerstone of a western world. but please. never, never underestimate my nation. as we have changed the world time and time again, we will change the world in the future. we as a nation, when we realized it is in our interest or when it is right, we as a nation always act. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, thank you very, very much mr. secretary for that comprehensive address. you have given us a lot of food for thought, many more. we appreciate you being with us at the atlantic council today.
i would like to open up those topics. let's begin with a bit more about the nato summit. as general jones said, there were quite a few important deliverables out of the summit, though it somewhat got lost in the headlines. for example, there were developments designed to focus on alliance readiness, creating a new cyber command, mobility, command structure reform. my question is -- how will the u.k. play a leadership role in some of these initiatives going forward? what will your role be? >> if we take cyber as a good example, the only nation to so far dedicate our cyber attack if abilities to nato, we are encouraging other nations to do the same, but we play an important role in terms of being the glue of nato.
obviously, the united states will always bring in a norm its size and amount of resource, but actually encouraging and bringing other nations into participating in operations and exercises, reinforces the message that every nation, no matter their size or where they are within nato plays an important role. that's not just in terms of defense of the continent, but in terms of defense of other nato operations. you see a lot of benefits of that. whether it is in iraq, the increasing role that nato plays and the fact that we often act as one of those nations that encourages other nations to take part, but also in afghanistan, where there are so many nato partners and nations, they understand the importance that afghanistan plays not just to the region, but to the whole world, we can play a vital role in doing that.
also in leading by example, investing in the military, making sure we have the best if abilities. not just in terms of massive numbers, but just as importantly the right technology and equipment in order to be able to fight. >> that is a great segue to the second topic. >> this wasn't planned. >> no. i wanted to ask you about your modernizing defense program, which of course has strategy elements and budget implications but this is essentially your roadmap for the future of how you would invest against the various threats that we collectively face. so, my question to you is -- understanding that it's not fully completed, could you give us an update on where it stands, how the budget discussions are going, and i would note u.k. house of commons defense report that indicated that 2% is fantastic and you have been
there for years, but 3% would be better for the threats you are facing. could you comment on that as well? >> in terms of cash i sort of , take a quite conservative view in terms of cash. i don't think you should start off really with percentages. what you should look at our what the threats are. what do you need to do with -- those threats. what capabilities does the nation need to have? the price comes out at the end of this. looking at the threats that we face, when we did a similar view in 2010 we said we didn't believe in state ace threats. in 2015 when we looked around the world we said we thought russia was an emerging threat, but we weren't 100% certain as to which way would break. the experiences that the world has seen since then is that it's quite clearly a threat not just
too great written and continental europe, but too many nations around the world. what we are doing is taking the opportunity to think -- what are those capabilities to deal with those threats? and what is the price for doing that? that is what we hope to come up with. we also think about how we our armed forces better. traditionally when we have look at programs, we have seen programs that have last it from inception to the delivery of the product. sometimes not just four or five years, 10 years or 12 years, sometimes 15 or 20 years. that isn't going to be acceptable in this ever-changing world. we have got to be able to have the technology and the innovation to be able to adapt. that is of course having the
most high tech platforms and the ability to change those high-tech platforms. what is the most high tech this year by next year is not going to be the most high-tech. creating the open architecture to be able to upgrade and constantly innovate on the equipment that we have without losing sight that there is a certain quality and we shouldn't always be going for purely the most exquisite. we need to have the ability to be able to field numbers. we have got to be able to have presence around the globe. we have got to be in a position where we don't just constantly sort of get things that are ever more expensive. with a smaller and smaller number of them. the world is getting so much more -- so much more unpredictable.
if britain cannot play a role, if britain doesn't have the ability and the means to project our will and be able to influence decisions and events, then that's something i think that the british people and british politicians are not comfortable with. we recognize that soft power is so important, the work that we do, the diplomacy, the cultural influences, it's all vital. behind that there always has to sit hard power. it's making sure that we get the hard power right, effective and deployable. we have always proven to be a nation that is willing to do boy and willing to fight. >> would you say that we could expect to know more about the modernization program in the fall? would you have any sneak reviews for us about areas of investment that might get a particular notice? >> the first part of the question, before the end of this year. the second part, i'm afraid no. god knows we tried.
>> you mentioned brexit. we are watching that very closely on this side of the atlantic and you talked about how the alliance would remain firm them at or what happens on brexit. i'm wondering about defense spending in particular. there has been speculation that with brexit there could come increased pressures in a negative way. is that a worry to you? are you feeling that within parliament? >> let's be totally cure -- clear, britain leaving the european union has no impact in terms of the security and the defense of europe. britain has been involved in the defense and security of europe not just for the last 30, 40 years, not just since the second world war, but utterly for centuries. since henry the eighth and many -- kingsngs in clean
and queens both before and since. britain will be in -- integral to the defense of continental europe. our interests are for a secure and stable continent. our interests are to make sure that security in europe is absolutely guaranteed. the greatest guarantor of that security is the nato. that is what has brought stability and security to continental europe over the last 69 years, more than any other organization. >> let me now swings the middle east, issues of afghanistan, syria, in iraq. obviously i think that in syria, the war against isil is wrapping up and there are major questions remaining about the future of syria. most people would say that in iraq has evolved in a positive .way. then there is afghanistan, which i think many people have questions about. where are we going and how will it all work out? you recently put more troops into afghanistan, have been a
key partner throughout it all. would you just share your thoughts about where we are collectively going? >> if we take iraq and syria, and you are right to say that great progress has been made. i remember at the time of the intervention most people said it , would be impossible to make a difference to push back isil. but that is what has been achieved. led by the united states with local partners but also with international allies like the united kingdom and france, we have been able to push isil back, reducing their territory, degrading what they are able to do. we should be immensely proud of that. we've also got to be realistic. while the threat has been reduced, it still remains and is dispersing. the idea that there will be one moment where isil and its
poisonous ideology is dead forever, that is sadly not something that i think anyone will truly be able to achieve. what it does mean to say is that nations such as britain and the united states have constantly got to be engaged in terms of that fight, making sure the notice such a foothold, as they were able to get in iraq and syria. that fight will continue. it might be in different realms and different areas, but we have got to continue doing that. in terms of afghanistan, i think we are at the moment, we are at a moment where there is an opportunity to reach out where there could be a longer lasting peace. we have consistently seen different actors play a role in a, whether that is pakistan, iran, or russia. incredibly porous borders. a very wise person once told me
that unless you can seal the borders, it's very difficult to be able to deal with the insurgency. we have got to commit to doing more. to give afghanistan this moment where there is an opportunity for reconciliation. the opportunity of a political process to start moving forward. i think we are duty bound as nations to some or the afghan government. given that chance to make that hope a reality and i hope -- it will be interesting, the next few years will determine whether that is going to be the case, but the prize will be incredibly great is something that we can achieve. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i would like to invite our audience to participate in the situation -- the conversation. please wait until the microphone comes to you and also please be ready with your -- be sustained with your questions. yes, right here, second row.
>> thank you, tom watkins. the thrust of your speech, sir, seems to be aimed at convincing your u.s. counterparts that written is still a partner to rely on. given the difficulties of the brexit negotiation. my question, sir, is how much can britain rely on america, especially given trump's disdain for international partnerships and his withdrawal from the iran deal. >> what you see is a united's states that is incredibly committed to nato. as deployed and they have put more resources into the defense of nato over the last two years, three years then we have seen over the last 20 years. they are a nation on their actions and that is what the united states has been doing. the u.s. has been the most reliable partners for us and many other nations.
i have no doubt that that will continue and it will continue to grow. defense is a brilliant example, the in debt of that relationship, so many british service personnel working side-by-side together, making sure that the world is a much more peaceful place. we are seeing that level of commitment not degraded, but stepped up over the last few years. >> i saw a hand go of here, the gentleman about midway back. >> hi, i'm a defense foreign policy intern at cato. following up on that one, how does the u.k. and unbalancing with regards to the iran deal if obligations to the deal itself versus the sanctions that were reimplemented yesterday. and my second question is -- is the u.k. concerned about its defense relationship with saudi arabia in the context of yemen?
>> first, on the iran deal, we are really encouraged by the united states -- we really encourage the united states and all nations to start discussing about how we have something that can work. the jcpoa was a deal that we felt was the best possible deal achievable. none of us pretended it was a perfect deal, but actually it did deliver a number of important measures that i think everyone benefits from. we really just encourage the united states to start talking to its partners in iran in order to be able to find a route forward. in terms of the saudi's, that has been a long-standing and traditional ally of the united kingdom and they will remain a long ending ally of ours going forward. the amount of work that we do dealing with counterterrorism, when we deal with instability in terms of strength as an
industrial partner and ally is something that we value greatly and we see that going forward many years hence. >> let's see, i saw this gentleman's and first. >> independent consultant. general jones mentioned strategy. you briefly alluded to the u.s. national security strategy. my question is -- what is your view of the role of grand strategy as opposed to you know -- it appears that china has announced a grand strategy. is there still a role for grand strategy coming from the west or nato? >> i think that is an excellent question. it's a very challenging question because i think that the debates about grand strategy among nato partners in the west, among our friends and allies is not --
there's not enough talk about it. where is the world going to be? not just in 10 years time, but the next 50 years. when my daughters are becoming old ladies you want to be having the conversation because we do not have that conversation and start planning for it we will be , unprepared for it and the one thing that you do see with the nations such as china, they do have the grand strategy. they have that plan for the future and we have to deliver that as well. and we have to be thinking about actually how we make sure that china plays an important and valuable and positive role on the world stage. that is something that i believe they want to do. they want to see themselves as playing that role. part of our grand strategy will be to encourage them in that positive world role. but yes, always governments need to spend a lot longer. something a foreign former
secretary once said to me, so often they would go to these summits and talk about is happening today, next week, in the here and now. sometimes it's only in the evening and over dinner that they start to talk about what the world will look like and how you adapt. where is actually really the value he spent in spending a day, two days, a week, assisting -- discussing it and starting to come up with those ideas working on that. that's a weakness of the west and we have to deal with it and we have to deal with it soon and quickly. >> the lady in the third row here. >> the associate director of ua c in ukraine. thank you very much for your important address to us today.
i would like to ask you, how regarding the u.k.'s understanding of russia, both the physical, chemical, and cyber attacks that have gone on throughout the world, the chemical being in england, as you stated, how do you see the u.k. now possible as a --'s role as a leading member of nato ukraine to counter russian aggression? >> the best form is avoiding any type of conflict is deterrence. making sure that nato has the right level of deterrence across the orders. making sure that russia understands, you know, that it cannot get away with impunity if
it acts inappropriate or improper way, such as it did in salisbury. in terms of ukraine, it's very important that we send those consistent messages to the ukrainian people in terms of our support, help, in terms of the assistance that we have. not just britain, but many other nations have been giving the minions, making it clear to russia that they need to be a part of the solution to ukraine, encouraging or withdrawing russian forces from crimea, ending the effective, you know, the troubles and the violence. the bombast. russia has to understand through the regime that's in place in terms of sanctions that there are consequences to its actions. that they have undertaken in the ukraine. >> sir, how are you?
good to see you, madam secretary. i have a two-part question. earlier the united kingdom invested in the capability of fast carriers with cutting-edge combat aircraft. the numbers are still under debate, i think a former air force secretary would like to know what some of those acquisition numbers are going to be. the concern is that these forces are so small, the units were so expensive, they will be too dear to risk and lose. that's a question for example for the aircraft carrier. they have been willing to expend resources, but now the debate and the concern is that the system themselves are so expensive, they will be hard to risk. second question is on type 31. with the united kingdom be willing to rest -- risk queen elizabeth for the prince of wales in a major conflict where something was lost to achieve the mission?
what would does type 31 but like now that there is a cost? thank you. >> in terms of exquisite technology, you make a valid point. we touched on this briefly, the fact need to have a blend of the top end, the most capable, the most exquisite technologies, but the most utility as well. that is what we are trying to achieve. we do need to have mass with our armed forces in terms of the land, the sea, and the air. you raise an interesting point about the falklands. people doubted that britain would act in order to regain our sovereignty in the falklands and we did. we would act again. there is never going to be a moment where we allow another country to invade our territory and take it from us.
and we lost ships. at the time there was a class of ship called the 22. it was a very capable ship, it was utility ship and we lost a number of type 22 as a part of that conflict. but actually many came back and lots of them continued to serve until quite recently and they played an important and vital role in the navy. that is why we are introducing the type 31. we are proceeding with it. there has been a pause in which it's underway. we need those type 31 because we realize and we understand that we need to have the mass required in our navy in order to be able to have those points of presence right across the globe. this is saying -- let's not underestimate what we can and we do achieve with the royal maybe.
ours was the first to enforce sanctions against north korea. we were the first navy to start interdicting ships. we continuously around the globe continue to have that presence of the top end, top-quality type of technology, such as the type 45 destroyer. the queen elizabeth aircraft carrier. to be joined by the hms prince of wales that will soon be finished. we need those capabilities. but we do also recognize that we need them fast and we recognize that actually our fleet, our armed forces are there to act in order to protect our national interests. but also to protect our global values as well. >> one more question and then we will do a quick wrapup the we will get the final say from the secretary. yes, the lady right there in the fourth row.
>> hi, i'm from national defense magazine. to what extent is the u.k. plan to work with u.s. aerospace firms as they proceed with tempest? >> well, very closely, but we have a great tradition of producing the best fighters in the world. we have a great tradition of having that national sovereign capability. we are never going to be wanting to surrender that are you in terms of actually working with international partners, we are very open to it. we are very open to other companies coming in and being a part of what is initially a coalition between oil companies and the ministry of defense, which is creating systems, leonardo, and italian business, and pda, the weapons business, anglo-french.
rolls-royce as well. we are very open that as we develop the idea and contacts with other nations and other businesses, they could become a part of the consortium. but we recognize the need for us to have the ability to deliver our own fighter aircraft in the future and we are confident that we can produce the world's rest fighter aircraft. something i very much hope the u.s. air force will be looking to buy in the future. >> [laughter] >> you do tend to be a tad protectionist on these matters, though. [laughter] >> mr. secretary, we really appreciate you spending time with us. let me offer you any final word. >> well, people, there's always probably great value but to the word special relationship the united kingdom. i hope there is a value put the
united states on the pressure -- that special relationship. but before i had the privilege of doing this job, i don't truly understood the depth of the relationship of what we do every single day with our armed forces. i don't think anyone can truly comprehend the closeness of cooperation from working together, the friendship and the relationship that have built up. and there can probably be no greater way than creating a relationship and that want when two nations so much rely on one another. when the u.s. u.k. service was personnel literally fighting side-by-side that is something that is incredibly special. something incredibly unique and it creates such a deep bond. that precious relationship is something that is a politician
you want to make sure that you leave stronger and bigger and better, the relationship that you inherited. i hope that i can play a small role in doing that. >> well said. please join me in thanking secretary gavin williams. >> thank you so much [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, >>
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