Steps agreed yesterday between President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson intend to help both countries respond to, and get ahead of, the evolving threats of the 21st century. Biden is in the U.K. to attend the G7 meeting in Cornwall.
The U.K. and U.S. have pledged to enhance their work to shape and secure the international order of the future, with NATO as the bedrock of their collective defence.
In a statement, the U.K. Home Office said the two nations will work together to further strengthen and modernise NATO, and increase its common funding, so the Alliance can harness the full range of military and non-military capabilities to tackle existing and emerging threats, including malicious cyber activity and attacks that test the resilience of our societies.
Both nations will continue to modernize and integrate their armed forces, and strengthen bilateral cooperation on next generation capabilities.
The unique interoperability of the U.K. and U.S. Armed Forces is demonstrated by the key role US forces are playing in the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG21). Nine ships, 32 aircraft and 3,700 personnel set sail in May on the Strike Group’s seven-month maiden operational deployment around the world. The integration of a U.S. destroyer and Marine Corps jets into CSG21 shows intent to further improve interoperability between the NATO Allies as they jointly develop 5th generation carrier strike capability.
U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “It’s no secret that the U.S. is our closest friend and most important defense partner. Combining the largest defense budget in the world and the largest defense budget in Europe, the U.S.-U.K. alliance is a bulwark against those that aim to undermine the rules-based international order.
“The extra £24 billion of U.K. defense spending over the next four years means we have the resources going forward to modernize our Armed Forces and further integrate with allies so we can tackle the threats of the future together.”
As longstanding partners, the U.K. and U.S. will also continue to draw on their extensive diplomatic, defence, security, civil and scientific cooperation to ensure Space is a safe and secure environment for all. The Joint Statement solidifies that commitment.
The two countries will bolster security cooperation in areas where together they can have greater impact, such as in tackling illicit finance and corruption. Combatting illicit finance and corruption are transnational challenges that threaten our shared security and prosperity, requiring collective action and multilateral cooperation.
The Home Office statement continued that the U.K. and U.S. will build on longstanding transatlantic efforts to lead the world in tackling illicit finance by reinforcing transparency and financial integrity, protecting open societies, and giving corrupt and malign actors no place to hide.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The U.K.’s close security partnership with the US is our most important relationship. It keeps our citizens safe on both sides of the Atlantic. Through bolstering our security cooperation, together we will be able to better combat terrorism, tackle illicit finance, dismantle the serious and organised crime groups who operate across our borders, and go after the individuals who prey on the most vulnerable in society, including our children.”
The world leaders agreed to tackle all forms of terrorism by working together to address terrorism online and enhance international collaboration on thwarting violent extremism and terrorism that is racially, ethnically or ideologically motivated, including a range of hateful white supremacist ideologies.
Both also agreed to ensure law enforcement can lawfully access communications content vital to investigating and prosecuting serious crime including through bringing into force the world leading Bilateral Data Access Agreement. As crime so often crosses international borders, the agreement with the U.S. – the world’s first – is a major step forward in keeping the citizens of both nations safe and the result of many years’ joint effort between the U.K. and U.S. governments. It will be a significant tool in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime.
Maintaining tightly controlled, lawful access to communications content is vital to the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes such as terrorism and the abuse of children; a top priority for both governments.
Both nations have agreed to work in partnership with technology companies to protect the safety of their citizens whilst maintaining strong privacy standards.