British Defence Minister Sir Michael Fallon welcomed Jim Mattis to London on 31 March in the latter’s first visit since being appointed US Secretary of Defense.
The two ministers agreed steps for NATO modernisation, including simpler command structures. They reviewed the pressing need for NATO members to meet their spending commitments of 2% of GDP, calling on nations not meeting that commitment to make annual increases in real terms in their defence budgets to demonstrate greater burden sharing.
“We have no closer friend than the United States and across the globe our nations are standing side by side in defending our values. Together we’re showing leadership on the world stage - tackling extremism, standing up to Russian aggression and modernising NATO, making it fitter, faster and more agile,” said Fallon.
Sir Michael also announced a £90 million investment to support the UK’s new F-35 LIGHTNING aircraft. The programme will provide maintenance, training and logistic services at RAF Marham in Norfolk – the future home for LIGHTNING squadrons – and will sustain hundreds of highly skilled British jobs.