On 17 February, British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson committed to increasing cooperation with partners across the globe to keep the United Kingdom safe. Defence engagement was made a core defence task for the first time in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. As a result, Britain is now stepping up its global commitments and leadership in international organisations, including NATO and the UN, as well as with bilateral partners. UK defence policy is becoming more “international by design,” with the result that alliances and partnerships are now far more central to policy formulation than hitherto.

Core commitments to the policy of International Defence Engagement include:

Establishing three new regional British Defence Staffs for defence engagement in Gulf, Asia Pacific and West Africa.New Defence Sections in Albania and Finland and new Attaché posts in Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia (for the South Caucasus),Qatar, Japan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.New Defence Section for the Sahel, covering Senegal, The Gambia, Mali and Niger.Increased military exercises with NATO partners and allies including in Ukraine, Poland and Estonia.Leading development of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) with Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.Exercising and training with partners in the Five Power Defence Arrangements such as “Exercise Eastern Venture.”

This year Britain is:

Leading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), a brigade-size force ready to respond to any threat.Leading NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in Estonia, where 800 British troops will deploy alongside other NATO Allies to deter threats.Deploying a company size force to Poland, as part of the US’ EFP battle group.Sending TYPHOONs to police NATO’s skies over Bulgaria and Romania.


The UK Ministry of Defence will be engaging with more partners, in more regions and committing more resources to security and defence under the newly unveiled International Defence Engagement strategy. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

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