September 12, 2023
Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI)
As prepared for delivery
“We truly have no closer military relationship than we do with the United Kingdom. This is country which commits to its defense, and to our collective defense under NATO. “
Ambassador Habe Hartley: Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Tom, and the whole team at Kallman Worldwide, for organizing this Pavilion and bringing America’s defense industry under this one, enormous roof.
And thank you to all the members of the U.S. defense industry here today. You have a lot to be proud of. You are the best in the world, bar none: from the big names that everyone knows and trusts, to the smaller companies that are crucial links in the supply chain. Every U.S. defense company plays a vital role in projecting both American power and American diplomacy across the world.
As America’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and formerly our Ambassador to France, I have seen how our security partnerships and our diplomatic partnerships go hand in hand. In France, I lived through a period of great uncertainty after the terrorist attacks on French soil. Our counterintelligence and military relationships with the French government were instrumental in those difficult times.
And here in the United Kingdom, we have our closest defense partner in the world. I’ve been to Lakenheath, where the British Royal Air Force hosts American F-15s and the 48th Fighter Wing of our Air Force. I got to see the capabilities of our fighter plans up close, and how seamlessly our airmen train and collaborate with the Royal Air Force. The level of integration between our two militaries is unlike anything I’ve seen around the world.
I’ve also been to Portsmouth to visit our sailors aboard the U.S.S. Gerald Ford, our brand-new aircraft carrier, when it made its first stop in a foreign port – here in the United Kingdom.
We truly have no closer military relationship than we do with the United Kingdom. This is country which commits to its defense, and to our collective defense under NATO. Just recently, the UK announced the largest increase in defense spending in thirty years. But most importantly, the United Kingdom is a country which shares our democratic values and is always ready to defend them.
Look no further than Ukraine. From the very first days of the Russian invasion, the government of the United Kingdom has been by our side to support the Ukrainian defense. That’s why Ukrainian soldiers drive British tanks and pilot American aircraft, and why British and allied officers will train more than 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers this year. I recently went to visit some of those Ukrainian soldiers. Many were young men and women: as young as 18, but a few in their late 50s as well, including a 71-year-old volunteer. That is the kind of passion they feel for their country. I want to thank our friends in the United Kingdom for what they are doing for these soldiers.
All over the world, you see evidence of our partnership with the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, President Biden met with the leaders of both the UK and Australia to strengthen our security alliance in the South Pacific, which includes the transfer of nuclear-powered submarines to our friends in Australia. This is American submarine technology that will be built in the UK and operated by Australians.
That is the power of our alliances. Bringing our friends and partners closer; making each other stronger; so that, together, we can defend democracy, liberty, the rule of law, and the right of every nation to its sovereignty and security.
So, I just want to wish you all a very successful show. I was walking around the Pavilion earlier and I have to say — I am seriously impressed. I won’t pretend to know how to operate all the things you’ve shown me, but I am proud that the very best of American science, innovation, and engineering is on display. And I know that the United States will continue to work closely with you, and with our partners in the UK, to develop our next generation capabilities – to protect each other in the future, just as we’ve done in the past.
I hope you all make some great connections here in the UK, and again, I wish you all a very successful show. Thank you.