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UK’s global role reinforced in new International Defence Engagement Strategy

Britain’s diplomatic and military strength abroad will help enhance UK security and prosperity, the Defence and Foreign Secretaries announced today.

Launching an ambitious framework for the UK’s defence engagement overseas, Sir Michael Fallon and Boris Johnson committed to increasing cooperation with partners across the globe to keep Britain safe.

For the first time, defence engagement was made a core defence task 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.

Britain’s defence policy is becoming more ‘International by Design’, ensuring that we make our alliances and partnerships central to all that we do.

Defence engagement helps build the robust relationships on which our influence, prosperity and security depend. It enables us to respond to threats and crises when they emerge and strengthens our position as the world’s leading soft power.

Our commitment to international Defence Engagement includes:

  • 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.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

Our increased ambition for Defence Engagement abroad demonstrates the UK’s global role.

Whether it’s by increasing our military expertise in the Middle East, training Nigerian forces in maritime security, or RAF Typhoons exercising over South Korea, Britain is committed to working internationally to protect our people and interests.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

The International Defence Engagement Strategy ensures we get the best value from our brilliant and brave Armed Forces and world-class Diplomatic Service, enabling them to deliver security and prosperity for the British people. This is about sending a clear signal of the UK’s intent as a dynamic, agile, cutting-edge global power.

Ahead of the annual Munich Security Conference, which started today, the Foreign and Defence Secretaries reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to European security. The Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, is also attending the conference. As Britain leaves the European Union, the UK is stepping up its global role and leadership in European security.

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 1000 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 skies over Bulgaria and Romania.