United Kingdom and France Vow Greater Defense Cooperation

By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

March 11, 2023

PARIS – UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and France’s Minister for the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu met Friday at the 36th UK-France Summit in Paris to discuss new initiatives to further strengthen the military relationship between the two nations.

At the meeting, Wallace and Lecornu met to reaffirmed the two nations’ long standing partnership and friendship as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Macron outlined their vision to meet the greatest challenges the UK and France face, including the war in Ukraine and ambitions for further integration of the Armed Forces over the next decade.

“It has been a great pleasure to meet again with my friend and defense counterpart Sébastien Lecornu.  We have agreed to strengthen our defense and security partnership, committing to look at areas of cooperation to increase the interoperability of our joint defense capabilities – and to advance key projects to develop complex weapons systems.  Our shared and ongoing support for Ukraine remains unwavering. We will continue to provide that support for as long as it takes.” Wallace said in a statement.

Wallace and Lecornu pledged to continue steadfast support for Ukraine and work with NATO allies to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in Ukraine will be defeated.  Both the UK and France have committed to strengthen Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities and ability to defend its population and critical infrastructure against Russian attacks. 

“As our leaders meet in Paris, the British and French Armed Forces are working together in response to Russian aggression in Europe, and to protect our shared values and interests across the globe. Now we will deepen our cooperation be it supporting Ukraine today or meeting the challenges of tomorrow, from security in the Arctic to carrier deployments in the Pacific.  We will also pursue a host of joint endeavors from intelligence sharing to complex weapon development. This reflects the mutual respect and confidence that exists between us, our shared technological ambitions, our unwavering commitment to NATO and our recognition that the security of Europe and the Atlantic is tied to that of the wider world.” said Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

Both the UK and France have agreed to coordinate deployments of aircraft carriers to provide complementary and a persistent European presence in regions of shared interest. As a result, both nations’ Armed Forces will be providing support for each other’s task groups, cooperating in exercises to prepare our carriers for battle and exploring opportunities for the UK and France to demonstrate the sequencing of more persistent European carrier strike group presence in the Indo-Pacific.

It was also revealed that UK and French Armed Forces will see further integration over the next decade with a goal to enable seamless operations and draw on common intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data.

The UK and France also agreed to ensure further interoperability of weapons and platforms across Europe and NATO, including developing future complex weapons systems, such as the Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) program.  

Both nations discussed further strengthening cooperation on homeland defense and cyber security.  An agreement was reached to continue to harness the potential of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) to defend contested areas under threat from hostile actors.