LONDON: U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is slated to address attendees at the European Security and Defense Conference and members of Great Britain’s Parliament at the House of Commons here tomorrow.
Lynn’s two-day visit will serve as a “renewal of the special relationship we have with the British,” he told American Forces Press Service during a Sunday morning flight to London.
“The goal is to bring attention to and reinforce the various aspects of defense cooperation between the U.S. (and) U.K,” he said. “We want to continue to collaborate with the British on all aspects of military and defense industrial activity.”
Defense officials traveling with Lynn said the deputy secretary will speak about the importance of strengthening defense cooperation and enhancing European defense institutions at the conference. About 250 European diplomats, military and government officials, and think-tank researchers will attend.
Lynn is then scheduled to address the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Transatlantic and International Security. The group includes more than 70 members of Parliament, and invited guests from think tanks, the media and the academic community.
Defense officials said Lynn will cover a broad range of subjects, including threats from extremism, the need for new defense capabilities and a common approach on NATO reform, nuclear proliferation and energy.
The deputy secretary’s visit comes on the eve of the London Conference aimed at improving coordination among some 68 partner nations involved in the civilian side of the Afghanistan mission. The international community is coming together here Jan. 28 to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy.
Lynn said there are three key lines of defense cooperation U.S. and U.K. defense officials can reinforce. First is the Bilateral Defense Acquisition Committee. “It’s a central forum where we elucidate the various cooperation issues we have,” he said. “We ask the British to address issues such as the collaboration of the Joint Strike Fighter and other key acquisition programs.”
Second, he said, is the U.S.-U.K. Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty that will permit the U.S. to trade most defense articles with Great Britain without an export license or other written authorization.
“We do indeed intend to press the Senate for ratification of the defense cooperation treaty,” Lynn said. “We do that as basically a down-payment on export control reform that the president and Secretary (Robert M.) Gates have been championing.”
The third line of defense cooperation is cyber security. Speaking last week at the Fletcher Conference on National Security in Washington, D.C., Lynn said the threat of cyber warfare is a national security threat that has captured his attention.
“We’re going to have some meetings with the British leaders of the British cyber security effort,” Lynn said today. “We want to make sure that critical new threat area that we’re building a foundation of cooperation with our oldest ally as we tackle the critical challenges that cyber security poses.”
This is particularly important now, he noted, because the two nations are relatively early in the development of the tools and the structures they have to address the cyber security threat, he added.
Lynn is the 30th deputy secretary of defense. He has had extensive public service at various levels within the U.S. government including eight years service as the under secretary of defense (comptroller) and as the director of Program Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
He also served eight years at the executive level in the private sector, including service as the vice president of Government Operations and Strategy at Raytheon Company. He spent six years on Capitol Hill as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s liaison to the Armed Services Committee.