gavin williamson and james mattis at nato

UK And US Defence Secretaries Renew Their "Special Relationship"

After a busy first week, the Defence Secretary plans to meet with his American counterpart in London to discuss UK military budget cuts...

gavin williamson and james mattis at nato

The first ever meeting between the new Defence Secretary and his US counterpart is set to take place in London today.

Gavin Williamson MP will meet with James Mattis amid growing concerns over looming UK defence budget cuts.

The meeting comes just over a week after the Defence Secretary stepped into the position and is the second big test for him.

The Ministry of Defence tweeted yesterday showing the former four-star US Marine Corps general in a seemingly deep conversation with the novice Defence Secretary.

The picture taken at the NATO meeting earlier this week was accompanied by a caption stating it was a:

"Renewal of UK and US special relationship working together across NATO and in the fight against Daesh."

Over the two-day NATO defence ministers' meeting in Brussels, plans to expand the alliance's commitment to train the Afghan security forces were discussed.

Also on the table were ideas to potentially expand NATO operations by adding two new operations bases.

During the London meeting, the US Defence Secretary will likely be interested in hearing about how military chiefs are dealing with a £20 billion to £30 billion hole in MoD finances over the next decade.

Earlier this week the commander of the US Army in Europe, Lt-Gen Hodges warned Britain's position as a leading member of NATO would be at risk if its Armed Forces "got any smaller".

So far, the British Army has already been slashed from 120,000 to just 82,000 regular troops.

Other potential cuts to the defence budget include cuts to the Royal Marines, as well as a possible loss amphibious capabilities such as HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion.

Cover photo: MoD

More: New Defence Secretary Pledges UK Support For NATO Missions