The United Kingdom's top defense official today stressed military relations with the United States remain strong thanks partly to robust industrial partnerships and foreign military sales, though he noted that "some" are quick to discount the UK's contributions to global stability.
"Some mistakenly believe that only America can develop cutting edge technologies and capabilities," UK Minister of Defence Gavin Williamson said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
"That has never been and never will be the case," he continued. "The UK has always brought something special to the table."
Williamson said the UK is a top partner on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and is today procuring more than 50 types of defense equipment from the United States, including P-8 maritime aircraft, Apache attack helicopters and Reaper drones.
"All the while, UK industry is creating U.S. jobs," he said. "UK defense companies employ more than 56,000 staff in the United States, with UK business employing more than 1 million U.S. employees. We're helping fund programs collectively supporting the livelihoods of 160,000 Americans."
Williamson said the defense relationship between both nations is a "two-way street -- you invest in us and we invest in you."
"Why reinvent the wheel when you can buy from a trusted partner?" he said.
Meanwhile, President Trump made headlines last month when he was quoted criticizing UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a British tabloid, though he attempted to walk the comments back in a joint press conference.
"I said very good things about Theresa May," Trump said. I don't think they put it in, but that's all right."
At the press conference, Trump also criticized NATO for being a security burden on the United States.
"NATO is really there for Europe, much more so than us," he said. "It helps Europe. No matter what our military people or your military people say, it helps Europe more than it helps us."
Speaking in Washington today, Williamson pointed out that the only time NATO's collective defense provision -- Article V -- has been invoked was after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
"We will always be the most natural of partners together," he said. "Never, never underestimate my nation."
Williamson said the UK expects to announce a new defense modernization program in the coming months that will ensure the U.S. can "continue to rely on us far into the future."
"We will continue seeking the views of our close Pentagon colleagues," he said of the planned program, though he declined to discuss specifics, including how much the UK will spend.
"Our program will transform our defense business," he said. "The next phase is all about delivery."