The UK and US will be teaming up in the fight against growing cyber threats, UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson announced from aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which is currently on a port visit to New York.
Speaking at the Trafalgar night dinner on board the carrier, the defense secretary announced that a new “Atlantic Future Forum” would take place on Monday, bringing US and UK industry and military together in the face of changing warfare both at home and abroad.
The forum comes after the UK has exposed the reckless attacks by the likes of the Russian intelligence services not just in the UK but around the world, and revealed the country is fending off more than ten cyber-attacks a week.
“Some believe it is not the place of our Armed Forces to operate outside deployed conflict zones many thousands of miles from the UK mainland,” Wiliamson said. “They are wrong. Against a threat seeking to subvert and destabilize the very fabric of our society such capabilities are critical.”
“That’s why we are launching our new forum. And that’s why on Monday we’ll sign an accord to ensure our nations dominate the cyber commons.”
The Atlantic Future Forum comes just months before HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares to have her systems rigorously tested against the evolving cyber danger next year, when she forms part of Information Warrior 2019.
Monday will also see UK trade secretary Liam Fox host a number of trade events to secure trading ties between UK and US businesses on board the ship. The event takes place days after US treasury secretary, Robert Lighthizer, announced that the US intends to begin negotiations towards a UK-US free trade agreement after the UK leaves the European Union.
HMS Queen Elizabeth entered New York Harbor on Friday for a seven-day visit.
“I am delighted and proud to have brought HMS Queen Elizabeth into New York Harbour for the first time,” the ship’s commanding officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, said. “This visit is very symbolic of the intimate relationship the Royal Navy has with the US Navy and Marine Corps and comes at the mid-way point in the F-35 flight trials – we have over 170 embarked US staff at the moment on board in support.”