Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vice Chairman Tours UK, Meets With Counterparts

Vice Chairman Tours UK, Meets With Counterparts

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2008 – The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff returned here yesterday after a three-day visit to meet with counterparts from the British military and view their operations.
U.S. Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright spent two days in London meeting with senior defense leaders and traveled to Scotland to tour a submarine.

While in London, Cartwright met with Gen. Timothy Granville-Chapman, the vice chief of Defense Staff of the British armed forces, and Air Vice-Marshal Chris Nickols, the assistant chief of Defense Staff. During the meeting, Cartwright said both sides discussed national security and joint procurement programs, as well as the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The general also had a chance to visit the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, flying there on a Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter. While at the facility, Cartwright received a briefing about how the lab is using science to counter improvised explosive devices, something he said is important because of the necessity for the two countries to work together.

“Part of it was how they’re doing it, but more of it was about how we’re doing it together with the collaboration that’s going on,” Cartwright said. The vice chairman said this was a follow-up to a visit last week by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, head of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, to see how the two countries can continue the partnership on research and development for defeating IEDs.

Another reason for the visit to the laboratory was to make sure the two countries aren’t duplicating efforts by funding identical research, Cartwright said.

The vice chairman wrapped up his visit by touring the HMS Vengeance. The submarine was a joint procurement program and is the same design as the U.S. Trident submarine fleet. Cartwright said the ongoing joint partnership, which just hit its 50th year, is something that will tie the two countries together for some time.

“We’re about to embark on the next generation of capabilities,” Cartwright said. “There was a bit of discussion on how we’re going to do that.”

Cartwright said the UK is starting the next generation of the procurement process, and it’s important that the U.S. stays on a timeline to keep up with funding joint requirements to continue the partnership.

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