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Better Together: Re-thinking U.S. and UK Defense Cooperation

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Technical Report

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National Defense University Joint Advanced Warfighting School Norfolk United States

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Due to the move towards a multi-polar world, the rising cost of defense equipment, and budget constraints, it is difficult for the U.S. and UK to protect their national interests. The U.S. can no longer be expected to single handedly protect world order, nor can it afford to. At the same time, cuts to UK military capability have left the UK unable to conduct anything more than the smallest unilateral operations. However, recent history has shown that the U.S. and UK are reliable allies and further analysis of the two nations interests shows an extraordinary level of commonality. Therefore, this paper posits that the U.S. and UK must re-examine how far they can advance their military integration. In doing so, the two countries could increase the efficiency of their defense spending, improve their flexibility in securing national interests, and act as a backbone of Western power. Whilst the U.S. and UK are not suffering an absolute reduction in power, during the next decade there is a risk that the world order will change to the detriment of the West. To manage those risks and shape the changing global landscape, the U.S. and UK must start a detailed study of how they can complement each others military capabilities. A failure to do so may leave the two nations managing a steady decline in power, and the West increasingly vulnerable to the plethora of threats facing them.

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