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Nato

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:08 pm on 20th June 2018.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence 4:08 pm, 20th June 2018

I have been very generous in taking interventions. Will the hon. Gentleman let me make some progress?

We need to look at how we ensure NATO is able to respond swiftly to changing threats not in months, not just in weeks but in days and hours, and not simply on land, sea and air but in the new grey danger zones of cyber-space and space itself. For that to happen, our alliance must keep changing and adapting to deal with new threats. NATO must reform itself structurally so there are far fewer barriers to action, and it must reform itself politically so nations can swiftly agree on measures to take and on how to use the power at their disposal decisively, particularly when it comes to cyber and hybrid attacks, which often occur beneath the normal threshold for a collective response.

Lastly, NATO must maintain the mass needed to assemble, reinforce and win a conflict in Europe at short notice. We need to look at how we can forward base more of our equipment, and possibly personnel. That is why today we are looking hard at our infrastructure in Germany, particularly our vehicle storage, heavy transport and training facilities. Along with our NATO allies, we are continually testing our agility and responsiveness through exercises in Europe.

We need to do more, and we need to look more closely at how we can have the forces we need to deal with the threats we face today. The threats today are so different from the threats in 2010, but we should not underestimate our adversaries’ intent and willingness to use military force.