A Conversation with UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson CBE MP

August 7, 2018 - 10:30 am

1030 15th St NW
Washington, DC
A Conversation with the UK's Defense Secretary
The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Welcome and Introduction

Gen James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.)
Interim Chairman
 Chairman, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

Atlantic Council 

Keynote Remarks

The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP
 Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom

Moderated Conversation and Q&A

The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Moderated by:
The Hon. Deborah Lee James 

Distinguished Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Board Director

Atlantic Council
Former Secretary
US Air Force 

Please join the Atlantic Council for a conversation with the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt. Hon. Gavin WilliamsonCBE MP. This public event will take place on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at   the Atlantic Council’s headquarters (1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Floor Elevators, Washington, DC, 20005).

 A radically changed security environment in Europe has revitalized the discussion around allied defense spending, military modernization, and readiness. As one of the United States and NATO’s most powerful allies, the United Kingdom plays an integral role in the transatlantic alliance. The future of British military and defense strategy will be imperative to grappling with an ever-challenging threat environment.
As the United Kingdom drafts its new Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), Secretary Williamson will join us to discuss the 2018 Brussels Summit, NATO’s continued adaptation, Britain’s role in the world, the US-UK defense relationship, and the UK’s defense modernization plans during a public, on-the-record conversation.
The event will feature a moderated conversation between Secretary Williamson and The Hon. Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the US Air Force. General James L. Jones, former Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, will also provide remarks.

On Twitter? Follow @ACScowcroft and use #StrongerWithAllies to join the conversation.

This invitation is transferable and open to the public.
The event is open to the press and on the record.

DATE: Tuesday, August 7, 2018
TIME: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Floor Elevators, Washington, DC 

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact Colin Wall at CWall@atlanticcouncil.org.


The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP is the secretary of state for defence for the United Kingdom, a position he has held since 2017. In this capacity, he has overall responsibility for the business of the department, including: strategic operations and operational strategy, including membership of the National Security Council; defense planning, program and resource allocation; strategic international partnerships with the US, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and NATO; nuclear operations, policy and organizations; and strategic communications. Prior to his current position of secretary of state for defense, he was appointed as chief whip (parliamentary secretary to the treasury) by the prime minister, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP. He has been a member of Parliament for South Staffordshire since 2010. In that position, he has served in multiple capacities, including as a member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, chairman of the All-Party Group on Motor Neurone Disease, executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and as co-chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Design. In May 2015, Williamson was appointed as a privy counsellor by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. In August 2016, as part of David Cameron's Resignation Honors, Williamson was appointed a commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for political and public service. He has a bachelor of science from the University of Bradford.

The Hon. Deborah Lee James is a board director of the Atlantic Council, as well as a distinguished fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Previously, James served as the twenty-third secretary of the United States Air Force. In this capacity, Secretary James was responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping, and providing for the welfare of its nearly 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversaw the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $139 billion. Prior to serving as secretary of the Air Force, Secretary James was president of Science Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. For nearly a decade, James held a variety of positions with SAIC, including senior vice president and director of homeland security. From 2000 to 2001, she was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Business Executives for National Security, and from 1998 to 2000 she was vice president of international operations and marketing at United Technologies. James earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

General James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.) is the chairman of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the interim chairman of the Atlantic Council. He has spent his life serving and protecting America and American ideals. As the former commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, he led all military operations for NATO and later, as national security adviser, he brought clear vision and steady leadership to America's mission in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the country's interests around the world.Jones graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and was commissioned into the Marine Corps in January 1967. He served in Vietnam, serving as rifle platoon and company commander. On returning to the US, he pursued a career in the Marines, attending the Amphibious Warfare School in 1973 and the National War College in 1985, and serving as Marine Corps liaison officer to the US Senate. He was also commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Northern Iraq and Turkey on Operation Provide Comfort; chief of staff, Joint Task Force Provide Promise, for operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of North Macedonia; and commanding general, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic. He also served as military assistant to the secretary of defense from 1997 to 1999. He became the 32nd commandant of the United States Marine Corps in July 1999.During his NATO assignment from 2003 to 2006, he advocated energy security and the defense of critical infrastructures as a core part of NATO's future missions. With the Chamber, Jones worked to unite energy consumers and producers for a common goal - to increase the variety of the US energy supply and associated infrastructures, to advance international cooperation on energy issues, to protect national energy security, and to promote better understanding of changes to the global climate and its effects on the environment.Upon retirement in February 2007, the combat veteran became the president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy and, in 2008, served as the State Department's special envoy for Middle East Regional Security. From 2009 until 2010, he served as President Obama's national security advisor at the White House