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HMS Queen Elizabeth hosts annual UK and US Atlantic Future Forum summit

The Atlantic Future Forum 2020 on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: LPhot Belinda Alker
21 October 2020
Royal Navy personnel, including the First Sea Lord, were joined by political and industry leaders, as HMS Queen Elizabeth hosts the annual Atlantic Future Forum.

The two-day summit, continuing this afternoon in Portsmouth, sees delegates discuss a range of areas where the UK and United States can increase co-operation, while exploring new ways of combatting global instability.

Aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth is hosting the forum, following on from previous years when the 65,000-tonne ship held the event in New York and Washington.

From defeating Covid-19 through vaccine and testing developments, to investing in abilities to tackle cyber threats, the senior figures from the two nations’ defence, security and trade establishments will discuss how to face down an uncertain future with confidence.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, is co-hosting the event while former Cabinet Secretary Lord Mark Sedwill is chairing it.

Adm Radakin said: “Earlier this month, UK and US jets operated side by side from HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of a multinational carrier strike task group.  

“It is fitting that this ship is now hosting Atlantic Future Forum, enabling conversations with our US partners that will continue to deepen and strengthen the already close friendship between both our navies and our nations.  

“As we move towards ever greater interchangeability, I am excited by the opportunities to work together on tackling the major issues that face us all.”


As we move towards ever greater interchangeability, I am excited by the opportunities to work together on tackling the major issues that face us all.

First Sea Lord

Opened yesterday by the Prime Minister via video link, the forum includes contributions from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Jeremy Fleming of GCHQ.

The US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woody Johnson, will also join British Ambassador to the US Dame Karen Pierce as part of the closing ceremony this evening.

The detailed agenda includes expert panels and keynote speeches covering a broad range of shared UK and US issues; including responses to digital threats and cyber, hypersonics, space, global competition and climate change.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “At this time of global uncertainty and evolving adversaries, it is vital we continue to work together with the United States to strengthen our special alliance.

“The Atlantic Future Forum offers a space to discuss how our nations’ defence industries can provide a battle-winning edge, while developing our economies through trade and exports. As we come together on our outstanding HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are confident that Global Britain will continue to be the United States’ partner of choice.”


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