US, UK defense chiefs discuss terror threats

National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon


Standing next to his United States counterpart at the Pentagon, United Kingdom Defense Secretary Michael Fallon defended his country’s decision to expand airstrikes from Iraq into Syria after a vote in the British Parliament one week ago.

“We must not allow the idea to take hold that standing up to this terrorism makes our homeland security any worse. That is a counsel of despair,” he said. “So we must defend our values as much as our streets and always remember that these people don’t hate us because of what we do, but because of who we are.”

Fallon said he has doubled the number of RAF Tornado strike aircraft in Cyprus, the vanguard British airpower against the Islamic State in Syria.

While the UK has shown a willingness to increase its lethality against ISIS from the air, don’t expect a deployment of British ground troops anytime soon to either Iraq or Syria.

Fallon said he had spoken to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Jawad Kadhim Al-Abadi and British forces were not requested.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he was pleased that the U.K. had pledged to increase its defense spending in line to what was expected of NATO allies. 

Five years ago, the British slashed defense spending by 8 percent.

Carter was asked about President Obama’s visit to the Pentagon Monday to review the ISIS campaign strategy after a wave of criticism on Capitol Hill.  

“We are taking a number of steps and I described a number of them earlier this week and we intend to take more to strengthen the execution of our strategy and hasten the defeat of ISIL,” Carter said.

Asked if defeating ISIS meant fighting beyond Iraq and Syria and into Libya, Carter said he would not let ISIS “fall back anywhere.”

Carter indicated more had to be done outside of Iraq and Syria earlier this week.

“We are going to have to do more in Libya,” Carter told the Senate on Tuesday.



Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews