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Defence Secretary address to staff

Thank you for that welcome. It is for me an honour to be asked by the Prime Minister to serve in this role and to have the chance to work with you all in the months and years ahead.

The work you do is vital and we are proud of the professionalism and your dedication to serving this nation, both in uniform and out. So thank you for everything that you do.

You will have my fullest support as your Defence Secretary.

We know these are serious times – war in Europe, conflict in the Middle East, growing Russian aggression, increasing global threats.

We know there are serious problems – with our Armed Forces hollowed out and under funded for 14 years.

And this government now is totally committed to 2.5% of Defence spending, to NATO, to the nuclear deterrent and to support for Ukraine.

The country has new leadership. This Ministry has new leadership. Our mission is to make Britain secure at home and strong abroad, with the guiding principle of one Defence. Because it isn’t just those who serve in uniform who defend this country, it’s those of you who serve in the Civil Service, who work on the production line, who staff the research labs, who develop software – and I want to see Defence at the heart both of the future security of this country, and the future success of this country.

And that means an Armed Forces well-equipped and ready to fight, a skilled, scalable industrial base, a stronger relationship with allies, a more influential MOD, a public that understands and better supports, those who are willing to serve – those whose service is the ultimate form of public service.

And I do have to tell you I am more interested in results than photo opportunities. And I look forward to learning from your experience and hearing your ideas about how we can develop one Defence.

I will rely on your experience, your honesty. I’ll rely on your dedication to solve the problems, in delivering the government’s defence plans.

And I know I will also be inspired by what you do.

And as Keir Starmer said in Downing Street, we will be a government that respects all. So we will have an Armed Forces and Civil Service, drawing on all the talents. We’ll have a culture that values all, and we’ll have zero tolerance for any abuse, in the military or the Civil Service.

We must forge one Defence, one mission: to make Britain secure at home and strong abroad.

And to all of you, I and the ministerial team, look forward so much to that opportunity to work with you, to deliver just that for our country.

Thank you very much indeed.

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