On 3 August, Bill Rammell MP gave his first speech as Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Speaking at a RUSI Members’ Lecture chaired by RUSI Vice President Sir David Omand, the Minister used his debut to highlight the defence contribution to UK and international security.
The Minister outlined how the UK Armed Forces are defending the UK's security interests in Afghanistan and those operations fit in with the UK's wider counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. He stressed that the vast majority of the Muslim community was appalled by terrorist groups like Al-Qa’ida and that Islam was being used as a mere ‘smoke-screen’ to carry out extremist aims. Indeed, he stressed the support of the Afghan people for the mission and conceded that rather than an imposition of Western values on the country, the campaign aims to provide a more secure future for Afghanistan. Ultimately, the Minister remained optimistic about UK efforts on the campaign, and although he conceded that counter-terrorism efforts could not take place solely by military intervention, he valued the input of the Armed Forces in maintaining UK security.