The recent vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has concerned many. Not only does the move create political and economic repercussions, it could have a bearing on defense spending, as well. Speculation about the long-term effects will continue, but in the short-term, British-American intelligence partnerships look to remain the same.

The Guardian recently highlighted the newest sign of the British-American bi-lateral defense partnership. A Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex is slated to be created at RAF Croughton. The site was selected, in large part, to reinforce the relationship between the two militaries. It faced opposition from the US Congress and culminated in an IG report. Critics argued there must be cheaper European locations.

America Plays Favorites…with Britain

The new complex is intended to be the “intended hub for intelligence on security threats through the US, UK and NATO.” Its bi-lateral nature is not intended to replace multi-lateral efforts such as NATO, but it does respond to concerns by many in the American intelligence community over the level of intelligence sharing by some Western European NATO allies. The “silos” built by many intelligence agencies may have contributed to the successful ISIS attacks in Paris and Brussels.

RAF Croughton is about 70 miles outside London. It is already home to the 422nd Air Base Group which provides communications and support to global strike operations. Building on the communications infrastructure in place would seem a natural next step.

Keeping the Kingdom Together

The Brexit vote does pose some questions that will need to be answered over the next few years. Scotland voted solidly to remain in the EU. After the vote, leaders of the Scots independence movement have been calling for an independence vote and possibly finding a means by which Scotland can remain in the EU. The UK military depends heavily on bases in Scotland and the nuclear force is based in that region. Scottish independence would raise a host of issues about defense.

In addition, the UK is currently suffering from an economic downturn. A completed Brexit is expected to only worsen that situation. With government revenues falling, military cuts have been a regular feature of the Prime Minister’s budget. Those cuts are likely to continue, affecting British support for NATO in Afghanistan and, potentially, the Croughton project.

With the United States about to elect a new President and Congress, both nations are in a state of flux. How these uncertainties will play out in the next year remains to be seen. There is a pressing need for this sort of intelligence gathering and there are few nations better equipped to work together bi-laterally than the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a freelance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.