The U.K. and U.S. defense secretaries have signed a deal to work together more closely on the development and operation of aircraft carriers. The Statement of Intent on Carrier Cooperation and Maritime Power Projection “will serve as the framework for increased cooperation and interoperability on the use of aircraft carriers, as well as provide the basis for the U.S. to assist the U.K. Royal Navy in developing its next generation of aircraft carriers,” according to the Pentagon's press secretary, George Little. U.K. Defense Minister Phillip Hammond met with his U.S. counterpart Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Jan. 5 during Hammond's first official visit to Washington. The two allies signed a defense trade treaty in 2007 that allows pre-certified defense acquisition communities to cooperate without most export licensing controls.