continuous at sea deterrence

Commentary on the UK Trident Alternatives Review

The government published its Trident Alternatives Review earlier today. This short briefing gives an immediate response. BASIC will later this year be publishing the results of the Trident Commission, considering the broader issues that form the context of the decision.

Today’s technical government review has highly political roots in the desire by Liberal Democrats to ask two key (strategic, political) questions:

The British Trident debate: an opportunity for progress?

Whether you support or oppose them, nuclear weapons have become an entrenched part of the British security discussion, with periods of major debate - in the 1960s and 1980s especially - leaving a lasting impact on the national psyche. But it’s rare that we have the chance to see governments - in the UK or elsewhere - step back and engage in truly forward-thinking, public consideration of why that is the case, and what the alternatives might be. This could be one of those moments for the UK. Could. Whether it will or not, remains to be seen.

Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion

Nuclear weapons policy looks set to feature as a political issue in the 2015 general election. A broad consensus on UK nuclear weapons policy since of the end of the Cold War amongst the party leaderships of the three main Westminster parties has been disturbed by the debate on whether and, if so, how to replace the current Trident nuclear weapons system. This has been exacerbated by a coalition government in which the Liberal Democrats have broken ranks and moved towards active consideration of a smaller, cheaper replacement for Trident that does not entail continuous deployment of nuclear weapons at sea.

The Great British Trident Debate: 2013 Reviews, 2014 Scottish Referendum, 2015 General Election, 2016 Main Gate Decision

The Ministry of Defence budget appears to have escaped the level of swinging cuts experienced by many other departments in the Spending Review, as documents are released today. At least for now, plans to increase the (much reduced) equipment spend by 1% a year in real terms after 2015 are kept. But money will still play a defining role in the forthcoming Trident debate.

Policy officials and UK nuclear wonks are patiently awaiting the arrival of the long-anticipated government Trident Alternatives Review (TAR) that will outline options for the next British nuclear weapon platform and delivery system.

PAIS/BASIC Nuclear Weapons Conference: The Future of Nuclear Weapons - Between Disarmament and Proliferation

BASIC & the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) held a one-day conference on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The conference brought together key thinkers from academia, policy-making, and non-governmental organsations to discuss the future of British nuclear weapons policy, and the prospects for non-proliferation and disarmament in the Middle East.

Beyond the Trident Alternatives Review

This brief, authored by Dr. Nick Ritchie, outlines opportunities and challenges arising from the UK government's ongoing Trident Alternatives Review. This briefing critiques weaknesses within the current thinking around Trident, outlines the key issues that need to be addressed, and highlights the opportunities that Britain has to demonstrate leadership on nuclear disarmament. Ritchie claims that this is a unique opportunity in the UK for an informed debate and addresses the key questions:

Getting to Zero Update

Russia and the United States have begun the exchange of information on their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as they assess next steps on arms control and also try to resolve their differences over missile defense. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear situations showed no signs of resolution, and instead pointed to more difficulties ahead.

Free terms: 

Newsletter: 

Region: 

Topic: 

The "technology" requires four fully-armed submarines to provide Britain’s nuclear deterrent

The UK Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, argued against the cut in submarines on BBC Radio Scotland last night. He maintained that the UK requires all four submarines to provide a continuous at sea deterrent (CASD); and that to reduce that number reduces the United Kingdom's ability to deploy that deterrent.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - continuous at sea deterrence