Trident Commission


From 2011-2014 BASIC coordinated an independent, cross-party commission to examine the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons policy and the issue of Trident renewal. It’s final report and background papers were published on 1 July 2014:

  1. Trident Commission Concluding Report
  2. Background Briefing Papers to the Trident Commission Concluding Report

The Commission’s concluding report is intended to inform a more considered debate over Britain’s nuclear weapon policy focused on national security, mindful of the politics and the strategic and diplomatic context.


The Commission operated under the chairmanship of Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), former Labour Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary, and Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Foreign Secretary. It was launched on February 9, 2011 in Parliament.

The Commission: 

  1. Examined the international context within which the decision on Trident renewal now sits;

  2. Assessed current UK nuclear weapons policy and the policy of the United Kingdom in efforts to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation;

  3. Examined the costs associated with Trident renewal and any potential consequences for non-nuclear portions of the defence budget; and

  4. Considered all possible future policy options with the potential to maintain UK national security while further strengthening efforts at multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Commission previously published a series of background briefings that informed the final report of the Commission. Briefings published during the period of the Commission’s deliberations included:

  1. Beyond the UK: Trends in the Other Nuclear Armed States, Ian Kearns, 31 October  2011

  2. Defence-Industrial Issues: Employment, Skills, Technology and Regional Impacts, Keith Hartley, 21 March  2012

  3. Entente Nucléaire, Bruno Tertrais, 25 June 2012

  4. Deterrence, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and UK Trident, John Simpson, 28 March 2013

Further information about the Commisison, including: evidence submissions, events, and publicity can be found here.

Commission Members 


Lord Browne of Ladyton, former Labour Secretary of State for Defence

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary

Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Foreign Secretary



Professor Alyson Bailes, Former Head of the Security Policy Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and former member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Ambassador to the UN

Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, former Chief of the Defence Staff

Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, Queen Mary, University College London

Lord Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal and
recent President of the Royal Society     (Photograph courtesy ofLucinda Douglas-Menzie)


The Trident Commission was funded by: