The second of BASIC's 2016 Parliamentary Briefing series relating to the Trident debate is a primer on Trident's cyber vulnerabilities. Cyber threats impact both critical civilian infrastructure and all military systems dependent upon digital control and communications. Trident systems must be seen as a valuable cyber target for adversaries keen to neutralise any nuclear threat against them. If they can have some confidence of preventing a Trident launch, where does that leave nuclear deterrence? Cyber vulnerability also raises critical questions of strategic stability.
The first of BASIC's 2016 Parliamentary Briefing series relating to the Trident debate outlines the state of drone technology today relevant to anti-submarine warfare. Author David Hambling uses open sources to explore how small drone technology will impact the future detection and tracking of submarines.
In October 2015 Jon Thomson, Permanent Under Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, described the Trident Successor programme as a “monster” that kept him up at night, “the biggest project the Ministry of Defence will ever take on” and “an incredibly complicated area in which to try to estimate future costs.”
On March 2014, during the Nuclear Security Summit held in the Netherlands, President Obama identified his number one concern as being the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. UK Home Secretary Theresa May pinpointed her particular fear of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) acquisition of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”. Fortunately, there has not yet been a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, but the smuggling of nuclear material remains a pivotal threat to nuclear security.