trident commission

Nuclear Diplomacy in 2014

Looking ahead to this coming year, 2014 is full of opportunities for reducing the value of nuclear weapons and developing arms control in ways that could improve security relations. Enough time remains before policymakers and analysts start talking about how we must focus on “managing expectations” for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in the spring of 2015.

Britain's political parties and their nuclear postures

In 2016, for only the second time in Britain’s history as a nuclear power, Parliament is expected to vote to decide the future of the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear deterrent. Britain’s nuclear policy is heavily influenced by the ideological positions of Britain’s three dominant political parties. Each of the parties has a spread of opinion within them.

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.

BASIC News January - February 2013

The BASIC Trident Commission continued its deliberations on multiple aspects of the United Kingdom’s nuclear posture. Also in the first part of the year, BASIC organized sessions focused on U.S. nuclear weapons and extended deterrence in both London and Washington, engaging with a range of political and international perspectives.

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BASIC News: July - September 2012

BASIC News: May - June 2012

NATO leaders met at their summit in Chicago on May 20-21 to agree on, amongst other things, the text arising from the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review that had been 18 months in process. BASIC has been organizing roundtables around Europe, Moscow and Washington alongside the Arms Control Association, IFSH (Hamburg), and local partners to discuss nuclear-related issues with officials and others to influence the discussion. The DDPR does not close this debate, but rather opens it up over the next few years.

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Trident In Question

Debate around the decision facing Britain on the renewal of its Trident nuclear weapon system continues after Financial Times published an Op-Ed by Sir Menzies Campbell, Lib Dem foreign policy grandee and co-chair of the BASIC Trident Commission. The decision to begin the process by engaging in concept studies, and later design was confirmed by Parliament in March 2007. Parliament was assured by ministers at the time that this was not a final decision to build the submarines.

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