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Evidence submitted by Sir David Omand, GBC. Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King's College London
We benefit from the collective security arrangements of the North Atlantic Alliance including a framework of deterrence extended from the US to its European allies. As a result, the future risk of the UK becoming engaged in conflict remains very low. However, we know how unpredictable the international security environment can turn out to be. Looking ahead several decades we could be surprised by new and unforeseen threats; thus, we have no objective justification for seeking major changes today in the collective security that our NATO membership provides.
Furthermore, ending the UK nuclear contribution to NATO nuclear capabilities would open up new fault lines and stresses in the Euro-Atlantic relationship. This in turn may affect our and European security, as well as, in the long run, the Far East and Pacific region.
The UK is doing a great deal working as part of the P3 to promote global nuclear disarmament, non- proliferation and nuclear security. However, is it at all likely in the timescale for Trident replacement that we will see a major change in Russian policy towards reductions of its TNWs or changes in Chinese modernization plans? Doubtfully, any unilateral disarmament moves by the UK would have significant impact in this respect.
Sir David Omand is expressing his views in his personal capacity.
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