An interesting discussion paper on the subject of the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent from the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) Trident Commission.
From the foreword
The last Labour Government reaffirmed its commitment to Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, based on Trident, at the end of 2006. The current coalition government, in its October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), maintained a commitment to this decision in principle but also announced some changes to UK nuclear doctrine, a reduction in the number of warheads and missiles possessed by the United Kingdom, and a delay to the timetable for the construction of the replacement submarines on which the Trident system depends.
The decision to delay the final judgment on replacing the submarines until after the next election has created a window of opportunity for further deliberation on UK nuclear weapons policy. The starting point for the BASIC Trident Commission is a belief that it is important to make the most of this opportunity.
We are living through a period of enormous change in international affairs with new powers and security threats emerging, increased nuclear proliferation risks, and growing pressure on economies and defence budgets in the West. Since the original 2006-07 decision on Trident renewal modest arms control progress has also been made by the United States and Russia and President Obama has set out a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. The current government, more recently, has also initiated a further review of possible alternatives to Trident.
In our view, there is a strong case in this context for a fundamental, independent, review of UK nuclear weapons policy.
There is also a case, in the national interest, for lifting the issue of the United Kingdom’s possession of nuclear weapons out of the day to day party political context and for thinking about it in a cross party forum. The BASIC Trident Commission is doing this by facilitating, hosting, and delivering a credible crossparty expert Commission to examine the issue in
The Commission is focusing on three questions in particular, namely:
- Should the United Kingdom continue to be a nuclear weapons state?
- If so, is Trident the only or best option for delivering the deterrent?
- What more can and should the United Kingdom do to facilitate faster progress on global nuclear disarmament?
Read more below, well worth the time
H/T Jedibeeftrix (who, by the way, we all need to get back to blogging!)