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'Shared Responsibilities: A National Security Strategy for the United Kingdom, IPPR, 30 June 2009

Shared Responsibilities: A National Security Strategy for the United Kingdom, IPPR Commission on National Security in the 21st Century, 30 June 2009.

Summary and Recommendations, Excerpt

The full text of Shared Responsibilities is available from IPPR at www.ippr.org.

Trident

The Commission believes firmly in the need to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons and in the need for the UK to play an active role in bringing that about. In the meantime, and in relation to Trident, the Commission recommends:

Recommendation 17: The future of Britainís independent nuclear deterrent should be considered as an integral part of the recommended Strategic Review of Security. This should consider:

  • Whether, as the Commission believes is the case, a minimum UK deterrent is still needed
  • The best and most cost-effective way to provide it, including consideration of whether we should replace the Trident system, as is currently planned, seek to extend the life of the current system further or decide that some other system for providing Britainís deterrent in a nuclear armed world would be better suited to the strategic circumstances in which we then find ourselves
  • The opportunity costs of maintaining our deterrent, in all its possible forms, for other sectors of the UK defence and security budget. This must take into account the costs that would be involved in decommissioning Trident and its facilities.

Recommendation 18: In order to maintain the option of refreshing the current system as part of the Strategic Review of Security, the UK should continue with the crucial ongoing preparatory work on the concept, design and assessment phases of the Trident refresh.

Recommendation 19: To provide maximum additional flexibility in our position, the UK should also now recommence detailed exploratory work on the costs and viability of a further run-on, beyond 2024, of the existing Vanguard submarine hulls, so that the Strategic Review of Security, should it conclude that Trident is the appropriate way to go, can also consider this option if desired.

Recommendation 20: Finally, before any further decision of substance is taken on this matter, Parliament must have a further opportunity to vote.

Source: IPPR, www.ippr.org.

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