The Prime Minister announced the publication of the Trident Alternatives Review on 16 July 2013.
In the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK government confirmed its commitment to maintaining a continuous submarine-based deterrent and to beginning the work of replacing its existing submarines. As part of the Coalition programme for government, it was agreed that the Liberal Democrats would continue to make the case for alternatives. As a result, in 2011 the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister jointly commissioned Cabinet Office officials to conduct a focused review into alternative systems and postures.
The review was to examine whether there are:
- credible alternatives to a submarine-based deterrent
- credible submarine-based alternatives to the current proposal, e.g. modified Astute using cruise missiles
- alternative nuclear postures, i.e. non-continuous at sea deterrence, which could maintain credibility
The Cabinet Office has today published an unclassified version of the review.
Final decisions on the successor submarines will be taken in 2016 at the Main Gate point of the acquisition programme.
Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Minister in charge of the Trident Alternatives Review, Danny Alexander, launched the report at the Royal United Service Institute.
A debate on the Review will follow in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 17 July 2013.
The Cabinet Office will publish the Trident Alternatives Review next Tuesday morning. A Commons debate ‘Trident Alternatives Review’ has now been confirmed to take place next Wednesday afternoon, and will be led by Danny Alexander.
It has been suggested that the report is substantial and includes costings beyond the figures in the 2006 White Paper.
Further detail on the upcoming release of the report has been published in the Guardian and is available here.
On 4 July, the TLG met with Dr. Lassina Zerbo to discuss the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The current Director of the International Data Centre at the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) outlined his vision for bringing the Treaty into force.
Dr Zerbo will take over as Executive Secretary at the CTBTO in August 2013 and highlighted the achievement and the value of the Treaty and the Organisation at the meeting. However, he stretched, that until the Treaty enters into force, the danger of nuclear testing will remain.
The CTBT bans nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. Before the Treaty opened for signature in 1996, over 2,000 nuclear tests had been conducted globally and after 1996, the number of tests was reduced drastically with only three countries having conducted tests since then: India and Pakistan in 1998 and North Korea in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
This universal Treaty has already established a de facto international norm against nuclear testing. Since 1996, 183 countries have signed and 159 have ratified the Treaty, however the CTBT cannot enter into force until eight remaining states – the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Iran and North Korea – ratify.
The TLG was joined by members of the Committees on Arms Export Control and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-proliferation at this meeting.
On 18 June 2013, Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), Convenor of the Top Level Group, set out his ideas for a new approach to Euro-Atlantic security at the OSCE Security Days in Vienna.
In Vienna, Browne set out the arguments of the report Building Mutual Security in the Euro-Atlantic Region. Over the past year, Des Browne, Sam Nunn, Igor Ivanov and Wolfgang Ischinger have been working with more than 30 senior political, military and security experts from across the Euro-Atlantic area to developing a regional approach to address the challenge of getting out from under Cold War strategies and tactics that are ill-suited to the real threats that we face.
The OSCE Security Days 2013 was held in Vienna on 17-18 June 2013 and included more than 400 participants from over than 60 countries, including current and former heads of state, ministers of defence and foreign affairs, diplomats, as well as experts from think tanks, civil society.