On 5th February 2013, the Telegraph published an article by Des Browne, former Defence Secretary and Convenor of the Top Level Group and Dr. Ian Kearns, Chief Executive of the European Leadership Network, in which they argue against like-for-like replacement of Trident.
Whilst not promoting unilateral disarmament, they make the case that Trident is no longer the most effective, nor cost-effective, deterrent. With like-for-like renewal consuming 25-30 per cent of the defence equipment budget in the years 2020-2030, this leaves less money to spend on conventional forces. With imminent defence budget cuts the UK necessarily faces a choice between reducing its nuclear or conventional capabilities
Kearns and Browne describe the decreasing likihood of nuclear war between sovereign states, and point to new research which demonstrate how the knock on effects on global agriculture would make the use of nuclear weapons disastrous for the aggressor.
They argue that any significant nuclear threat is more likely to come from nuclear terrorism, and as such would be difficult to trace, making retaliation unviable, and a nuclear weapon useless.
The Government’s Trident Alternatives Review is due in the first half of this year. If an effective alternative to like-for-like renewal of Trident is found, Browne and Kearns argue that it should be pursued.
To read the Telegraph article, please click here.