The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has welcomed a report by the House of Commons Defence Committee which highlights the decreasing salience of nuclear weapons in UK defence policy.
The report, Deterrence in the twenty-first century, states:
‘It is possible to foresee an environment in which the core role of nuclear deterrence – to protect a state from attack – is achieved by the deployment of advanced conventional weapons… This will be a matter which our successor Committee may wish to examine further.’
The paper explores issues around the UK’s possession of nuclear weapons in a shifting security landscape: emphasising ‘the greater significance of asymmetric threats compared to the Cold War strategic context’.
CND’s General Secretary, Kate Hudson, said:
‘It’s good to see the Defence Committee taking a dispassionate and evidence-based approach to nuclear weapons policy: the Ministry of Defence should follow suit.’
‘While the report does not challenge government plans to replace Trident, it presents a stark analysis of a changing security landscape in which it sees nuclear weapons as increasingly irrelevant.’
‘Most tellingly, the report emphasises the difficulty in identifying or retaliating against “asymmetric threats”, as well as concerns amongst senior military figures over the impact of Trident spending on cuts to the Armed Forces.’
‘As we approach a parliamentary vote in 2016 on whether or not to spend £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons, greater public and parliamentary debate about this crucial issue is needed: and this report is a step in the right direction.’