Tuesday, 16 March 2021
Nuking disarmament diplomacy
The Cabinet Office ‘s Integrated Defence, Security and Foreign Policy Review (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/global-britain-in-a-competitive-age-the-integrated-review-of-security-defence-development-and-foreign-policy) commits to increasing the number of nuclear warheads Britain has at its disposal for its Trident missiles to 260, reversing a move to retain the stockpile at 180. The review asserts that a "minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent" remains "essential in order to guarantee our security". However, the Review - without presenting any evidence - also asserts that with a "developing range of technological and doctrinal threats", it is not the time to press on with 2010 plans to lower the overall stockpile of nuclear warheads but increase them to "no more than" 260. Ministers have long justified the UK’s alleged compliance with the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which requires all signatory states to negotiate multilateral nuclear disarmament “ in good faith and at an early date, “by pointing to unilateral reductions in the UK’s nuclear warhead stockpile over the past 50 years. Papers available in the National Archives in Kew show that on 23 January 1968, Fred (later Lord) Mulley, as the then Labour Government's disarmament minister, addressed the plenary meeting of the UN Committee on Disarmament (UN CD) explaining why nations should sign up to the newly negotiated NPT ( negotiated by the UK), telling the ministerial delegations: ".. my government accepts the obligation to participate fully in the negotiations required by [NPT] Article 6 and it is our desire that these negotiations should begin as soon as possible ... There is no excuse now for allowing a long delay to follow the signing of this treaty." On 25 June 2007, Margaret Beckett made a valedictory speech as Labour foreign Secretary at the annual Carnegie Endowment Non Proliferation conference in Washington DC, where she said “What we need is vision - a scenario for a world free of nuclear weapons,” adding” “For more than sixty years, good management and good fortune have meant that nuclear arsenals have not been used. But we cannot rely on history just to repeat itself.” US Secretary of State Blinken told the UN Conference on Disarmament on 22 February: “President Biden has made it clear: the United States has a national security imperative and a moral responsibility to reduce and eventually eliminate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.” (https://geneva.usmission.gov/2021/02/22/secretary-blinken-cd/). On 10 March last year, to mark the Fiftieth anniversary of the NPT Dominic Raab as British Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, and the US issued a Joint statement which include the statement “We support the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.” (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-on-the-fiftieth-anniversary-of-the-treaty-on-the-non-proliferation-of-nuclear-weapons). Prime Minister Johnson writes in his own foreword to the Review his support for the ‘rules of international order’ as follows: “History has shown that democratic societies are the strongest supporters of an open and resilient international order, in which global institutions prove their ability to protect human rights, manage tensions between great powers, address conflict, instability and climate change, and share prosperity through trade and investment.” But it is impossible to see what change in strategic threat could have been concluded by the integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy that could possibly justify an increase in nuclear warheads; or how this is compatible with UK obligations under the NPT, which will hold its review conference from 2-27 August at the United Nations in New York. (https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2020-11/news-briefs/npt-review-conference-postponed-again) Background Policy paper Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy Global Britain in a Competitive Age, the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, describes the government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade and the action we will take to 2025. From: Cabinet Office Published: 16 March 2021 Documents Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy Ref: CP 403PDF, 11.6MB, 114 pages Order a copy This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format. Details The Integrated Review is a comprehensive articulation of the UK’s national security and international policy. It outlines three fundamental national interests that bind together the citizens of the UK – sovereignty, security and prosperity – alongside our values of democracy and a commitment to universal human rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and faith, and equality. The Integrated Review concludes at an important moment for the United Kingdom. The world has changed considerably since the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, as has the UK’s place within it. The document, which is the product of over a year of work across government and of consultation with a wide range of external organisations and thinkers, sets out a vision for Global Britain. This includes: • an emphasis on openness as a source of prosperity • a more robust position on security and resilience • a renewed commitment to the UK as a force for good in the world • an increased determination to seek multilateral solutions to challenges like climate change It also stresses the importance of deepening our relationships with allies and partners around the world, as well as moving more swiftly and with greater agility. In this context, the Integrated Review sets out four overarching objectives: 1. Sustaining strategic advantage through science and technology, incorporating it as an integral element of national security and international policy to firmly establish the UK as a global S&T and responsible cyber power. This will be essential in gaining economic, political and security advantages. 2. Shaping the open international order of the future, working with partners to reinvigorate the international institutions, laws and norms that enable open societies and economies such as the UK to flourish. This will help our citizens and others around the world realise the full benefits of democracy, free trade and international cooperation – not least in the future frontiers of cyberspace and space. 3. Strengthening security and defence at home and overseas, working with allies and partners to help us to maximise the benefits of openness and protect our people, in the physical world and online, against a range of growing threats. These include state threats, radicalisation and terrorism, serious and organised crime, and weapons proliferation. 4. Building resilience at home and overseas, improving our ability to anticipate, prevent, prepare for and respond to risks ranging from extreme weather to cyber-attacks. This will also involve tackling risks at source – in particular climate change and biodiversity loss. The Integrated Review sets out the government’s overarching national security and international policy objectives to 2025. These will inform future policy-making for all government departments. They will also inform future Spending Reviews, offering further opportunities to align resources with ambition over the long term. We will ensure all government’s instruments work together, coordinated by enhanced strategic capabilities at the centre, to achieve our objectives. Access the government’s Integrated Review: call for evidence Published 16 March 2021 Contents I. Foreword from the Prime Minister 3 The Prime Minister’s vision for the UK in 2030 6 II. Overview 10 III. The national security and international environment to 2030 23 IV. Strategic Framework 33 1. Sustaining strategic advantage through science and technology 35 1.1 Growing the UK’s science and technology power 35 1.2 Responsible, democratic cyber power 40 2. Shaping the open international order of the future 44 2.1 A force for good: supporting open societies and defending human rights 47 2.2 An open, resilient global economy 51 2.3 Extending an open international order in future frontiers 55 The UK in the world: a European country with global interests 60 The Indo-Pacific tilt: a framework 66 3. Strengthening security and defence at home and overseas 69 3.1 Countering state threats: defence, disruption and deterrence 70 The nuclear deterrent 76 3.2 Conflict and instability 79 3.3 Homeland security and transnational security challenges 80 4. Building resilience at home and overseas 87 4.1 Building the UK’s national resilience 88 4.2 Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss 89 4.3 Building health resilience 93 V. Implementing the Integrated Review 96 Annex A: Integrated Review priorities funded in Spending Review 2020 100 Annex B: Evidence and engagement 106 Annex C: Glossary 110 The nuclear deterrent The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent has existed for over 60 years to deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, helping to guarantee our security and that of our Allies. We have previously identified risks to the UK from major nuclear armed states, emerging nuclear states, and state-sponsored nuclear terrorism. Those risks have not gone away. Some states are now significantly increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals. They are investing in novel nuclear technologies and developing new ‘warfighting’ nuclear systems which they are integrating into their military strategies and doctrines and into their political rhetoric to seek to coerce others. The increase in global competition, challenges to the international order, and proliferation of potentially disruptive technologies all pose a threat to strategic stability. The UK must ensure potential adversaries can never use their capabilities to threaten us or our NATO Allies. Nor can we allow them to constrain our decision-making in a crisis or to sponsor nuclear terrorism. The UK’s minimum, assured, credible nuclear deterrent The fundamental purpose of our nuclear weapons is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression. A minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent, assigned to the defence of NATO, remains essential in order to guarantee our security and that of our Allies. In 2010 the Government stated an intent to reduce our overall nuclear warhead stockpile ceiling from not more than 225 to not more than 180 by the mid-2020s. However, in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats, this is no longer possible, and the UK will move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 warheads. To ensure that our deterrent is not vulnerable to pre-emptive action by potential adversaries, we will maintain our four submarines so that at least one will always be on a Continuous At Sea Deterrent patrol. Our submarines on patrol are at several days’ notice to fire and, since 1994, we do not target our missiles at any state. We remain committed to maintaining the minimum destructive power needed to guarantee that the UK’s nuclear deterrent remains credible and effective against the full range of state nuclear threats from any direction. We will continue to keep our nuclear posture under constant review in light of the international security environment and the actions of potential adversaries. We will maintain the capability required to impose costs on an adversary that would far outweigh the benefits they could hope to achieve should they threaten our, or our Allies’, security. UK nuclear weapons policy The UK’s nuclear weapons are operationally independent and only the Prime Minister can authorise their use. This ensures that political control is maintained at all times. We would consider using our nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO Allies. IV. Strategic Framework While our resolve and capability to do so if necessary is beyond doubt, we will remain deliberately ambiguous about precisely when, how and at what scale we would contemplate the use of nuclear weapons. Given the changing security and technological environment, we will extend this long-standing policy of deliberate ambiguity and no longer give public figures for our operational stockpile, deployed warhead or deployed missile numbers. This ambiguity complicates the calculations of potential aggressors, reduces the risk of deliberate nuclear use by those seeking a first-strike advantage, and contributes to strategic stability. The UK will not use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 1968 (NPT). This assurance does not apply to any state in material breach of those non-proliferation obligations. However, we reserve the right to review this assurance if the future threat of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological capabilities, or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact, makes it necessary. Working with NATO, the US and France NATO recognises that any employment of nuclear weapons against NATO would fundamentally alter the nature of a conflict. Therefore, as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. Since 1962, the UK has declared our nuclear capability to the defence of the Alliance. We will continue to do so, safeguarding European and Euro-Atlantic security. We will work with Allies to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent capabilities remain safe, secure and effective, adapt to emerging challenges including the growing and diversifying nuclear threats that the Alliance may face, and contribute to the indivisible security of the Alliance. Nuclear cooperation remains an important element of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, enhancing transatlantic security. We will continue to work closely with the United States on nuclear matters, including nuclear deterrence policy. The 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) has been central to our shared nuclear security goals and we are committed to its renewal in 2024. Since 1995, France and the United Kingdom, Europe’s only nuclear powers, have stated that they can imagine no circumstances under which a threat to the vital interests of one would not constitute a threat to the vital interests of the other. We will continue our daily and unprecedented cooperation on nuclear issues, including our collaboration under the 2010 Teutates Treaty. Our future capability Our independent nuclear deterrent is relevant not only for today but will also remain relevant for the immediate future. It is for these reasons that we have committed to a once-in-two-generations programme to modernise our nuclear forces. This investment in the future security of both the UK and our Allies demonstrates that the UK’s nuclear commitment remains undiminished. Parliament has voted to renew our nuclear deterrent and replace the Vanguard Class submarines with four new Dreadnought Class submarines. The programme remains within budget and on track for the First of Class to enter service in the early 2030s. To ensure we maintain an effective deterrent throughout the commission of the Dreadnought Class, we will replace our existing nuclear warhead. We will work with the Atomic Weapons Establishment to build the highly skilled teams, facilities and capabilities needed to deliver this, while also sustaining the current warhead until it is withdrawn from service. We will continue to work closely with the United States to ensure our warhead remains compatible with the Trident Strategic Weapon System, our cooperation underpinned by both the MDA and the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement. Delivery of the modernisation of the deterrent will be subject to the Government’s major programme approvals and oversight. We will continue to provide updates through an annual report to Parliament. We will work collaboratively across the defence and civil nuclear sectors to optimise the Defence Nuclear Enterprise for the future. This will ensure that the UK has a minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent for as long as is necessary. Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation: our commitment to international treaties We remain committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We continue to work for the preservation and strengthening of effective arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation measures, taking into account the prevailing security environment. We are strongly committed to full implementation of the NPT in all its aspects, including nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; there is no credible alternative route to nuclear disarmament. The UK has taken a consistent and leading approach to nuclear disarmament. The UK possesses the smallest stockpile of any of the nuclear weapon states recognised by the NPT. We are alone amongst those states in only operating a single nuclear weapon system. We will continue to press for key steps towards multilateral disarmament, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. We will continue to take a leading international role on nuclear disarmament verification; this is an essential step for nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control. The UK will continue to work internationally to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict and enhance mutual trust and security. We will champion strategic risk reduction and seek to create dialogue among states possessing nuclear weapons, and between states possessing nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapon states, to increase understanding and reduce the risk of misinterpretation and miscalculation. The UK takes its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon state seriously and will continue to encourage other states to do likewise. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Engagement 5. We designed engagement to bring in different perspectives and policy ideas from across the UK and around the world. We adapted the programme in light of COVID-19 to make full use of online platforms and we issued a public call for evidence. 6. International partners and stakeholders: the Cabinet Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and later the FCDO, designed and delivered a virtual international engagement programme to which heads of mission, ministers and senior officials contributed. In particular, senior officials – including the Deputy National Security Adviser for the Integrated Review and the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Foreign Policy – held more than 100 engagements with over 20 countries across six continents, with a particular focus on key allies and partners. With support from Annex B: Evidence and engagement 107 Wilton Park, we convened 22 young leaders and emerging experts from 14 different countries to better understand young people’s perspectives on, and ambitions for, the future. 7. Departmental engagement: government departments and agencies consulted networks and stakeholder groups across the UK and the world to inform inputs to the Integrated Review. For example, the FCDO established a group of experts and hosted roundtables on key themes and GO-Science consulted established networks such as the UK Science and Innovation Network (SIN) to coordinate a range of inputs from external experts. Chief Scientific Advisers across government also played an important role in improving the standards of evidence use throughout the Integrated Review. This included support from the FCDO Research and Evidence Division (RED) to review the Integrated Review evidence base. 8. Public engagement: gaining perspectives from the public was vital to informing the Integrated Review, although the process was necessarily restricted due to COVID-19. New research was conducted to understand public perceptions of foreign policy and national security at home and overseas. On 13 August 2020, we launched a public call for evidence. Contributions were invited on a range of security, defence, development and foreign policy questions. We received more than 450 submissions from individuals and organisations. Organisational respondents included representatives of a range of industries, non-governmental organisations, international organisations, academia, think tanks, local government, LRFs, the media, religious organisations and fire and police organisations. We reviewed and catalogued the submissions, which we then shared with policy-makers and senior officials across government. 9. Parliamentary engagement: we made extensive use of reports by the relevant parliamentary committees. During the Integrated Review process, officials briefed the House of Commons Select Committees on Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development. The Prime Minister gave evidence to the Liaison Committee on the Integrated Review. The Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary also gave evidence to the relevant departmental select committees, the then-National Security Adviser gave evidence to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, and Defence Minister (Lords) led briefing sessions for members of the House of Lords. 10. Experts and practitioners: with support from the Government’s Open Innovation Team and Wilton Park, we engaged academics and experts from more than 30 different institutions and 20 countries. This included five facilitated discussion sessions and three roundtables with senior officials. Senior officials conducted a virtual tour of established think tanks and new research bodies. During the Integrated Review, we closely tracked work in relevant journals, think tanks and other research bodies from across the world. This work included two focused reviews of expert opinion, involving input from 45 academics and practitioners, to gather perspectives on the UK’s role in the world over the next ten years, UK capabilities in relevant areas, and the extent to which current systems support their effective use.