Are there viable alternatives?
By ACA Intern Daniel Salisbury
The costs of the British Trident nuclear deterrent have emerged as an issue in British politics; with HM Treasury looking to cut costs and the Ministry of Defence insisting that cuts are unnecessary. While the current plan for a "like-for-like" renewal of the system was passed in 2007, the British government could choose to make more aggressive cuts to the program. Two pieces highlight the range of options facing the British government.
In "Continuous at-Sea Deterrence: Costs and Alternatives," Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute presents four alternatives to the current renewal plans. These options represent incremental shifts from the status quo, and do not radically reconsider the purpose of, or need for, the British nuclear deterrent.
Rebecca Johnson, on the other hand, considered a wider spectrum of more radical options in her April 2006 Arms Control Today article penned prior to Parliament's vote to renew the system. In "End of a Nuclear Weapons Era: Can Britain Make History?" she presented four options of her own.
Did Britain make history? No it seems, at least not for now. The renewal of Trident and maintenance of Britain's nuclear deterrent look like it is a near certainty in the immediate future. However, we can hope that all options are assessed when Trident is considered under budget constraints in the next few months.