Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident

The call by former defence chiefs Lords Bramall, Beach and Ramsbotham to delay a new Trident programme for at least another 15 years as Britain no longer requires an “all-singing, all-dancing” version as currently planned, raises fresh concerns as to both the strategic value and value to the tax payer of the £97 billion defence procurement programme.

The call by former defence chiefs Lords Bramall, Beach and Ramsbotham to delay a new Trident programme for at least another 15 years as Britain no longer requires an “all-singing, all-dancing” version as currently planned, raises fresh concerns as to both the strategic value and value to the tax payer of the £97 billion defence procurement programme.

With Chancellor George Osborne fundamentally changing the nature of the Trident debate by requiring that the Ministry of Defence plan its Trident based expenditure out of MoD allocated funds rather than the Treasury’s own budget, there are further doubts as to whether the MoD can afford the programme.

Curiously the coalition continues to maintain the position that Trident should not be considered in this autumn’s strategic defence review – as called for last week by former defence secretary Des Browne – and yet Osborne’s decision effectively forces the MoD to consider it in the context of its other budgetary priorities.

The MoD is thus faced with a ridiculous paradox that defence sources say renders worthless the work of the defence planning team over the past few months. The Treasury requires it to review Trident’s future on a compare-and-contrast financial basis with other major planned financial expenditures whilst No 10 forbids it from considering Trident in a strategic context.

There is now a distinct danger that major budgetary and strategic decision making will be critically undermined by these contradictory positions with grave consequences for British defence planning in terms of a lack of joined up thinking between threat assessments and intended defence expenditures.

To resolve this the coalition should include Trident in the Strategic Defence Review, allocate the money that the Treasury previously planned to spend for Trident to the MoD and thus conduct a serious comprehensive SDR that assess Britain’s threats, capabilities and choices as recommended last year by the new Chief of the Defence Staff Sir David Richards.

Such an approach would allow concepts of continuous at sea deterrence  to be re-examined, the question of closer Anglo-French nuclear co-operation to be considered and feasibility studies of Trident alternatives to be properly conducted. The alternative is a status quo so unacceptable that it is said to be a contributing factor to the resignation of senior military advisor General Sir Richard Dannatt  at the weekend.

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11 Responses to “Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident”

  1. Will Straw

    Good piece by @marcusaroberts on why the Coalition should include Trident in the defence review http://bit.ly/93EEke

  2. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident: http://bit.ly/93EEke

  3. David Hartery

    those inspired by @leftfootfwd Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident: http://bit.ly/93EEke

  4. Peter Campbell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident http://bit.ly/93EEke

  5. Shamik Das

    Excellent post from @marcusaroberts on @leftfootfwd: Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident: http://bit.ly/93EEke

  6. Will Straw

    Good piece by @marcusaroberts on why the Coalition should include Trident in the defence review http://bit.ly/93EEke

  7. TheBiPolarBearMD

    RT @wdjstraw: Good piece by @marcusaroberts on why the Coalition should include Trident in the defence review http://bit.ly/93EEke

  8. Matthew Taylor (MTPT)

    Alternately – and perhaps more realistically – don’t allocate the money, exclude the nuclear deterrent from the SDR, and then “discover” that we can’t afford the conventional capability we require for the future (from the SDR) and Trident/Vanguard replacement.

  9. Frank Spring

    @marcusaroberts on Trident. http://tinyurl.com/36l5a8l #leftfootforward

  10. Marcus A. Roberts

    RT @next_big_idea: @marcusaroberts on Trident. http://tinyurl.com/36l5a8l #leftfootforward

  11. Sigma

    Coalition needs to work out where it stands on Trident http://t.co/ZcMuyIrs #NuclearTriad #RoyalNavy #missile

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