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The Future of Nuclear Navies: the UK and China
Though the UK and China face different strategic environments, the two have commonalities in their nuclear policies. Both are small nuclear powers who claim they maintain a ‘minimum’, credible, and independent deterrent. Both advocate their own brand of responsible nuclear policy, whether gradual reductions in warhead numbers and readiness to fire, or ‘no-first-use’ postures. And crucially, both are presently preoccupied with questions over the future of the naval leg of their nuclear deterrents.
A final decision on renewal of the Britain’s ballistic missile submarine fleet looms large on the political horizon. Through the submarine leg of Britain’s nuclear deterrent is nearly half a century old, its future in an age of political uncertainty, budgetary pressures, and new security challenges is uncertain. By contrast, Beijing is a newcomer to SSBN operations. It is in the process of shifting away from its historic focus on land-based missile operations toward a nuclear force structure that includes ballistic missile submarines as a crucial component. The gradual introduction of the Jin-class will bring new challenges in operations, command and control, and nuclear posture for China.
This event will bring together leading Chinese scholars and veteran British practitioners to consider the future of the UK and China’s ballistic missile submarine forces and implications for strategic dynamics between nuclear-armed states.
Speaker: Tong Zhao is an Associate in Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. His research focuses on strategic security issues, including nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, missile defence, strategic stability, and China’s security and foreign policy. Zhao was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow with the Managing the Atom Project and the International Security Program at the Belfer Center at Harvard University. He has held a number of other positions, including as a nonresident WSD-Handa Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS and in the Office of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality.
Speaker: Wu Riqiang is an Associate Professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, where his research focuses on missile defence, strategic stability, and Sino-US crisis escalation. He is also a visiting fellow at Dartmouth College's Dickey Center for International Understanding. From 2000 to 2006, he was a missile designer at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. He received a doctorate in political science from Tsinghua University in 2012, and also holds a master's in general mechanics from Harbin Institute of Technology.
Speaker: Captain Andrew McKendrick is a Serving Officer in the Royal Navy, currently working in the policy division of the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Head of Nuclear Systems with responsibility for deterrent operations. He has spent the majority of his seagoing career in the submarine service, where he commanded SSN HMS Turbulent and the Trident submarine HMS Vengeance. He was subsequently promoted to command the Faslane Flotilla, and all submarine and surface units based at the Clyde Naval Base.
Chair: Karl Evans joined MASS Consultants Ltd in September 2014 as Group Head for Defence Services. His responsibilities include delivering managed-service contracts to NATO and the UK Ministry of Defence. A former Royal Navy Officer, he specialised in submarine warfare operations during the Cold War, and commanded the Trident submarine HMS Vanguard. A graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff Course and with an MA in Defence Studies from King's College London, he has worked in policy jobs at the British Defence Staff in Washington, DC, UK Ministry of Defence, and the National Security Secretariat at the Cabinet Office.
This event is open to all UK PONI members. A drinks reception will be held following the event. To attend, please register online using the "Book your place" button above.