A Progressive Nuclear Policy

Continuous-at-sea nuclear deployment - known as CASD - could be downgraded to 'reduced readiness' extending the life span of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines and reducing overall costs according to an article in the latest Journal of the Royal United Services Institute.

'A Progressive Nuclear Policy', authored by Nick Ritchie and Paul Ingram, challenge the current rationale behind the CASD posture suggesting that the need for total invulnerability to surprise attack is out of date. They argue that the UK has not faced a major nuclear threat for the last decade, and that the cost of maintaining a deterrent designed within a Cold War context, is difficult to justify in a modern world.

The proposal for a 'reduced readiness' posture would hold Britain's nuclear-armed submarines in port for a period of months on enhanced alert, ready to sail at short notice if intelligence suggested an imminent attack. If adopted, the article suggests such an approach could significantly increase the in-service life span of the submarine platform and reduce the spend on both overall operational deployment cost and the need for new submarines by £6 billion.

Ritchie and Ingram also outline how increased security and counter-intelligence around Faslane - the home of Britian's nuclear deterrent - dummy deployments and even co-operation with France would reduce any opponent's ability to predict the location of Britain's nuclear deterrent.

The article challenges Britain's moral position on its nuclear capabilities, stating that there is a 'clear opportunity' to take the lead as the most progressive of the nuclear weapons states by reducing the readiness and the size of its current and future strategic force. The authors argue that this is 'the next logical contribution the UK can make to the global nuclear disarmament agenda'.

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