British Generals speak out against the UK deterrent

In a letter published in today’s London Times, three generals (Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach) spoke out strongly against the replacement of Trident, urging the government instead to properly resource conventional capabilities. While the three have been known for some time to hold opinions doubtful of Britain’s nuclear posture, this letter is bound to add to the internal pressures on the British government to reassess the decision in future. The Cabinet will face the ‘initial gate’ decision this coming summer as the project moves from the concept stage into the design phase. The ‘main gate’ decision (moving from design to manufacture stage) is not reached until 2013/4. The December 2006 White Paper made a poor case for the choice of a new submarine-based system, leaving open the possibility that the issue may be opened again by a future government under budgetary pressure.

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