The Trident Commission

(2011-2014)

The Trident Commission

From 2011-2014 BASIC coordinated an independent, cross-party commission to examine the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons policy and the issue of Trident renewal. It’s final report and background papers were published on 1 July 2014:
The Commission’s concluding report is intended to inform a more considered debate over Britain’s nuclear weapon policy focused on national security, mindful of the politics and the strategic and diplomatic context.

Commission Members

Further information about the Commission, members, evidence submissions, events, and publicity, please contact us.

Co-Chairs

Lord Browne of Ladyton

Former Labour Secretary of State for Defence

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary

Sir Menzies Campbell

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Foreign Secretary

Members

Professor Alyson Bailes

Former Head of the Security Policy Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Sir Jeremy Greenstock

Former UK Ambassador to the UN

Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank

Former Chief of the Defence Staff

Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield

Queen Mary, University College London

Lord Rees of Ludlow

Astronomer Royal and recent President of the Royal Society

The Trident Commission was funded by:

 

WF Southall Trust

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Ploughshares Fund

Nuclear Education Trust

The Marmot Charitable Trust

Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation

The Mulberry Trust

We are grateful for the generous supporters

Background

The Commission

The Commission operated under the chairmanship of Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), former Labour Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative Defence and Foreign Secretary, and Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Foreign Secretary. It was launched on February 9, 2011 in Parliament.
The Commission: 
  1. Examined the international context within which the decision on Trident renewal now sits
  2. Assessed current UK nuclear weapons policy and the policy of the United Kingdom in efforts to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation
  3. Examined the costs associated with Trident renewal and any potential consequences for non-nuclear portions of the defence budget
  4. Considered all possible future policy options with the potential to maintain UK national security while further strengthening efforts at multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Read this programme’s published content 


The Commission previously published a series of background briefings that informed the final report of the Commission. Briefings published during the period of the Commission’s deliberations included: 

Memo to PM

Parliamentary Event: A Memo to the next Prime Minster on the Nuclear Question

The issue of the replacement of Trident is already receiving more attention due to speculation about the general election result and it will, anyway, be an issue demanding attention early on in the new government in the context of continuing budgetary pressures and ongoing international strategic priorities. This briefing will lay out the range of options regarding the decision currently scheduled for 2016 for any follow-on nuclear weapon system for the UK including:

  • Going ahead with like-for-like renewal of the submarine fleet in 2016

Launch of the Trident Commission’s concluding report

BASIC set up the Trident Commission in 2011 as an inquiry into Britain’s nuclear weapon policy. Its final report, published today, represents the collective views of the eight Commission members after engaging in an intense three-year process. The primary purpose of this report is to contribute to an informed and deeper debate on Trident renewal that focuses on national security in its widest sense. We are experiencing rapid strategic change in this century and the relevance of our major defence investments to tomorrow’s threats must be analysed across a wide range of considerations.

The Trident Commission: Concluding Report

The concluding report from the Trident Commission is aimed to contribute to an informed and deeper debate on Trident renewal that focuses on national security in its widest sense. We are experiencing rapid strategic change in this century and the relevance of our major defence investments to tomorrow’s threats must be analysed across a wide range of considerations.

Behind the Trident Commission Report

The village of Westminster is failing the UK public over Britain’s nuclear weapons policy at this most critical of moments. The Scots are about to vote on whether to leave a Union that is supposedly defended by Trident, and yet Trident is currently the most potent symbol for the SNP of what they claim is wrong with the Union. And the government in London is two years away from a final decision on whether to replace the nuclear weapon system.

Keeping Trident ‘stops nuclear blackmail,’ claims cross-party commission

The Trident Commission, spearheaded by BASIC, launched its concluding report on July 1st, and it is expected to add significant value to the debate on whether or not to keep Britain’s nuclear deterrent. An article in the Independent summarizes the key finding of the report and also shines a light on reactions by nuclear disarmament campaigners who disagree vehemently with the findings of the report. BASIC does not endorse the report but is proud to have spearheaded a significant contribution to the debate on the UK's nuclear deterrent.

Archive Programmes

BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation through multiple complementary approaches. We continuously develop our programmes – streams of research – through sustained engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, collectively searching for the art of the possible.

Our archive programmes are listed below. Browse our archive programmes page by clicking here.

Current Programmes

BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation through multiple complementary approaches. We continuously develop our programmes – streams of research – through sustained engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, collectively searching for the art of the possible.

Our current programmes are listed below. Browse our current programmes page by clicking here.

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