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.

Throughout the three year process, the Trident Commission focused on three critical questions in particular, under a national security framework:

  1. Should the United Kingdom continue to be a nuclear weapons state?
  2. If so, is Trident the only or best option for delivering the deterrent?
  3. What more can and should the United Kingdom do to facilitate faster progress on global nuclear disarmament?

Chapter One offers a critical examination of the case for continuing to rely on nuclear weapons for UK national security, and attempts to answer the first question. It includes reflections on the strategic case, relevant financial considerations and technical and industrial factors.

Chapter Two addresses the second question over whether Trident is the best option for delivering the deterrent. It suggests criteria for the size, shape and posture of the United Kingdom’s nuclear force, reviews alternative options, and looks at possible new ways of burden-sharing with France and/or the United States. It also notes the option of the United Kingdom moving to the status of a nuclear ‘threshold state’.

Chapter Three addresses the third question, one of the most important of all – how can Britain best square the circle and promote nuclear non-proliferation and the moves towards a nuclear weapon-free world, if choosing to renew its own nuclear weapon systems?

The Trident Commission’s concluding report is owned by the Commissioners and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of BASIC. We stand resolutely by the publication of the Trident Commission’s final report as a valuable contribution to the debate in this country at this crucial moment in the renewal cycle and we expect it to stimulate a deeper level of discussion around the national security framework.

Read the Trident Commission’s concluding report in full here:

The Commission released background papers that helped inform some of the conclusions of the Commission. The collection of background papers can be found here:

BASIC has published its own guide to help interpret the Trident Commission’s concluding report. It draws out the principal messages, and some of the disagreements between the Commission members.

BASIC’s own interpretation of the Commission’s final report can be read here:

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