For 20 years, the British nuclear deterrent has rested on Trident nuclear-armed missiles carried by four Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, at least one of which is continuously at sea. The British government is now considering how to maintain a nuclear deterrent after the Vanguard submarines are retired. This summer, the UK concluded a study looking at a range of alternatives, including options other than Trident missiles and options that would no longer maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent presence.
On September 11, the Arms Control Initiative at Brookings hosted a talk by Danny Alexander, chief secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury, on the study and how Britain should adjust its future nuclear posture to take account of new financial realities. Franklin Miller of the Scowcroft Group offered commentary, and Brookings Visiting Fellow Ian Wallace moderated a discussion with questions from the audience.