Trident after the Strategic Defence and Security Review - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 20 June 2011 | Standard notes SN05757

Authors: Claire Taylor

Topic: Arms control, Defence policy

Under the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition agreement, the new Government agreed to conduct a value for money review of the Trident successor programme within the framework of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

That review concluded over summer 2010 and its recommendations were considered by the National Security Council as part of the SDSR process. Issues relating to the nuclear deterrent subsequently formed one chapter of the SDSR when it was published on 19 October 2010.

This note briefly examines the main conclusions of the SDSR with respect to the Trident successor programme, including changes to the UK’s nuclear posture, timeframe and associated cost savings. It also briefly looks at the new UK-French nuclear treaty which, for the first time, establishes co-operation measures between the two nuclear weapon states; and developments in the Trident successor programme since October 2010, including approval of Initial Gate in May 2011.

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