UK to increase nuclear stockpile by 40%

UK to increase nuclear stockpile by 40%

The Government’s ‘Integrated Review’ document, due for release at noon tomorrow has been leaked. The news is worse than any of us could have feared, an increase in the UK nuclear stockpile of over 40%. This is in direct contravention of the UK’s commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is likely to cause extremely significant international impacts with the NPT review conference coming up later this year.

The vast majority of world countries support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which made such weapons illegal under international law less than two months ago.

We can not allow Boris Johnson to start a new global arms race, undoing decades of progress on disarmament; contact your MP, spread the word on social media and join CNDs Emergency Rally (online) on Wednesday at 6pm.

Relevant section of the leaked report is below

The nuclear deterrent

The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent has existed for over 60 years to deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, helping to guarantee our security and that of our Allies. We have previously identified risks to the UK from major nuclear armed states, emerging nuclear states, and state-sponsored nuclear terrorism. Those risks have not gone away. Some states are now significantly increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals. They are investing in novel nuclear technologies and developing new ‘warfighting’ nuclear systems which they are integrating into their military strategies and doctrines and into their political rhetoric to seek to coerce others. The increase in global competition, challenges to the international order, and proliferation of potentially disruptive technologies all pose a threat to strategic stability. The UK must ensure potential adversaries can never use their capabilities to threaten us or our NATO Allies. Nor can we allow them to constrain our decision-making in a crisis or to sponsor nuclear terrorism.

The UK’s minimum, assured, credible nuclear deterrent

The fundamental purpose of our nuclear weapons is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression. A minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent, assigned to the defence of NATO, remains essential in order to guarantee our security and that of our Allies. In 2010 the Government stated an intent to reduce our overall nuclear warhead stockpile ceiling from not more than 225 to not more than 180 by the mid-2020s. However, in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats, this is no longer possible, and the UK will move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 warheads.

To ensure that our deterrent is not vulnerable to pre-emptive action by potential adversaries, we will maintain our four submarines so that at least one will always be on a Continuous At Sea Deterrent patrol. Our submarines on patrol are at several days’ notice to fire and, since 1994, we do not target our missiles at any state. We remain committed to maintaining the minimum destructive power needed to guarantee that the UK’s nuclear deterrent remains credible and effective against the full range of state nuclear threats from any direction.

We will continue to keep our nuclear posture under constant review in light of the international security environment and the actions of potential adversaries. We will maintain the capability required to impose costs on an adversary that would far outweigh the benefits they could hope to achieve should they threaten our, or our Allies’, security.

UK nuclear weapons policy

The UK’s nuclear weapons are operationally independent and only the Prime Minister can authorise their use. This ensures that political control is maintained at all times. We would consider using our nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO Allies.