U.S., U.K. Announce Unrelated Nuclear Modernization Steps

U.S., U.K. Announce Unrelated Nuclear Modernization Steps

The U.S. and U.K. governments have independently made public statements on the future of their respective nuclear weapons programs in the last week. Considering the timing, it is tempting to conclude that the two events are linked, but in fact these announcements reflect the two countries' differing approaches to modernization given the unique characteristics of their nuclear arsenals.

The Announcements

On Monday, Dec. 4, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the British Government decision to replace its four Trident nuclear submarines and reduce its nuclear stockpile to 160 warheads. Following parliamentary debate and a vote scheduled for the end of March 2008, the U.K. will examine whether it can reduce its ballistic nuclear squadron to three submarines, but the practicability of this will not be clear until design work has begun. The prime minister's statement and the accompanying white paper -- which sets out the government's position -- state that no decision needs to be taken at this time on the future of British Trident warheads and that the submarines will continue to use the U.S.-manufactured Trident II D5 missile, which will continue to be available until 2042.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.