The new British deterrent: strategic planning and domestic political implications.
Cummings, Kevin P.
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The British Government announced its intention in July 19 80 to modernize its strategic nuclear deterrent with the deployment of the Trident I (C4) submarine- launched ballistic missile. The MIRVed Trident missile will have significantly increased capabilities of range, pay load and target numbers. It also represents an enormous expense for the British to bear and high political and military opportunity-costs for capabilities which may not be vital to an effective and credible national strategic deterrent. The political difficulties likely to be encountered in bringing the Trident program to fruition may portend the loss of all British strategic capability, while resulting conventional weapons reductions may even contribute to lowering the threshold of aggression in Western Europe and increasing the likelihood of the threatening circumstances a nuclear deterrent is designed to avoid. Alternative strategic options, such as Polaris or Poseidon SLMBs or cruise missiles, should be explored to achieve the strategic stability and guarantee which the British seek.
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