U.S.-British Talks Spotlight Uncertainty in Both Nuclear Arsenals

None

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 2, 2014, 10:35 a.m.

The United King­dom’s nuc­le­ar weapons ar­sen­al is cru­cially de­pend­ent on U.S. ac­tions, as a key bi­lat­er­al agree­ment is up for re­new­al, re­ports the Lon­don Guard­i­an.

At is­sue is the so-called Mu­tu­al De­fense Agree­ment, first signed in 1958. Work on the latest ex­ten­sion of the pact was on­go­ing on both sides of the At­lantic as of earli­er this year, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per’s De­fence and Se­cur­ity Blog. The agree­ment is key be­cause it en­ables the Brit­ish mil­it­ary to take ad­vant­age of nuc­le­ar-weapons work con­duc­ted in the United States, in­clud­ing the shar­ing of data, test res­ults and the use of U.S. test fa­cil­it­ies.

Brit­ish politi­cians have pre­vi­ously as­sured the pub­lic that the coun­try’s stock­pile of Tri­dent war­heads is re­li­able for an­oth­er two dec­ades or so. However, the blog quotes a Roy­al United Ser­vices In­sti­tute re­port con­clud­ing that “a lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of war­head aging” makes pre­cise es­tim­ates dif­fi­cult.

In es­sence, the U.K. ar­sen­al “will de­pend more upon ex­tern­al rather than in­tern­al factors,” the Lon­don-based think tank’s ana­lys­is con­cludes.

“Chief amongst these ex­tern­al factors will be the U.S. war­head pro­gram, which provides many key com­pon­ents of the U.K. ar­sen­al,” ac­cord­ing to the think tank.

In oth­er words, how the U.S. nuc­le­ar com­plex pro­ceeds in main­tain­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing Wash­ing­ton’s ar­sen­al could af­fect the U.K. de­terrent force.

“The U.K. may have no more luck pre­dict­ing the fu­ture of the U.S. pro­gram than it does the re­li­ab­il­ity of its own ar­sen­al,” the think tank re­port reads. “The U.S. pro­gram is cur­rently in flux, and is likely to re­main so for the fore­see­able fu­ture.”

Re­pla­cing the war­heads would take roughly 17 years and cost the equi­val­ent of ap­prox­im­ately $6.65 bil­lion at today’s prices, ac­cord­ing to the Guard­i­an art­icle. Bri­tain plans to re­duce its stock­pile of 225 Tri­dent war­heads to 180 or less, with up to 120 op­er­a­tion­ally avail­able for the coun­try’s Van­guard sub­mar­ine fleet, the blog quotes a 2010 Stra­tegic De­fence and Se­cur­ity Re­view as say­ing.

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×