Oxford Research Group’s Sustainable Security Programme (SSP) recently submitted evidence to Labour’s Defence Policy Review in order to highlight how the UK’s future defence policy and international engagement can better conform with the principles of sustainable security.

This work forms a key part of SSP’s flagship project: Rethinking UK Defence and Security Policies, through which we engage with all major political parties, as well as government, military, academia and civil society.

ORG’s submission comprises two parts. The first, entitled Sustainable Security & Responsible Global Citizenship, outlines actions which the government could take in order to act as a responsible global citizen, for example, through building common security and advancing social justice, sustainable development and international stability.

In so doing, the submission addresses several key questions:

  • How can the UK act as a responsible global citizen?
  • How can the UK contribute to a fair rules-based international system?
  • What are the real threats to UK and global security? What is a sustainable UK response to these threats?
  • What level and balance of defence and international spending is desirable for the UK?
  • What are the UK’s international obligations concerning its nuclear weapons?
  • How can the UK promote nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament?

The second part, entitled The UK’s Nuclear Future, considers the costs, risks and options surrounding the renewal of the UK’s nuclear weapons programme. It also examines how the UK could act to fulfil its dual international disarmament obligations i.e. to eliminate its nuclear weapons and help create a nuclear weapons-free world. This part concludes that the next government is:

“set to inherit a range of massive (both in terms of size and expense) civil and military nuclear construction projects that will make it much more difficult to pursue alternative, more sustainable, policies in future—including on renewable energy and nuclear disarmament—despite both the latter boasting significant public support. It is therefore crucial now, before construction of these mega-projects has begun, to carefully consider both the case for cancellation as well as more responsible and sustainable policy options.”

ORG staff have also met with the Shadow Defence team to discuss proposals for reorienting future defence policy, including alternatives to the submarine-based nuclear weapons programme, which we understand will be the priority for the Defence Policy Review’s interim report to the party in late May.

ORG actively engages with all British political parties in order to promote a more sustainable approach to policy-making on security issues.

Read part I of the submission

Read part II of the submission

Image via Flickr

About the Authors

Richard Reeve is the Director of the Sustainable Security Programme at ORG. He has worked as a Research Fellow with King’s College London, Chatham House and at Jane’s Information Group.

Tim Street is Senior Programme Officer on the Sustainable Security programme at ORG and has worked for many years on the politics of nuclear disarmament and the arms trade. These briefings are circulated free of charge for non-profit use, but please consider making a donation to ORG, if you are able to do so.