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The economics of UK nuclear weapons policy

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The Trident replacement decision has an economic aspect that cannot be ignored, namely, its costs. This article presents a cost-benefit framework for assessing the replacement decision and its alternatives. The replacement decision is presented against the background of the defence economics problem showing the opportunities for substitution and the need for difficult defence choices in a world of uncertainty. A framework for choices is outlined showing the range and type of information needed for sensible decision-making in this area. A range of conventional force alternatives is estimated as well as alternative civil spending. The impact of the replacement decision on the UK submarine industrial base is assessed, including the challenges of reaching a partnering agreement and negotiating an incentive contract with a UK monopoly supplier. The cost figures used for the Trident replacement are illustrative only and show how the programme can be evaluated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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