U.K. to Retain Nukes, Defense Secretary Tells U.S.

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox promised his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, that the United Kingdom would retain its nuclear deterrent even as the country is expected to pursue severe military budget reductions, Agence France-Presse reported today (see GSN, Sept. 23).

Fox's pledge to Gates on Wednesday came after the U.S. Defense Department voiced worries about the level of anticipated reductions. Fox has been directed by London's Conservative-Liberal Democrat government to reduce military spending as much as 20 percent, the New York Times reported.

Amid widespread budget tightening, Liberal Democrats have called for reconsideration of a $30 billion plan to modernize the nation's ballistic missile submarines by replacing all four Vanguard-class vessels.

Gates was reported to have said Washington would like the United Kingdom to maintain its nuclear arsenal, as he did not want the United States to have "sole responsibility" for ensuring extended nuclear deterrence to NATO members (Agence France-Presse/Google News, Sept. 23).

September 24, 2010
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British Defense Secretary Liam Fox promised his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, that the United Kingdom would retain its nuclear deterrent even as the country is expected to pursue severe military budget reductions, Agence France-Presse reported today (see GSN, Sept. 23).