New publications explore the UK’s relationship with nuclear weapons

A new report and book give timely insights

The United Kingdom and Nuclear Weapons book coverAs the UK Government made its long-awaited decision on the renewal of its nuclear deterrent, a Leicester expert in international politics published a new book that examines some of the issues surrounding the UK’s relationship with nuclear weapons.

Dr Andrew Futter, who is the editor of The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons, is also the author of Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons: New Questions for Command and Control, Security and Strategy, a report into the impact of cyber technologies on the management of nuclear weapons published by the Royal United Services Institute think tank.

In 2016, the United Kingdom had to decide on whether to go ahead and build the next generation of nuclear submarines that will allow the UK to remain in the nuclear business well into the second half of this century. The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons presents the political, cultural, technical, and strategic aspects of Trident to provide a thoughtful overview of the UK’s complex relationship with nuclear weapons.

The authors, both scholars and practitioners, bring together diverse perspectives on the issue, discussing the importance of UK nuclear history as well as the political, legal, and diplomatic aspects of UK nuclear weapons—internationally and domestically. Also addressed are the new technical, military, and strategic challenges to the UK nuclear thinking and strategy.

The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons is published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons unpacks and demystifies the cyber challenge to nuclear weapons. It begins by clarifying what is meant by the term ‘cyber’ before going on to explain how and in what ways nuclear weapons systems might be vulnerable to cyber threats.

It examines the different challenges posed by hackers, ranging from espionage and threats to systems and information security, through to sabotage and the risk of interference, destruction or even unauthorised nuclear use, and the implications of the cyber challenge for strategic stability and crisis management, nuclear strategy and the logic of seeking to deter cyber-attacks with nuclear weapons.

Dr Futter, from our Department of Politics and International Relations, said: “The emerging nexus between nuclear weapons and cyber threats seems set to become on of the key dynamics of the 21st century for the UK and all nuclear-armed states.”

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