Cyber threat to Trident warning from University of Leicester expert

Posted by ap507 at Apr 15, 2016 03:09 PM |
Dr Andrew Futter briefs Top Level Group for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 15 April 2016

A University of Leicester expert on nuclear proliferation has briefed a group of senior politicians in Parliament on the cyber threat to Trident.

Dr Andrew Futter, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, presented to a panel that included the former Secretary-General of NATO, former UK Ambassador the UN, former Deputy Prime Minister, former First Sea Lord, former Defence Secretary, and the former head of the Defence Select Committee.

The academic was invited to make the presentation after group members had read a briefing paper on the topic by Dr Futter.

The Top Level Group (TLG) of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation is a cross-party group of senior British parliamentarians, chaired by former Foreign Secretary Dame Margaret Beckett MP, who share the belief that multilateral nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security are critical global issues ought to be addressed, as a priority, by governments worldwide.

Dr Futter, of the Department of Politics and International Relations, said:  “I was invited to brief the group on the growing cyber threat to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system, and to provide some context as to what and how it could be vulnerable to hackers seeking to disable these weapons or to cause a nuclear explosion.”

“The key message to the group was that UK nuclear weapons will never be entirely safe from cyber attack and we must act now to mitigate this growing challenge, but also that the threat is nuanced and varies considerably in implications. I also argued that the nuclear environment of the next 20-30 years when the next generation of submarines is likely to be deployed will be much more challenging and complex, and it remains unclear whether current UK nuclear posture will be able to meet this challenge.”

The Top Level Group is made up of almost all of the former British Foreign and Defence Secretaries over the last two decades, former Chiefs of the Defence Staff and prominent British diplomats who also served during the same period.

The members share the view of the need to work towards a world free from nuclear weapons. However, they believe that this is only achievable through multilateral and incremental steps which also maintain national and international security. The individual members of this group are experienced, high profile and highly influential in the political arena. In pooling the talents of these individuals, the TLG utilizes their combined skills, knowledge and experience to provide further political impetus for constructive and concrete policy outcomes in the UK, Europe and the US.

The Top Level Group encourages better quality of public discourse and understanding on these issues by participating in public and private events; tabling questions and participating in debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords; meeting with politicians, military figures and diplomats as well as key policy decision-makers from the UK, continental Europe, Russia and the US; and also coordinating activities with their counterparts across Europe, through the European Leadership Network.

More information on the group here: 


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact:

Dr Andrew Futter

Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Department of Politics & International Relations

University of Leicester


T: @andrewfutter


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