chapter  3
23 Pages

The British and French Factor

WithRobbin F. Laird

British and French nuclear forces are undergoing a significant modernization that will result in the deployment of more than 1,000 warheads. This chapter assesses the scope, nature, and significance of this modernization effort. The role of the British and French forces may well increase in the years ahead as the credibility of American extended deterrence declines. The British have relied on a special nuclear relationship with the United States to provide them with their nuclear forces. This relationship has been critical in shaping their current Trident acquisition program. The Trident acquisition has posed a serious challenge to British declaratory and employment doctrines. For Soviet policymakers and analysts, British and French nuclear modernization has become more significant. The growing interest the Soviets evidence in these modernization programs is largely due to the increasing capabilities of the British and French forces.