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Enlightening the Constitutional Debate - Defence and International Relations

Enlightening the Constitutional Debate - Defence and International Relations

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The seminar examined questions around how the UK’s role within NATO and on the UN Security Council might be affected by constitutional change, and whether Scotland could expect to retain a role within these organisations in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in the forthcoming referendum, and what its defence options might be. The seminar also examined how the UK’s position on the international stage might be affected by constitutional change, and what the implications of attempting to separate the Scottish military from the UK military might be. Questions about the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrence, given the SNP’s anti-nuclear policies, were also addressed.
The seminar examined questions around how the UK’s role within NATO and on the UN Security Council might be affected by constitutional change, and whether Scotland could expect to retain a role within these organisations in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in the forthcoming referendum, and what its defence options might be. The seminar also examined how the UK’s position on the international stage might be affected by constitutional change, and what the implications of attempting to separate the Scottish military from the UK military might be. Questions about the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrence, given the SNP’s anti-nuclear policies, were also addressed.

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Published by: The Royal Society of Edinburgh on Jun 20, 2013
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Enlightening theConstitutionalDebate
The third in a series of discussion events to enlighten thepublic debate on Scotland’s constitutional future.
Defence and Internaonal Relaons
29 May 2013 at the Royal Society of EdinburghIntroducon
This seminar examined quesons on how the UK’s role within NATO mightbe affected by constuonal change, and about the future of the UK’s nucleardeterrence, given the SNP’s an-nuclear policies. The seminar also discussedhow the UK’s posion on the internaonal stage might be affected byconstuonal change, and what the implicaons of separang the Scoshand UK armed forces might be. The laer half of the seminar addressedquesons from the audience.The subject of Defence & Internaonal Relaons was addressed by a panelof four expert speakers:• Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, Stuart Crawford Associates, former SNPdefence advisor• Dr Phillips O'Brien, Reader in Modern History and Convenor of the GlobalSecurity Network• Professor William Walker, Professor of Internaonal Relaons, University of St.Andrews• Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Former Secretary General of NATO and former Secretary of State for DefenceThe discussion was chaired by Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin, President of the Royal Brish Legion for Scotland.The seminar was conducted as an open, public discussion seminar. This report provides a summary of the posionsoutlined by the speakers, and of the subsequent discussion.
Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, Stuart CrawfordAssociates, former SNP defence advisor
Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford began by observingthat the queson around how an independent Scotlandmight organise its own armed forces has been central torecent debate on Scotland’s future. He suggested that inrecent years the focus of this queson has shied, sothat it is no longer about whether or not Scotland
could 
run its own armed services, but rather about whether it
should 
. In making this point, he suggested that there islile doubt that Scotland could, if it wished to, managean independent armed service.In addressing the queson of whether Scotland shouldseek an independent armed force, which would be aconsequences of a ‘Yes’ vote in the Referendum,Lieutenant Colonel Crawford began by defining whatthe wider funcons of a naon’s armed forces are.The three main tasks of any armed force, he suggested, are:• ensuring the survival of the state against internalenemies (for example insurrecon, non-democracuprising and terrorism) and providing disaster relief;• protecng the state against external aggression;• promong stability in regions where the state hasstrategic interests, for example through exchangetraining and diplomacy.He also pointed out that a naon’s armed forces may bedeployed in voluntary ventures being undertaken by theUN or by NATO.
 
When considering what an independent Scosh defenceforce might look like, Lieutenant Colonel Crawford observedthat a convenient suggeson is that Scotland would havearmed forces around 10% the size of those the UK has atthe moment; or that Scotland’s armed forces would lookthe same as those of roughly equivalent countries, forexample Denmark or Norway; or that Scotland wouldhave a defence budget equivalently proporonal to itsGDP as the current average for EU countries. Whilethese suggesons make sense, or are at least cceptable,from the point of view of a straighorward size or GDPcomparison, this sort of approach actually tackles thequeson from the wrong direcon. A beer way toapproach the queson, he suggested, is to look at thelevel of risk faced by an independent Scotland. This canbe achieved by asking the following quesons:
WhatmightScotlandhave,whichothersmightwanttoaack? 
What would Scotland need (in terms of military resource)to protect this? 
What would this cost? 
There are no clear predicons about what an independentScotland’s foreign policy might be, but Lieutenant ColonelCrawford hypothesised that the focus of an independentScotland’s armed forces would be regional and not global,and that this focus would be primarily on defence; althoughan independent Scotland would have the opon of contribung to allied engagements overseas, if it wished to.On the queson of what an independent Scotland wouldwant to protect, he suggested that the main focus would beon territorial integrity, oil and gas revenues and fishinggrounds. He observed that Scotland is not at high risk fromconvenonal military aack, but that a more likely risk isfrom elements such as cyber warfare, terrorism andorganised crime. Taking these interests into consideraon,he suggested a model for what an independent Scotlandmight
need 
in order to best protect its naonal securityand assets from likely threats. This is as opposed to a modelof what Scotland might
want 
in terms of defence structure.Lieutenant Colonel Crawford suggested that Scotland wouldneed something like 60 aircra, 20 to 25 ships and two armybrigades, one deployable and one for reinforcement andhome dues, amounng to between 13,000 and 17,000armed forces personnel across all three services. He sug-gested that an independent Scotland would be very unlikelyto need the sort of hardware used by the UK military, forexample aircra carriers. On the queson of how theseforces might be raised and equipped, he suggested thatmuch of this could be taken from Scotland’s share of UKforces, and indicated that horse-trading might be requiredto facilitate this, including Scotland taking cash in lieu of assets, such as Trident, where appropriate.Lieutenant Colonel Crawford esmated that the cost of themodel proposed would be around £1.84 billion per annum,which is around 1.3% of Scotland’s GDP. This comparesfavourably with the Scosh defence expenditure of £3.3 billion in 2010/11, and the SNP’s recently declareddefence budget of £2.5 billion per annum.Summing up, Lieutenant Colonel Crawford suggestedthat there are three quesons to ask when consideringthe potenal for an independent Scosh armed force:
Is it necessary? • Is it feasible? • Is it affordable? 
On the basis of the model he had proposed, LieutenantColonel Crawford declared that we can answer ‘Yes’ to allthree of these quesons. The evidence, therefore, is thatScotland
could 
have an independent armed force if itwanted to; the queson which remains to be answeredis whether this is an opon that Scotland
should 
pursue.
Dr Phillips O'Brien, Reader in Modern History, Universityof Glasgow, and Convenor of the Global Security Network
Following on from Lieutenant Colonel Crawford, DrPhillips O’Brien referred to the nature of the debatearound Scotland’s constuonal future, and conducteda brief analysis of what the big issues to feature in thisdebate have so far been. He observed that the quesonof defence has been one of the largest issues to featureso far and that, under the heading of defence, the largestqueson has been around the Faslane nuclear base andwhat would happen to this base in the event of Scoshindependence. Dr O’Brien pointed out that Faslane iscurrently one of the largest employers in the west of Scotland, accounng for around 6.5 thousand Scosh jobs, with current plans to see this rise to eight thousand.The SNP has expressed a desire to maintain all of the jobsat this base; however, Dr O’Brien pointed out that theCampaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has a loud voicein the independence debate and will want an independentScotland to commit to removing all nuclear weapons andbases from Scotland. Dr O’Brien suggested that this mayprove problemac for the SNP if Scotland does becomeindependent.HepointedoutthattheissueofanindependentScotland’s relaonship with NATO is also a large one,especially now that the SNP has declared a change in policyandisnowcommiedtoScotlandbecomingamemberofNATO.Following the quesons around Faslane and Scotland’srelaonship with NATO, Dr O’Brien suggested that the thirdbiggest queson under the defence heading has beenaround whether an independent Scotland would return tothe original Scosh regiment model, with a permanentregimental identy. Quesons that haven’t figured as highlyin the debate so far are quesons around what wouldhappen to Rosyth and other Scosh bases such as Invernessand Fort St George, or to the shipbuilding yards on the Clyde.
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In relaon to the big quesons, Dr O’Brien suggested thatmost of these are not debatable, but refer to issues(e.g. NATO and Faslane) where there is not actually muchto debate. On the issue of an independent Scotland’srelaonship with NATO, for example, Dr O’Brien suggestedthat Scotland has to be a member of NATO because therest of the EU member states would make Scosh EUmembership extremely difficult if Scotland was not amember of NATO. Walking away from NATO, he suggested,would damage Scotland’s negoang posion on EUmembership. On the queson of Scosh regiments, heargued that this is not a model that Scotland can returnto, and that to do so would make no sense. This is not,therefore, a realisc issue for debate. On the big quesonof what would happen to Faslane in an independentScotland, Dr O’Brien stated that Faslane simply couldnot be expected to connue at its current size in anindependent Scotland. By trying to consider and debatethese issues, he suggested, the SNP is posing quesonsthat are too polically difficult. On this basis, he proposedto address the queson of what a polically feasible policyfor the ‘Yes’ campaign would be, and what issues wouldlead to useful and worthwhile debate.Dr O’Brien proposed starng with the queson of money,and suggested that the defence budget of £2.5 billionproposed by the SNP is a mistaken figure, because it is eithertoo much, or too lile. Elucidang the point, he observedthat this figure represents a much higher sum than Scotlandactually needs for a feasible defence programme, but notnearly enough to maintain the
status quo
. He suggested thatfor a lower figure of around £1.75 billion, Scotland would geta very reasonable defence structure. He proposed Denmarkas an excellent model for an independent Scotland. Denmarkhas two disnct facilies, one base for domesc patrols andanother to train units for deployment with NATO operaons.This model would be very operable within an independentScotland. Dr O’Brien suggested that an independent Scotlandwould have to place any domesc naval bases on the eastcoast, and observed that pung an enre Scosh navy atFaslane would be a derelicon of duty, because it wouldleave the east coast very exposed. A reserve base could belocated at Faslane.Dr O’Brien pointed out that the remaining ‘big queson’is around the size of an independent Scotland’s air force.He suggested that this is a very debatable issue because theair force is a ‘big cket’ item. Dr O’Brien suggested thatScotland would only need one air base, which could belocated at Lossiemouth or Leuchars. He esmated that hisproposed defence model would come in at around £1.75billion, as opposed to the £2.5 billion proposed by the SNP.He suggested that the SNP, instead of arguing that Scotlandwould require a military that would cost £2.5 billion, shouldaccept one that would cost £1.75 billion, but should placethe difference between these two figures in a TransionFund. Scotland would inevitably lose defence jobs if itbecame independent, so there would be a need tocreavely address this issue. A Transion Fund could be usedto manage the change. Dr O’Brien also suggested that in anindependent Scotland, Glasgow would lose out to Edinburghon the locaon of defence bases and the associated jobs.This would also require creave management. The SNPshould accept smaller defence facilies, but should use themoney saved to manage the transion to fewer defence jobsin Scotland, especially on the west coast.
Professor William Walker, Professor of InternaonalRelaons, University of St Andrews
Professor Walker focused on the queson of Trident, whichhe observed to be central to the debate about Scotland’sconstuonal future. He undertook an analysis of theTrident replacement policy developed under the LabourGovernment, and the credibility of this policy in the currentpolical and economic environment. Professor Walkersuggested that the replacement policy is no longer assecure as it once was, and that this is not just becauseof the possibility of Scosh independence. The originalreplacement policy was for a fleet of four submarinescarrying Trident missiles, of which one would constantlybe at sea; the intenon being the new system would be fullyimplemented during the 2020s. Professor Walker pointedout that this target is based upon an assumpon that the UKcan afford a like-for-like replacement of Trident. Thisassumpon dates back to a pre-2007 climate in which it wasnot ancipated that there would be a shi from high publicexpenditure to austerity, or that the current Chancellor of the Exchequer would require that the costs for Trident’sreplacement be met enrely out of the UK Defence Budget.Neither was it ancipated that Trident would consume morethan a quarter of the UK Procurement Budget, nor that theSNP would call a referendum on independence, nor thatTrident’s evicon from Scotland would be promised to theScosh people as part of an independence package. Inconsideraon of these unancipated changes that haveaffected the polical and economic landscape of the UK sincethe Trident replacement policy was first framed, ProfessorWalker asked why this policy has not been suitably revised.Answering this queson, he suggested that any big spendingon Trident’s replacement will not need to take place unl2016, so any debate about this policy and its feasibility canbe delayed unl aer the next UK general elecon. Heobserved that Trident is something of a ‘sacred cow’ of theConservave Government, and added that the UKGovernment is observing a policy of not pre-negoang,or conngency planning, on the queson of Scotland’sconstuonal future. In spite of this, he asserted that theTrident replacement policy will need to be revised.On the basis of the stated need for a revised Tridentreplacement policy, Professor Walker turned his aenonto the available opons. He raised the opon of the UKadopng a different nuclear deterrence system, for examplethe use of cruise missiles, but observed that this opon has
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