Vital interests justifying nuclear attack

Julian Todd made this Freedom of Information request to Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn.

Dear Ministry of Defence,

In reference to the "UK nuclear deterrence" policy in which point 3 of the 5 main principles states:

* "we do not define what we consider to be our vital interests"

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/m...

This is an unfortunate term because I do not know what the definition of "we" is. It is also all too easy to suspect that the determination of a vital interest is going to be made up on the fly as a matter of convenience during a crisis.

Please can you disclose as much as possible of the following information:

1) Does there exist an up-to-date confidential document that contains an itemized list of the set of "vital interests" that would cause the contemplation of the use of nuclear weapons?

2) Which people have authorized access to know the set of "vital interests"?

3) What is the process for amending this set of "vital interests"?

4) Who has the authority to determine that a specific threat actually matches a member of the set of "vital interests"?

A small matter of a peculiar statement later in the document.

* "The UK has ***probably*** the smallest nuclear arsenal of the 5 states recognised as nuclear weapons states under the NPT."

Really? You don't know if it is or it isn't the smallest nuclear arsenal of only 5 countries?

I would send an email directly to the person who maintains that policy page for clarification, but there isn't a contact address. Perhaps you could tell me who is responsible for that statement.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

CBRN Pol-Det Pol1 (Smith, Mark C1), Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr. Todd,

 

 

Please find attached a response to your recent request.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Dr. M. Smith

Dear Ministry of Defence,

I am writing to ask for an internal review of the handling of my FOI request of 9 January concerning a satisfactory definition of the word "We" within the UK nuclear deterrence policy documents, as none of the four points has been responded to within the time period allotted.

Please pass on my gratitude to Dr M Smith of the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Policy branch for his reply to a supplementary query that I included at the end of my request.

I am surprised that he considers that a 2008 statement by the previous president of France of his post-reduction target for a stockpile of "fewer than 300 nuclear warheads", and the release of no official figures from Chinese government of its weapons stockpile is an adequate basis on which to claim that the UK has "probably the smallest nuclear arsenal" of the five nuclear weapons states.

According to my calculations on the best available information, the figures for Britain, China and France can be considered to be within the margin of error the same. It is not unlikely for the policy-makers within each of these nations who need a number that sounds threatening but is not too high would all independently pick the same value. There is no evidence that the policy-making on this matter is undertaken at a more sophisticated and analytical level.

It would be helpful, therefore, if the webpage I referred to[1] was corrected to say: "The UK has about the same size nuclear arsenal as that of France and China" as it would no longer mislead the public into believing that we are relatively ahead with regards to our disarmament obligations.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/m...

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

CBRN Pol-Det Pol1 (Smith, Mark C1), Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

Dear Mr. Todd,

Thank you for your email. Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate department. We will respond to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. M. Smith

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

CBRN Pol-Det Pol1 (Smith, Mark C1), Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

Dear Mr. Todd,

I have now heard from CIO in the MOD, which deals with Freedom of Information (FOI)requests. As your request was transferred from being a FOI request to being a Treat Official letter, it is not possible to have an internal review, as this only applies to FOI requests, not Treat Official letters.

However, the advice I received informing me that your FOI request could be transferred to the status of a Treat Official was mistaken, for which I apologise. Your request will now be treated as an FOI request, and I will respond as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. M. Smith

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

CBRN Pol-Det Pol1 (Smith, Mark C1), Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr. Todd,

 

Please find attached a response to your recent FOI request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Dr. M.Smith

 

 

 

Dr. Mark Smith, CBRN Pol - Det Pol 1, 4-A-13, Ministry of Defence, Main
Building, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB.

Tel: +44(0)207 218 3280

Fax: +44(0)207 218 2432

 

Gadawodd Julian Todd anodiad ()

Restatement of request is here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/k...