The new First Sea Lord and his vision for the Royal Navy’s future

Tony Radakin was appointed First Sea Lord (1SL) and Chief of the Naval Staff in June 2019. He is seen as a reformer who is keen to accelerate change within the Royal Navy. Here we examine the issues he may face in his three-year tenure and what his priorities for the Naval Service may be.

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Deterrence theory and the Royal Navy

If there is one ubiquitous military strategy, it’s deterrence. Deterrence is usually spoken of in the context of nuclear weapons. It stirs up old Cold War images of the Cuban Missile Crisis and mutually assured destruction. Deterrence theory, however, is a well-established phenomenon within international relations theory that applies to all military action, not only nuclear weapons. For example, was the current situation in the Arabian Gulf caused by a failure to deter?

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Russian Kilo class submarine Krasnodar in the English Channel

Understanding and responding to the Russian naval threat

Russian naval activity is now at its highest levels since the Cold War. This threat posed to Britain and NATO is often counter-balanced by those who say that the Russian Navy is actually in decline, hampered by budget problems and shipyards struggling to deliver new vessels. With the head of the British Army publicly admitting this week that we are ill-matched to counter the Russian threat on land, it is also instructive to consider what threat they pose at sea.

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A maritime-centered defence strategy for Britain makes sense

With the fight against the Taliban drawing to a close in Afghanistan for better or worse, those planning the future of UK defence will be at something of a crossroads prior to the 2015 Strategic Defence Review.

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