A UNIVERSITY professor has claimed the Royal Navy could be at risk of having its resources drained to fund Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
Dr Jem Bendell, a former Portsmouth resident who is now a professor at the University of Cumbria, said naval power would need to be sacrificed to pay for Trident – something a former head of the navy has denied.
Dr Bendell, whose father was in in the navy, claimed this impact could be felt by Portsmouth.
‘Renewing Trident will not de facto keep us safe,’ said the sustainability leadership professor.
‘Conversely, it risks sacrificing the naval power that tomorrow’s security risks demand.’
He claimed the government should not put Trident at the ‘forefront’ of the nation’s future defence, but instead focus on a new ‘resurgent Royal Navy’.
Dr Bendell argued the multi-billion pound Trident scheme could lead to ‘cost overruns’ and ‘cuts to fleet and sailor numbers’.
‘Trident was forged by the Cold War thinking of the early 1980s, whereas the security threats of the 21st century have long been diverging from the geopolitics of Mutually Assured Destruction.
‘In truth, they demand a truly resurgent Royal Navy,’ he added.
However, the former head and ex-First Sea Lord of the navy, Lord Alan West, has refuted the claims, branding them ‘wrong’.
Lord West explained the pot of money to pay for Trident was ring-fenced and did not directly affect the navy’s budget.
‘Trident is not sucking money from the rest of the navy,’ he said.
‘He (Dr Bendell) is wrong. It’s a different pot of money altogether.
‘The treasury has organised it so that any money not spent on Trident would go back into a central pot.’
He continued by saying the current funding for the nuclear deterrent was nothing like the 1982 fiasco, which resulted in the navy having to axe 25 of its ships.
Lord West added the main issue, when looking at Trident, was the lack of nuclear engineers to operate the submarines.
‘That’s a standing problem that the Royal Navy faces,’ he explained.