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Scotland - Security Policy

Scotland is located in one of the safest and least threatened parts of Europe. Scotland will have its own defense forces to protect Scotland and its seas. The present Scottish Government is committed to NATO membership. Scotland will also be more financially secure. The lessons from the financial crisis are being learned and across the world new rules are being put in place to reduce and where possible remove the risks that led to the crisis of 2008. An independent Scotland will also have one of the best safety nets for the future with offshore energy reserves providing a guarantee that can protect Scotland in hard times.

While the UK seeks an ability to project global power, an independent Scotland can choose a different approach. Scotland would direct international efforts, first and foremost, into deepening and consolidating relationships with friends and partners, new and old, across the world and, through this, expanding opportunities for people and businesses in Scotland. Bywords would be co-operation, development and trade. Clear priorities will be commerce and partnership, not conflict. Scotland will be a champion for international justice and peace.

Improving the way defense is delivered in and for Scotland is one of the most pressing reasons for independence. For decades Scotland has been part of a Westminster system that has sought to project global power, giving Britain the capacity to engage in overseas military interventions and to deploy nuclear weapons. Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians.

The Scottish Government believes that these key roles for Scotland defence forces, working closely with partners and other parts of government, should be considered in depth in the security review:

  • securing Scotlandís borders, land, airspace and sea, deterring attacks and protecting citizens and assets from threat
  • protecting Scotlandís national interests and economic wellbeing, alongside the key values and underlying principles that support Scottish society and our way of life. This task would include supporting other parts of government, for example in natural disasters or other emergencies
  • contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democratic values, international peace and security, building on Scotlandís national interests by being a progressive voice in the world

Priorities for action Scotlandís defense and security policy will be a key part of wider international policy, protecting Scotlandís interests through a strategic approach to national security, and providing military capability to defend Scotland's national interest.

Scotland will be an active and committed participant in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EUís external policies support stability, promote human rights and democracy, seek to spread prosperity, and support the enforcement of the rule of law and good governance, complementing the foreign policy efforts of individual states. Scotland would benefit from this Europe-wide approach which is broadly aligned with Scotlandís values.

The Scottish Government will ensure a strong conventional military presence on Scottish soil and in Scottish waters, but will ensure that nuclear weapons on the Clyde are removed. By removing nuclear weapons and maintaining defence forces appropriate to Scotland's circumstances, the country can save a substantial proportion of Scotlandís current defence contribution to the UK, while still having levels of defense spending that allow delivery of the capabilities needed and make a significant investment in procurement, supporting key Scottish industries including the shipbuilding industry.

Following a vote for independence, Scotland would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence.

The current Scottish Government identified five defense priorities for an independent Scotland:

  • maintaining the commitment to a budget for defence and security in an independent Scotland of £2.5 billion 15
  • securing the speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Scotland
  • building a focus on maritime capabilities, such as air and sea-based patrol, and specialist forces able to operate around our coasts, protecting Scotlandís maritime assets and contributing to collective security in the North Atlantic
  • progressively building to a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel following independence
  • reconfiguring the defence estate inherited at the point of independence to meet Scotlandís needs, including the transition of Faslane to a conventional naval base and joint headquarters of Scottish defence forces

Scotland would be prepared to negotiate arrangements for the continued use of defense infrastructure in Scotland by UK forces and vice versa, at least for a transitional period. Such arrangements could be carried forward into the longer term, where both the countries consider them the most effective means of delivering defence capabilities.

Scotland had in existing naval, army and air force bases the underpinning infrastructure we need to meet defense needs and regional defence responsibilities. Scotland also had sufficient expertise, built up over years of service and Scotlandís proud military tradition, with Scots who have served at all levels of Britainís armed forces and at senior levels in the Ministry of Defence and NATO.

An independent Scotland would have national security arrangements that reflect Scotlandís needs, values and the risks and threats we face, based on a full review of security requirements and a regular cycle of threat assessments. A new security and intelligence agency will have a range of responsibilities focused on intelligence-gathering, analysis and reporting, assessment of risk and threat, cyber security and protection of critical infrastructure. Although independent, it would work closely with Police Scotland.

Given the interest of both Scotland and the rest of the UK in our mutual security, the Scottish Government will work closely with the current UK security and intelligence agencies both to ensure that there is a seamless, secure transition and for the continuing security of both countries.

Many countries around the world place constitutional controls on the use of military power. Scotlandís constitution would include a Ďtriple lockí on military deployments, based on the principles that military action would need to be:

  1. in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter
  2. properly agreed by the Scottish Government
  3. approved by the Scottish Parliament

This will not conflict with the right to act immediately and legitimately in self-defence in extraordinary circumstances, such as when attacked, as recognised in the UN Charter. This position is consistent with NATOís Article 5 commitment to collective defence.

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Page last modified: 22-10-2016 16:11:01 ZULU