The Defence Implications of Possible Scottish Independence - Defence Committee Contents

3  A Scottish defence force

SNP policy

23. The SNP Foreign, Security and Defence policy update provides a broad outline of its vision of the structure and purpose of the proposed Scottish armed forces:

    The Scottish armed forces will comprise 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel, operating under Joint Forces Headquarters based at Faslane, which will be Scotland's main conventional naval facility. All current bases will be retained to accommodate units, which will be organised into one regular and one reserve Multi Role Brigade (MRB). The air force will operate from Lossiemouth and Leuchars.

    Regular ground forces will include current Scottish raised and restored UK regiments, support units as well as Special Forces and Royal Marines, who will retain responsibility for offshore protection.

    The Scottish armed forces will be focused on territorial defence, aid to the civil power and also support for the international community. The Multi Role Brigade structure and interoperable air and sea assets will provide deployable capabilities for United Nations sanctioned missions and support of humanitarian, peacekeeping and peace-making 'Petersberg Tasks'.

    The Scottish defence and peacekeeping forces will initially be equipped with Scotland's share of current assets including ocean going vessels, fast jets for domestic air patrol duties, transport aircraft and helicopters as well as army vehicles, artillery and air defence systems. A Scottish defence industrial strategy and procurement plan will fill UK capability gaps in Scotland, addressing the lack of new frigates, conventional submarines and maritime patrol aircraft.[19]

24. The SNP proposes an annual defence and security budget of £2.5bn, which it states is "an annual increase of more than £500m on recent UK levels of defence spending in Scotland but nearly £1bn less than Scottish taxpayers currently contribute to UK defence spending".[20] According to the Scottish Government, this would constitute approximately 1.77% of Scottish GDP.[21]

The role of a Scottish defence force

25. In their paper published by RUSI, Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh posit the following role for a Scottish defence force:

    the internal security of Scotland, generally in support of the police, military assistance to the civilian community, and support in tasks given priority by the civilian authorities; defending Scottish territory, assets and possessions on land, at sea and in the air against intrusion, disruption and attack; maintaining Scotland's political, economic and cultural freedom of action, and generally protecting Scottish rights and interests; and the pursuit of Scotland's wider security interests and the fulfilment of regional and international defence obligations such as they exist.[22]

26. In his oral evidence, Stuart Crawford told us that the design of an independent Scotland's armed forces would, in part, be predicated upon whether a Scottish Government decided it wished to contribute ground troops to overseas operations—"whether they be in general conflict, whether they be peacekeeping operations, whether they be stabilisation organisations".[23] Professor Chalmers expressed the view that "a Scotland that did not face any land threats would not want to give an overwhelming priority to its ground forces, just because the Scottish-badged forces we have right now are there".[24] However, we note that the SNP plans include a commitment that "regular ground forces will include current Scottish raised and restored UK regiments" which suggests that a significant proportion of a Scottish defence force would be in the army.

27. We asked Keith Brown MSP how the combined complement of 15,000 and 5,000 reserve forces would be broken down by service. He declined to respond, but told us that as Scotland had a different set of needs from those that are currently served by the UK Government, the Scottish Government was taking some time to find out exactly what the configuration of a Scottish defence force should be. He explained:

    I have mentioned already that we have 800 islands and a large coastline. Obviously, we want to reflect that priority. Beyond that, the extent to which you need to have sustainable levels of forces for air forces and land forces would be reflected in that as well. We are talking to a number of people just now about exactly what that configuration should be, but that will be made clear in the White Paper.[25]

28. Mr Brown also told us that the Scottish Government was involved in discussions with a wide range of people in a number of different countries about what an independent Scotland's defence requirements would be. However, he complained that the ability to prescribe what would be required had been "inhibited by the lack of communication from the UK Government and a sensible pragmatic discussion. That means that it is more difficult to be prescriptive".[26] He continued:

    we have a clear idea of the kind of things we would like to see a Scottish armed forces do and some of the obligations it would have. So we have a fairly clear idea of that. Where we can be less clear is in the areas of collaboration and co-operation with the UK Government. That hampers us coming to a final conclusion on these things. But we are clear about the role that we would see for the armed forces and the obligations it would have, especially in relation to international treaties and so on.[27]

29. The SNP appears to envisage an independent Scotland which is outward looking, with a strong maritime focus given its geographic position. It would be keen to collaborate closely with northern European neighbours and expects to work with and through the UN, EU and NATO. Beyond that, however, we have found it very difficult to establish how the foreign and security policy of the SNP has informed its vision for a Scottish defence force. We have seen little evidence that the Scottish Government has reached any understanding with Northern European nations regarding military co-operation. Claims by the Scottish Government that its policy development has been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the UK Government seem to us to be somewhat overplayed.

30. We will look to the Scottish Government's forthcoming White Paper to provide additional information about its foreign and security policy and the role a Scottish defence force would be expected to fulfil.

A Scottish navy

31. The SNP policy update anticipates inheriting "Scotland's share of current assets", including ocean going vessels, and the establishment of a Scottish defence industrial strategy and procurement plan to address perceived capability gaps such as new frigates and conventional submarines.[28]


32. Asked about the likely surface fleet capabilities a Scottish navy would need, Keith Brown MSP was able to rule out the need for an aircraft carrier, but was more circumspect about providing specific requirements. He told us that the Scottish Government was looking at requirements in relation to "energy, international contribution and maritime patrol" and said that a Type 26 frigate, perhaps with a lower level of specification, "would be a possibility".[29] He continued:

    where we find we cannot agree with the UK Government, or the UK Government currently do not have the capability that we want, we will procure from elsewhere.[30]

33. In a speech in Shetland in July 2013, First Minister, Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, discussed Scotland's defence needs and priorities:

    At present what we have, we don't need. And what we need, we don't have. Our current naval capability is based on prestige, not performance. The navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland. The largest protection vessels stationed in Scottish waters are those of the fisheries protection vessels run by the Scottish government.

    It is absurd for a nation with a coastline longer than India's to have no major surface vessels. And it's obscene for a nation of five million people to host weapons of mass destruction. An independent Scotland would prioritise having the air and naval capability needed to monitor and secure our offshore territory and resources - our oil and gas resources, fisheries protection, and safeguarding our coastal waters.[31]


34. The UK is a solely nuclear submarine operator, and operates the nuclear power plants and much of its operational equipment on the basis of a longstanding bilateral relationship with the US. The SNP has stated that it has no wish to inherit or operate nuclear submarines. It has however stated that it wishes to have as part of its navy, conventionally powered submarines. We sought views from witnesses about the viability of this proposition.

35. Rear Admiral Alabaster told us that it would be unlikely to be cost-effective to create a conventional submarine building facility in Scotland and that "it would be more cost-effective to look elsewhere, either to the UK or indeed to some of the other European nations that currently build conventional submarines successfully".[32]

36. Professor Trevor Taylor of RUSI suggested that the cost of development and construction of just one submarine domestically would swallow up the entire Scottish defence equipment budget for a year or more.[33]

37. We note that the Royal Canadian Navy has experienced considerable problems and expense with its diesel-electric submarines.[34] The Royal Australian Navy has, meanwhile, embarked on an ambitious replacement programme planned for 12 boats of a new class at an approximate cost of Aus$1.4 - 3.0bn (£850M - £1.8bn) per boat, commencing delivery around 2025, but like the Canadians has also experienced significant cost growth and manning difficulties in sustaining its current submarine force.[35] We note also that Denmark decided to phase out its submarine service in 2004.[36]

38. In light of the evidence of the experience of other countries, we have serious doubts about the SNP's stated intention to acquire conventional submarines. This could only be achieved by procurement from abroad at considerable cost and risk.


39. There are strategic implications arising from the SNP's policy preference for Faslane to be Scotland's major naval base. Several commentators have expressed serious doubts about the wisdom of this policy given Faslane's distance from the North Sea centre of gravity and the practicalities of splitting the main operating base from the likely refit and maintenance base at Rosyth.

40. George Grant, in his report for the Henry Jackson Society, commented:

    Legitimate questions exist as to the strategic viability of placing the entire Scottish Navy in the southwest of the country, given that both its primary at-sea assets (the oil and gas rigs), as well as potential threats, are located almost entirely in the north and east.[37]

41. Dr Phillips O'Brien, Director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies, reached the view that in an independent Scotland, Faslane would have to be reduced to one-third of its present size (including hosting some army personnel as part of a joint facility), and a naval presence on the East Coast would be required to provide protection to the oil fields in the North Sea.[38]

42. Rear Admiral Alabaster told us that it would require a "substantial amount of work" to convert Faslane from its current configuration and that it would require "some new and more cost-effective facilities for a conventional naval base". For example, he pointed out that there is no dry dock at Faslane and that the cost of using and maintaining existing infrastructure, such as the shiplift, built to lift a 16,000 tonnes nuclear-armed submarine out of the water safely, would be very expensive.[39]

43. Asked whether a naval facility on the East coast, perhaps based at Rosyth might be a better choice for the headquarters of a Scottish navy, Rear Admiral Alabaster replied:

    You would have to do the sums quite carefully. The facilities at Faslane are better, but they are the wrong facilities. They are expensive. It would need some very detailed work to look at the options, but building a new facility at Rosyth would certainly be one worth looking at.[40]

44. Keith Brown MSP was asked about the numbers of personnel who would be based at Faslane under the Scottish Government's plans. Although he would not provide specific numbers, he replied:

    You can take from the fact that it will be a headquarters facility, and also the major naval base for Scotland, that it will be a matter of thousands of people servicing that facility.[41]

45. As yet, the Scottish Government has given only a preliminary indication of its plans for a Scottish navy. When it publishes more detailed requirements, it will be important to know the following:

  • What would be the size and configuration of its surface fleet and associated rotary wing force?
  • What personnel, vessels and helicopters would it hope to inherit from the Royal Navy?
  • What additional vessels would it procure?
  • How many submarines would it procure, and from where would they and the necessary qualified personnel be sourced?
  • What role, size and configuration would any Marine Infantry capability take? and
  • How many naval bases would a Scottish navy operate from, where would they be, and how many personnel would be expected to be based at each?

Finally, the Scottish Government should make clear in its White Paper the anticipated cost of acquiring, staffing, operating and maintaining these assets.

A Scottish army

46. In its policy update, the SNP provides a brief description of the ground forces which would make up a Scottish army:

Regular ground forces will include current Scottish raised and restored UK regiments, support units as well as Special Forces and Royal Marines, who will retain responsibility for offshore protection.[42]

47. The policy update also envisaged a Scottish army structured around "one regular and one reserve Multi Role Brigade". We note that the concept of a Multi Role Brigade was envisaged in the run-up to and including the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), but following further cuts in 2011 it was clear there would be insufficient resources to implement this structure. Keith Brown MSP told us that since the adoption by the SNP of its policy update, "the goalposts have completely shifted" in terms of UK army structures. He continued:

    The armed forces units that we would have would make sense on a logistical level—what we thought were suitable for our purposes as an independent Scotland—but as to how they would relate to the current number of UK armed forces, it is hard to tell because it changes so much.[43]

48. Keith Brown MSP confirmed that the Scottish Government intended to retain all current Scottish infantry battalions and to "reinstate Scottish regiments previously abolished". However, he told us that "given the numbers involved, that it would not be on the same scale as currently", suggesting that battalions would be smaller in size.[44]

49. Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defence, stated in a recent speech that the current complement of the Scottish "teeth" regiments - the five battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Scots Guards, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - is some 4,100 posts. If the King's Own Scottish Borderers when they were amalgamated with the Royal Scots - a further 550 posts - were added, this would comprise almost a third of the entire proposed Scottish defence force. This did not take account of the support functions; the "tail". The tooth to tail ratio in the British Army is approximately 1:2.[45]

50. The SNP also has a stated commitment to retain all current army bases in Scotland. Keith Brown MSP confirmed that the White Paper would include detail about this:

    We think that we are currently well served with the bases that we have, if you look at the capacity at Leuchars, for example, and some of the changes taking place there. If you look at the capacity at Redford barracks, which is being sold off in part, and elsewhere, that capacity exists just now. There is no guarantee that it will exist at the point of independence. You will understand that we have to wait until the White Paper to see exactly what we will do about those bases.[46]

51. The proposed retention and reinstatement of historic Scottish Regiments clearly has implications for the size and structure of a Scottish army. It is not apparent from the SNP's published plans which Scottish regiments "previously abolished" it intends to restore or how that could be achieved within the overall numbers of personnel proposed.

52. In light of the new British Army structures envisaged in the Army 2020 proposals, the Scottish Government should consider publishing a new plan for a Scottish army.

53. Questions which it might wish to address include:

  • What would be the size and structure of a Scottish army, including the envisaged balance of regular and reserve troops?
  • What would be the balance between combat (infantry and armoured), combat support (artillery, aviation and engineers), combat service support (logistics) and command support (communications) troops?
  • Which historic Scottish regiments would be reinstated?
  • Where would Scottish army units be based?
  • What equipment and infrastructure would a Scottish army expect to inherit from the British Army?
  • What would be the cost of recruitment, training and retention measures? and
  • How would a Scottish army attract and train the necessary specialist troops such as engineers, signallers and logistic personnel?

A Scottish air force

54. According to the SNP policy update a Scottish air force would operate from two air bases at Lossiemouth and Leuchars and would be equipped with "fast jets for domestic air patrol duties, transport aircraft and helicopters" and Scotland would procure maritime patrol aircraft.[47]


55. We explored with witnesses what type of aircraft might prove suitable for the air defence of an independent Scotland. In his proposal for a Scottish air force, Stuart Crawford suggested that the RAF's Hawk advanced trainer aircraft might prove sufficient for the purpose. He told us:

    It is an option for a small nation with a limited budget to equip its air force with. The attraction is that it is, of course, dual-role as an advanced trainer, so it covers that as well. It does have a limited operational capability. It is a significant part of the RAF's current inventory, which also makes it attractive, in that a share could be negotiated. I only offered it up as an alternative to going for something much more sophisticated and much more expensive.[48]

56. Air Marshal McNicoll gave us his assessment of the suitability of the Hawk:

    On the air defence side and the suggestion that Hawk might be able to fulfil the need, my personal view is that it could not possibly. The Hawk is a great training aircraft—a fantastic aircraft in many ways—but the idea that it could cope with the defence of what would be the Scottish air defence region is, I think, completely unrealistic. It does not have the radar capability to do so, nor would it have the speed to catch up with something that was travelling quickly. So I do not see that as a starter.[49]

57. Asked whether Typhoons were the preferred option of the Scottish Government, Keith Brown MSP replied:

    I do not want to prejudice what the White Paper says, but I think the Typhoons would be beyond the requirements of an independent Scotland. Obviously, we have contributed substantially to their cost, but there may be more suitable ways for us to provide air cover.[50]

58. In relation to the Hawk aircraft, Mr Brown told us that there "could very well be a role for them", for example, for training, but he accepted that they would not be suitable for air intercepts.[51] He concluded that while Typhoons may be one possibility, "there are many others internationally for us to try and see whether we can use"[52].

59. We asked Air Marshal McNicoll how many fast jets a Scottish air force would need in order to function effectively:

    You could discuss at great length whether one squadron or two squadrons might be sufficient, but you would be heading towards 15 to 30 aircraft perhaps; that sort of nature. That is total fleet size, of course. Some of them would have to be held in reserve—as attrition reserve—and some would be undergoing depth maintenance, so the total number of aircraft you have is not necessarily the total number that you have available on the front line to fly day to day. If you were to keep people current but also maintain a quick reaction alert, a squadron would be pushed to cope with that.[53]

60. Air Marshal McNicoll noted that a proportion of the RAF Typhoon force might be available to a Scottish air force, but he also gave us an assessment of other options which could fulfil the air defence function. He ruled out the F-35 joint strike fighter, suggesting instead the SAAB Gripen and F-18 Super Hornet. However, he cautioned that the purchase of these aircraft would not be possible with an annual budget of under £400m per annum.[54]

61. In 2009, the MoD announced that it would procure 40 Typhoon aircraft as part of the €9 billion production contract for a further 112 aircraft for the four partner nations: Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.[55] This represented approximately €80m (£70m/$112m) per aircraft. By comparison, a Saab Gripen costs $40-60m depending on the variant and the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet has an estimated unit cost of approximately $81m.[56] On the basis of these estimates, a fleet of 30 fast jets for a Scottish air force, as suggested by Air Marshal McNicoll, could cost between $1.2bn (£780m) and $2.6bn (£1.7bn) to procure.[57][58]

62. As an alternative, Professor Chalmers, RUSI, proposed a co-operative model for Scottish air defence, on the basis that Scotland became a member of NATO:

    I find it hard to imagine a situation in which an independent Scotland took sole responsibility for patrolling its own air space. Given its economic resources and the difficulty—the expense—of maintaining a high-level capability, some co-operative arrangement with NATO allies seems much more likely.[59]

He pointed to the example of the Baltic Air Patrol, in which other NATO Member States, and non-NATO states, help with air patrolling the air space of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.[60]


63. In our report on Future Maritime Surveillance,[61] we expressed our serious concerns about the capability gap in maritime surveillance in the absence of a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) following the decision in the 2010 SDSR to cancel the Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft programme. We therefore understand very well the desire of the Scottish Government to fill this gap in current capabilities.

64. We look forward to reading in the forthcoming White Paper the detailed proposals the Scottish Government has for the procurement and operation of a maritime patrol squadron and how this will be financed within the overall aspirations for Scottish defence capability.


65. In respect of Scottish Government plans for air bases, Keith Brown MSP told us that one air base would be sufficient for Scotland's needs.[62] This was a significant departure from previously agreed SNP policy which envisaged a Scottish air force operating from both Lossiemouth and Leuchars. Asked whether there was a preference between the two bases, he replied:

    Once again, there are different options available to us. I think you have to wait and see. For example, if you have an air base or an army base that has been used for a number of years, and then is no longer used, bringing it back into use presents different logistical challenges. [...] It makes an awful lot of sense to take decisions on some of the detail as close to the decision as possible, because then you understand what the actual position is in the UK.[63]

66. In view of the costs associated with acquiring different air defence aircraft from those the UK currently operates, we do not currently understand how the Scottish Government expects, within the available budget, to mount a credible air defence - let alone provide the additional transport, rotary wing and other support aircraft an air force would need. The Scottish Government will no doubt wish to set out a detailed explanation of this in its White Paper.

Associated costs

67. The SNP envisages an annual defence and security budget of £2.5bn, which it asserts is "an annual increase of more than £500m on recent UK levels of defence spending in Scotland but nearly £1bn less than Scottish taxpayers currently contribute to UK defence spending"[64]. Given the stated ambitions for a Scottish defence force, we asked our witnesses how realistic this figure was.

68. Professor Trevor Taylor told us:

    With a budget of that size and the economies of scale you get, it is difficult to imagine that they would have anything other than lightly armed ground forces, coastal patrols and perhaps vessels that could do something to protect the oil rigs ... The air domain would be very difficult, as would the communications domain—satellite communications, and that kind of thing. It would be a small country's coastal, local defence force. Currently, they are part of a big country's force that still runs a sizeable Air Force and still has an oceangoing Navy, which still has large naval vessels. For a new country, any one of those things would swallow up its money.[65]

69. Professor Malcolm Chalmers, writing in the RUSI Journal, set out some of the capital costs associated with the establishment of a Scottish army and a Scottish Ministry of Defence:

    The British Army has several thousand soldiers, based around a brigade headquarters, in Scotland. Yet the transport aircraft and helicopters needed to carry them around, the staff colleges needed to train them, the organisations that buy and maintain their weapons, and the strategic headquarters needed to command them are all in the rest of the United Kingdom. All of these functions would have to be newly created for Scotland to have a functioning national army. A new Scottish Ministry of Defence and military headquarters would need to be established and staffed in order to organise procurement, payroll and planning. New training and exercise facilities would be needed, and probably also some new bases.[66]

70. When he gave evidence to us, Keith Brown MSP gave an indication of the Scottish Government's approach to the budget available to establish a Scottish defence force:

    We have between £7 billion and £8 billion of assets. Scotland starts from that position, and not just a position of being able to spend the £2.5 billion, and that compares favourably with many other countries.[67]

71. Without receiving detailed answers to the questions posed elsewhere in this report, it would be unrealistic to expect us to judge the exact running costs of the proposed Scottish defence force. However, given the information we have so far received from the Scottish Government, we are unconvinced that there is sufficient funding to support both the proposed Scottish defence force and to procure new equipment.


72. According to its policy, SNP expects a Scottish defence force to inherit a proportionate, population based share of existing UK defence assets on separation: some £7-8 billion according to Keith Brown MSP. Its interests are focused primarily on bases, ocean going vessels, fast jets and other aircraft and vehicles. It has no interest in negotiating a share of the Royal Navy's fleet of nuclear submarines or the aircraft carriers.

73. Asked how an independent Scotland could afford to supplement the small number of fast jets it might inherit from the RAF, Mr Brown explained how he believed the negotiations regarding a division of assets might proceed:

    It is quite possible to say, "You would not have aircraft carriers. How would we reflect your share in relation to other aspects?" You can have that discussion. It would not necessarily be the case that it would be proportionate in relation to Typhoons, for example.[68]

74. Asked for his response to this, the Secretary of State explained how the Ministry of Defence would approach negotiations:

    The starting point would be an assumption of pro rata sharing and then there would obviously be a negotiation. When I made my speech in Scotland that I referred to earlier, I think we concluded that they would get 0.7 of an Astute submarine and 1.6 frigates and destroyers. There is clearly a technical problem and therefore there would have to be some negotiation about how assets were divided. It would be a mistake to assume that they could simply cherry-pick the asset register.[69]

75. Examination of the experience of the division of military assets between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, suggested to us that an appropriate starting point for the negotiation might well be a population based share of existing assets taking into account the location of fixed assets such as military bases.

76. We note that the process of negotiation on the division of military assets would not be one sided, and that the remainder of the UK would be likely to bring into the negotiations existing shared liabilities, such as decommissioning of nuclear submarines, and the additional costs it would incur by losing a proportion of the economies of scale it enjoys at present.


77. A Scottish defence force will, immediately upon formation, require access to training facilities and instruction for its new recruits, NCOs, officers and specialists such as engineers, medics, and other trades. This would present a significant challenge as the British Army, for example, does not presently depend on any schools in Scotland within its individual and collective training regime.

78. Beyond the training needs of new recruits, there would be significant costs associated with providing the career training for personnel on the equipment that a Scottish defence force had inherited or procured. For the Royal Navy and RAF, almost all of the career training is delivered south of the border on type specific training rigs and courses, which would either have to be replicated in Scotland or access negotiated. This would represent a major resource burden within a relatively small defence budget.

79. Another risk associated with separation is that those service personnel transferring from UK Armed Forces may not have the skill sets they require depending on the equipment acquired by Scottish forces. For example, what would happen if no Typhoon aircraft technicians wished to transfer to a Scottish air force which had inherited these aircraft, or if nuclear submariners wish to join a Scottish navy equipped only with conventional submarines or none at all?

80. In A' the Blue Bonnets, Crawford and Marsh suggested that the most significant training deficit a Scottish defence force would face would be the absence of an area for manoeuvring mechanised forces. They suggested that an arrangement to train the Scottish army's mechanised forces outside Scotland would be one solution perhaps with a reciprocal arrangement for access to other training opportunities in Scotland.[70]

81. In oral evidence, Stuart Crawford also pointed out that there are no officer training schools in Scotland and that in the model of a Scottish defence force he had prepared he had assumed that:

    until such time as an independent Scotland created and built its own resources, army officers would be sent to Sandhurst, for example, or similar European officer training colleges.[71]

82. The benefits of scale which can be achieved across the United Kingdom's armed forces would be lost to Scotland should it become independent. If new schools had to be established, and the trainers trained, the result would be that an independent Scotland would be forced to invest in new training infrastructure. Both the capital and running costs would bear heavily on the ability of Scotland's armed forces to train and deploy. The rUK would also face the impact of reduced advantages of scale in delivering these services to its own armed forces.

83. Keith Brown MSP told us that although Scotland could establish its own training facilities, another option would be to collaborate with rUK in order to access the training places required by Scottish armed forces. In relation to officer training places at Sandhurst, Dartmouth and Cranwell, Mr Brown considered that following dialogue with the UK Government it would be possible to secure places.[72]

84. However, the Secretary of State for Defence suggested that Scotland would have to join the queue of other nations who wish to access places at UK officer training academies and other training facilities. Mr Hammond told us:

I have no objection in principle to the idea of having overseas students on our terms, on a full cost-recovery basis, and capped and limited in such a way that it enhances the training experience for our own cadets rather than detracts from it.[73]

I certainly would not want to guarantee that we could make that number of places [200] available. We would want to manage this looking at the interests of the academy [Sandhurst] and of our own cadet training programme. Of course, there are military training opportunities available in other countries—other European and NATO countries—which also accept foreign students on their training courses.[74]

85. We consider it unlikely that the Ministry of Defence would make available sufficient training places for Scottish personnel at facilities such as Sandhurst, Dartmouth and Cranwell. The Scottish Government should therefore include in its White Paper an assessment of alternative options and cost estimates for delivery of this training.

Conclusion on a Scottish defence force

86. The SNP set out, in general terms, its vision for the role Scottish armed forces would be asked to perform. With the exception of its stance on nuclear weapons, the SNP appears to envisage a role which is broadly similar to that fulfilled currently by UK Armed Forces involving territorial defence, aid to the civil power and support for the international community through a commitment to contribute to international operations.

87. Before we can judge whether these ambitions could be met within a cost envelope of £2.5 billion per annum, we require more details from the Scottish Government in its White Paper about its plans for a Scottish defence force. In particular, the plans must establish a coherent model which reflects a realistic "tooth to tail" ratio of combat troops to the personnel required to supply and support them, and clarity over the training capacity to maintain the appropriate professional standards. It is also incumbent upon Scottish Ministers to set out how they propose to finance the equipment, vessels, aircraft and associated support services a Scottish defence force would require to deliver the objectives set for it.

19   SNP. Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Update, October 2012 Back

20   Ibid Back

21   Q 306 Back

22   RUSI. Whitehall Report, A' the Blue Bonnets: Defending an Independent Scotland, Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh, 15 October 2012. Available at:  Back

23   Q 42 Back

24   Q 41 Back

25   Q 279 Back

26   Q305 Back

27   Q 307 Back

28   SNP. Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Update, October 2012 Back

29   Qq 296-297 Back

30   Q 299 Back

31   Scottish Government News Release, First Minister sets out vision on defence, Speech, 25 July 2013,  Back

32   Q 152  Back

33   Q 229 Back

34   House of Commons Canada. Procurement of Canada's Victoria Class Submarines. Report of the Standing Committee on National Defense and Veterans Affairs,

Defense Industry Daily, Victoria Class Submarine Fleet Creating Canadian Controversies, Back

35   Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library Background Note, Australia's future submarines,  Back

36   Danish Naval History,  Back

37   In Scotland's Defence? An Assessment of SNP Defence Strategy. The Henry Jackson Society 2013 Back

38   Royal Society of Edinburgh,Enlightening the Constitutional Debate (Defence and International Relations), Edinburgh, 29 May 2013, Speaker Notes,  Back

39   Qq 164-165 Back

40   Q167 Back

41   Q 311 Back

42   SNP. Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Update, October 2012 Back

43   Q 285 Back

44   Q 332 Back

45   Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP. Stronger and Safer Together. Speech 14 March 2013 Back

46   Q 334 Back

47   SNP. Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Update, October 2012 Back

48   Q 55 Back

49   Q 179 Back

50   Q 318 Back

51   Qq 319-320 Back

52   Q 321 Back

53   Q 184 Back

54   Q 181 Back

55   Eurofighter Typhoon, 9 billion euro contract for 112 Eurofighter Typhoons signed, Back

56   U.S. Department of Defense (2012). Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 President's Budget Submission: Navy Justification Book Volume 1 Aircraft Procurement, Navy Budget Activities 1-4, Back

57   Higher figure assumes Scottish air force inherits 7 Eurofighter Typhoons from the RAF and requires to procure 23 additional aircraft. Back

58   Exchange rate: 1 British Pound = 1.54 US Dollars Back

59   Q 62 Back

60   Q 38 Back

61   Defence Committee, Future Maritime Surveillance, Fifth Report of Session 2012-13, HC 110  Back

62   Q 323 Back

63   Q 325 Back

64   SNP. Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Update, October 2012 Back

65   Q229 Back

66   Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Kingdom's End?, The RUSI Journal, 157:3, 6-11 Back

67   Q 326 Back

68   Q 327 Back

69   Q 387 Back

70   Royal United Services Institute, A' the Blue Bonnets, Whitehall Report 3-12, Back

71   Q 19 Back

72   Qq 282-284 Back

73   Q391 Back

74   Q394 Back

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Prepared 27 September 2013