Resolution to SNP Conference: Foreign, Security
and Defence Policy Update
The Foreign, Security and Defence policy of Scotland
should be determined by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament
and always reflect the priorities of people living in Scotland.
An independent Scotland will be an outward-looking
nation which is open, fair and tolerant, contributing to peace,
justice and equality. By mobilising our assets and the goodwill
and recognition that Scotland enjoys in the world, we will provide
sustainable access to natural resources to tackle need and prevent
insecurity in the world for this and future generations.
The SNP reiterates its commitment to non-nuclear
defence, international law, the United Nations and supporting
multilateral solutions to regional and global challenges.
While conventional military threats to Scotland are
low, it is important to maintain appropriate security and defence
arrangements and capabilities. This includes a cyber security
and intelligence infrastructure to deal with new threats and protect
key national economic and social infrastructure.
Scotland is a maritime nation with more than 11,000
miles of coastline, including nearly 800 islands, critical under-sea
and offshore infrastructure and an area of responsibility extending
far into the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The SNP recognises
our national responsibilities as a northern European nation to
work with our neighbours to fulfil current defence and security
responsibilities and improve collective regional arrangements.
Environmental changes to the High North and Arctic Region raise
major regional challenges and responsibilities which Scotland
Scotland will require military capabilities to fulfil
these responsibilities. These will be provided by the Scottish
defence and peacekeeping services which will be answerable to
the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. An independent
Scottish government led by the SNP will commit to an annual defence
and security budget of £2.5bn, 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.
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
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
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.
Joint procurement will be pursued with the rest of
the UK and other allies as well as shared conventional basing,
training and logistics arrangements, fulfilling shared priorities
in 'Smart Defence'. This includes sharing conventional military
capabilities, setting priorities and better coordinating efforts
providing economic synergies, job stability and taxpayer value
A long-standing national consensus has existed that
Scotland should not host nuclear weapons and a sovereign SNP government
will negotiate the speediest safe transition of the nuclear fleet
from Faslane which will be replaced by conventional naval forces.
Security cooperation in our region functions primarily
through NATO, which is regarded as the keystone defence organisation
by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom. The SNP wishes
Scotland to fulfil its responsibilities to neighbours and allies.
On independence Scotland will inherit its treaty obligations with
NATO. An SNP government will maintain NATO membership subject
to an agreement that Scotland will not host nuclear weapons and
NATO takes all possible steps to bring about nuclear disarmament
as required by the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of which all
its members are signatories, and further that NATO continues to
respect the right of members to only take part in UN-sanctioned
operations. In the absence of such an agreement, Scotland will
work with NATO as a member of the Partnership for Peace programme
like Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland. Scotland will be a
full member of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of
the European Union and the Organisation for Cooperation and Security
in Europe (OSCE).