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Senior US officer visits Faslane to learn about the UK’s nuclear deterrent

26 January 2024
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General Anthony Cotton, Commander US Strategic Command, has visited the United Kingdom to familiarize himself with Britain’s nuclear deterrent and to reflect the strength of the UK-US nuclear partnership.

General Cotton is the Commander, United States Strategic Command and is based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska where he is responsible for one of 11 Unified Commands under the United States Department of Defense.
 
He was welcomed to HM Naval Base Clyde, the home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service on Friday, January 26, where he joined key officials in the Ministry of Defence and Submarine Delivery Agency.
 
Before travelling to Scotland and HMNB Clyde, the US General met with Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff in London.

“I welcome General Cotton to the United Kingdom to see the extraordinary national endeavour that is underway to ready our nuclear enterprise for the challenges of a more contested world. Russia’s renewed aggression has reinforced the fundamental importance of nuclear deterrence to our collective security.” Said Admiral Radakin

“We should be proud of the role the UK-US nuclear partnership has played as a stabilising force in global affairs for the past 65 years. No two other nations in the world are prepared to cooperate so comprehensively over such sovereign and supreme strategic capabilities. With production of both the Dreadnought and Columbia classes of submarine now well underway, the UK-US nuclear partnership will prove just as vital in the decades ahead. “

The US General was welcomed to the Naval Base by Director Submarines, Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, and while on site he was given a guided tour of the facilities at Clyde which support the nuclear enterprise. This included a visit to one of the five Astute-Class submarines based at Faslane.

In addition to his tour of HMNB Clyde, General Cotton also visited The Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long, which is responsible for the storage, processing, maintenance, and issue of key elements of the UK’s Trident Deterrent Missile System and the ammunitioning of all submarine-embarked weapons.

The UK’s nuclear enterprise is in the midst of a once-in-two generations renewal which includes the introduction of a new generation of ballistic missile submarines – the Dreadnought-Class - HMNB Clyde will be home to this new class of ballistic submarine which will share a Common Missile Compartment with the US Navy’s forthcoming Columbia-Class submarines.

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