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This study analyzes the domestic, political, economic, and bureaucratic factors that affect the nuclear policymaking process in Great Britain. Its major conclusion is that, although there have been changes in that process in recent years (notably the current involvement of a segment of the British public in the debate about the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear forces), future British nuclear policymaking will remain much what it has been in the past. Britain's long-standing resolve to have her own national nuclear force is largely traceable to her desire to maintain first-rank standing among the nations of the world in spite of her loss of empire. Financial considerations have always been important--so much so that they have usually dominated issues of nuclear policy. The executive branch of government, though not always united internally, dominates the nuclear policymaking process through the influence of secrecy, the civil service, and the two-party parliamentary system. The United States also heavily influences British nuclear policy through having supplied Britain since the late 1950s with nuclear data and components of nuclear weapon systems such as Polaris and, as currently planned, Trident.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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