Maintaining the 'Moscow Criterion': British Strategic Nuclear Targeting 1974-1979

Kristan Stoddart

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12 Citations (SciVal)


The purpose of this article is to analyse British strategic nuclear targeting between 1974 and 1979, prior to the successful completion of the sophisticated modification to Polaris codenamed Chevaline. It will use as its starting point the parameters for UK strategic nuclear targeting, and the foundation of the Moscow Criterion, prior to the deployment of Britain's Polaris submarines in 1968. It will then discuss the recommendation by the Chiefs of Staff to retarget Polaris in 1975/6 and the implications of that recommendation in terms of the British approach to strategic nuclear deterrence. The article will conclude with an assessment of these retargeting decisions on the decision to replace Polaris with the US Trident system in 1980.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-924
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Chevaline
  • Nuclear
  • Targeting


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