Lancaster Professor provides expert evidence on security in North Atlantic

Professor Basil Germond

Evidence provided by Basil Germond, Professor of International Security at Lancaster University, is cited in a new report by the Scottish Affairs Committee examining the shifting picture in the North Atlantic and calling on the Government to re-assess its defence presence in Scotland and the High North.

Professor Germond, who is quoted 11 times in the report, is an expert in maritime security and geopolitics. He is Co-Director of the University research institute Security Lancaster, which advances interdisciplinary research on security and provides socio-technical solutions to address multi-faceted threats in a rapidly changing world.

The Committee’s report stresses that the North Atlantic and High North are key to the defence of the UK’s interests.

In particular, ‘the combined effects of increasing Russian belligerence, growing Chinese interest in Arctic politics, and the opening of new Arctic Sea trade routes’ means that the waters north of Scotland are critical in terms of economic security and defence.

Accordingly, the Committee calls on the Government to clarify how it intends to increase its force posture in the region.

The Report also highlights several of Professor Germond’s arguments, in particular the ‘strategic acceleration’ in the High North that results from the combined effects of climate change and Russia's rogue behaviour.

The Committee also noted Professor Germond’s recommendation that the UK shall become a ‘net provider of security in the High North … to reassure allies of the UK’s commitment to the defence of NATO’s northern flank’, and that the Government shall invest in the Royal Navy's ability to operate in extreme cold weather conditions.

Professor Germond made similar recommendations during the consultation process leading to the publication of a refreshed Defence Command Paper by the MoD in July that also highlights the importance of a presence in the High North to support allies, protect infrastructures and guarantee freedom of navigation.

On a similar topic, Professor Germond recently gave oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Sub-Committee on Polar Research (House of Commons) regarding the impacts of increased geopolitical tensions with Russia on science cooperation and sustainability in the Arctic. He explained: “Polar research is still a priority of the UK and our allies, but it is now subordinated to defence and security considerations, interests, and objectives.”

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