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Will Scotland have its own army, navy and air force?

Yes. Scotland will have its own military forces – army, navy and air force. We are committed to an independent Scotland also sharing capability with other countries through membership of NATO and other defence co-operation agreements.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What size would defence forces be in an independent Scotland?

Decisions on the size of the armed forces in an independent Scotland will be made by the Parliament and Government of an independent Scotland. The current Scottish Government believes that armed forces should build to a total of 15,000 service personnel with a reserve of 5,000 over the first 10 years of independence.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What tasks will Scottish defence forces be expected to undertake?

Under the Scottish Government’s proposals, the main tasks for Scottish defence forces, working with other parts of government and its international partners, will be:

  • securing Scotland’s borders, land, airspace and sea, deterring attacks and protecting our citizens and assets from threat

  • protecting Scotland’s national interests and economic well being, alongside the key values and underlying principles that support Scottish society and our way of life. This task would include supporting other parts of government when necessary, for example in case of natural disasters or other national emergencies

  • contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democratic values, international peace and security and Scotland’s national interests as a good global citizen

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Wouldn’t an independent Scotland’s defence forces be less sophisticated than at present?

No. Independence will give Scotland the opportunity to develop specific defence capabilities that better meet Scotland’s needs and circumstances. In some areas that could mean developing capabilities that the UK currently does not have, such as maritime patrol aircraft. In other instances there are capabilities that the UK has now that Scotland would neither need nor want – such as nuclear weapons

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What army will an independent Scotland have?

The Scottish Government proposes that Scotland will have land forces incorporating infantry, light-armoured reconnaissance, and marine units, together with an army HQ function and supporting engineering, aviation, logistics and medical units. A special forces unit will also be established. Over time further capacity will be developed which can contribute to international operations.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What air force will an independent Scotland have?

Under the Scottish Government’s proposals, Scotland will have an air force that can monitor and protect Scotland’s airspace and provide transport and other support to its other armed services. Over time, capabilities will be developed that can contribute to international operations in partnership with its allies.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would an independent Scotland be able to maintain sophisticated air defence capabilities, as expected by NATO partners?

Yes. Other countries of a similar size to Scotland support capable fast jets for air defence. For example, all of the Nordic countries, plus others countries such as Belgium, maintain fast jets for air defence.

Scotland has fully contributed to the development of the UK’s air defence capability, which is embedded in wider NATO arrangements. Scotland will therefore inherit aspects of this resource as part of the post-referendum negotiation process. It will continue to be in the interests of the rest of the UK and an independent Scotland to work closely together on air defence, within NATO.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Where will Scotland’s air force be based?

Given that the transfer of Typhoons from Leuchars will have been largely completed before the referendum, Lossiemouth will continue to be a main operating base for fast jet aircraft and Scotland’s air policing capability. The Scottish Government will negotiate with Westminster to establish the joint facilities it would be in the interests of both countries to maintain there.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What navy will an independent Scotland have?

Scotland is a nation with strong interests in its maritime environment and will need capabilities to monitor and protect our maritime interests. Over time, Scotland will also be able to develop additional capabilities that will enable us to contribute to international operations in partnership with allies, as other small nations do.

We plan that initial capabilities, which we will negotiate from within Scotland’s share of defence assets, will include two Type 23 frigates. We will also seek to secure smaller offshore patrol vessels and a number of inshore fast patrol boats.

This Scottish Government will prioritise the procurement of four new frigates, preferably through joint procurement with the rest of the UK. Two of these will be ordered in the first parliamentary term of independence and when built will bring the number of frigates in the Scottish Navy to four (the two new frigates as well as the inherited Type 23s). The Scottish Government believes that is the appropriate number of frigates in the longer term, and will order the further two frigates in time to replace the Type 23s when they are retired from service.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What special forces will an independent Scotland have?

An independent Scotland could have special forces able to contribute fully to the maintenance of security. We aim to work closely with allies to maintain relevant capabilities. Scotland has a long tradition of contribution to the UK’s special forces on which to build and we can also see from the very capable forces developed by other small countries that it is entirely possible for countries of Scotland’s size to maintain the special forces that it requires. Norway is particularly notable for the high reputation of its special forces. It is our intention to have in place, as a priority and from the point of independence, a core special forces unit which will be built upon over time.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Where will Scottish defence forces be based?

This Government’s intention is that all of the main defence bases inherited at the point of independence will be retained as they will, following a transitional period, be needed by Scotland’s defence forces.

The current Scottish Government will also be open to discussion with the Westminster Government about continued arrangements for shared basing where that is in the joint interests of both countries.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What naval vessels will be based at Faslane in an independent Scotland?

We plan that Faslane will be an independent Scotland’s main conventional navy base, and will also be home to the HQ for the navy and the Joint Forces HQ for all of Scotland’s armed forces.

As a navy base, Faslane will be the main base for Scotland’s major naval vessels. This will be an improvement as no major surface ships are currently stationed in Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will the armament depot at Coulport remain?

Our commitment is to securing the earliest safe withdrawal of Trident from an independent Scotland. This includes the removal of all elements of the current system, including the missiles and warheads which are stored for the Vanguard submarine fleet at Coulport.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would an independent Scotland continue to allow Faslane to host non-nuclear armed Royal Navy submarines, such as the Astute and Trafalgar, which are nuclear-powered?

Our priority for Faslane will be to ensure the speediest and safest possible transition to its future as a conventional naval base serving the defence needs of an independent Scotland. This transition will require detailed discussion with the Government of the rest of the UK on a range of issues.

The Scottish Government strongly favours a conventional approach to Scotland’s defence, with Faslane being Scotland’s main conventional naval base. We do not see the continued basing of the Astute or Trafalgar fleets at Faslane, beyond the necessary transition period, to be in Scotland’s interests. The Westminster Government has signalled its intention to locate all of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet at a single base. The current proposal is for this to be HMNB Clyde. In the event of independence, it would be for the rest of the UK to decide whether to relocate its submarine fleet to the Royal Navy submarine base at HMNB Devonport or to another location.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will happen if the Westminster Government does not allow for the transfer of any of its armed forces personnel?

The detailed arrangements for the transfer of military posts and personnel to Scottish control will be subject to agreement between the Scottish and Westminster Governments. The Westminster Government has pledged to respect the result of the referendum and to work constructively with the Scottish Government, in the interests of the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK. That will include working constructively in the interests of armed forces personnel and their families.

It is in the interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK that the development and transition of both the rest of the UK armed forces and the Scottish armed forces happens smoothly.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would Scots personnel currently serving in UK forces be forced to join the Scottish armed forces?

No. The Scottish Government respects the service of current personnel and will take a responsible approach to the transfer of personnel to Scottish defence forces.

In the event of a vote for independence, the detailed arrangements for the transfer of military posts and personnel to Scottish control will be subject to agreement with the rest of the UK. In relation to the army, the Scottish Government’s starting point in those negotiations will be the transfer of those units mainly recruited in Scotland. We also believe that current personnel affected by these changes should be given a choice on the armed forces in which they wish to serve.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What about non-Scots currently serving in ‘Scottish units’?

We believe that serving personnel should have a choice over the armed forces in which they serve. The Scottish Government greatly respects all of those who serve in the armed forces and we demonstrate that commitment through the way we work to support armed forces communities in Scotland – work recognised as second to none in the UK. Just as individuals from many different nationalities serve in UK armed forces, so too would this Scottish Government welcome current UK service personnel into the future defence forces of an independent Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will a Scottish defence force be attractive to both current and potential future personnel?

Scotland has a fine and longstanding tradition of providing more than its proportionate share of personnel to the UK armed forces.

Given the uncertainty that Westminster is currently creating for its armed forces personnel, it is likely that many may choose the new opportunities that Scottish defence forces will bring. Indeed, smaller armed forces – with a range of niche capabilities such as those that an independent Scotland could offer – will provide better career opportunities than those available in a larger military that is in a process of contraction. That will be enhanced by the commitment that this Scottish Government has already made that service personnel should not face compulsory redundancy during the term of their service contract.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will the terms and conditions of Scotland’s armed forces be?

This Scottish Government intends to offer terms and conditions at least as good as those offered by the UK currently. In addition, the current Scottish Government, unlike Westminster, has made the commitment that no service personnel should be faced with compulsory redundancy during the term of their service contract.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will being independent protect Scottish defence jobs?

Currently just 7.5 per cent of UK-based MoD personnel – both military and civilian – are based in Scotland, which is less than Scotland’s 8.4 per cent share of the UK population. Over the first ten years of independence this Scottish Government proposes that numbers will rise from around 11,310 regular service personnel currently based in Scotland to 15,000.

In recent history, there has been a disproportionate reduction of defence jobs in Scotland – for example, the number of military and civilian MoD personnel in Scotland has dropped by around 38 per cent since 2000, compared with a fall of just 24 per cent across the UK.

While the fundamental basis for defence and security policy must be defence and security requirements, it is legitimate to maximise the economic impact of defence spending. With regard to defence procurement, recent figures confirm that, for procurement exempt from EU competition laws, Scotland benefits by considerably less than its population share. Between 2007/08 and 2011/12, Scotland received £3.17 billion out of £60 billion of these UK defence contracts. Had Scotland benefitted in line with its population share, it would have received approximately. £5.04 billion over the period. As a result, Scotland received approximately £1.9 billion less than its estimated population share.

The Scottish Government expects that the proportion of the budget allocated for procurement of single use military equipment will be at least equivalent to that currently allocated by the Westminster Government (14 per cent in 2012/13).

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will current MoD jobs be secure in an independent Scotland?

Yes. The MoD employs 15,340 people in Scotland (around 11,310 service and 4,020 civilian personnel). However, between 2000 and 2013 numbers employed by the MoD in Scotland have fallen disproportionately – by around 38 per cent, compared to just 24 per cent across the UK.

The MoD is currently failing to meet the commitment it made in 2011 to increase the military footprint in Scotland and successive Westminster governments have reduced the number of defence jobs in Scotland.

An independent Scotland will be better able to prioritise its defence capabilities, to secure jobs in Scotland and to ensure sustainable and appropriate defence spending levels.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will an independent Scotland support employment levels similar to those currently available at Faslane?

There are currently 6,700 military and civilian personnel at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, Faslane and Coulport. Retaining Faslane as a fully operational naval base, with the addition of a Joint Forces HQ, will sustain existing military personnel numbers at the base. Significant civilian posts will also be needed to support these operations and, there will be construction work required to reshape Faslane to the needs of conventional Scottish defence forces.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will there be Ministry of Defence civilian job losses in Scotland as a result of Scotland becoming independent?

No. The current Scottish Government proposes to work with the Westminster Government to preserve continuity of employment for all staff either by way of transfer to the Scottish Government or through continued employment with the Westminster Government.

The current Scottish Government has a strong record of valuing public services in Scotland and is operating a policy of no compulsory redundancies within the public sector for which it currently has devolved responsibility.

The Westminster Government has not made any similar commitment within its own areas of responsibility. Between 2000 and 2013 Scotland saw a disproportionate decline in the number of MoD civilian staff based here – down from 9,600 to 4,020. That represents a loss of just under 60 per cent.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.