Accession Number:



Scotland's Potential Independence: Defense Implications for Britain, NATO, and the United States

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


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The significance of an independent Scotland would reach far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom UK. Although the first Scottish independence referendum did not pass in September 2014, it raised some important questions that could affect the security of Europe and North America. The June 2016 Brexit vote calling for the UKs withdrawal from the European Union has fueled speculation about a second possible referendum on Scottish independence, owing to the fact that a majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU. This thesis examines the potential consequences of an independent Scotland through the lessons learned from Scotlands 2014 referendum and analysis by scholars in international relations and strategic studies. These possible consequences could include the weakening of the UKs defense posture, the UKs possible abandonment of its nuclear weapons, and uncertain prospects for a Scottish application to join NATO. The ramifications could be substantial for the security policies of the United Kingdom, the United States, and NATO as a whole.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]