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MPs to examine Scotland’s role in UK defence of the North Atlantic and Arctic amid rising geopolitical tensions

2 December 2022

In the third phase of its Defence in Scotland work, the Scottish Affairs Committee has today launched a new inquiry examining the North Atlantic and the High North.


Defence and security in the North Atlantic and the High North are important considerations for the UK and NATO, particularly in light of the current geopolitical climate following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has significantly increased its military activity in the Arctic, having set up a new Arctic Command and opening new and former military sites.

Military based in Scotland has an important role to play in contributing to security of this region, and in protecting important shipping routes and underwater infrastructure from its bases, such as HMNB Clyde and RAF Lossiemouth.

During this mini-inquiry, the Committee will be exploring these themes further and will identify what  the UK Government can do to further bolster North Atlantic and Arctic defence capabilities in Scotland. The Committee will be examining Scotland’s role in the UK Government’s Arctic Strategy, which was published in March 2022.

Scottish Affairs Committee Chair, Pete Wishart, said: 

“From the navy to the RAF, Scotland is the heart of the UK’s military capabilities. As the world is exposed to increased geopolitical tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the security of the North Atlantic and the surrounding countries has never been so important in modern times. The UK Government’s Arctic Strategy, published earlier this year, recognises this and outlines how the UK is operating in new ways to adapt to any threats. Our Committee will be examining the role that Scottish-based defence capabilities will play in this changing landscape, and how the Arctic Strategy is being delivered in Scotland.”

Terms of reference 

The Committee is inviting written submissions before Thursday 19 January. These should focus on, but not be limited to: 

  • What are the UK’s national security priorities in the North Atlantic and the High North?
  • What role do Scottish-based defence capabilities have in achieving defence and security objectives in the North Atlantic and the High North?
  • To what extent does the MoD’s Arctic strategy work to help achieve strategic defence objectives in the region?
  • Is the Arctic Strategy being delivered effectively in Scotland? For example, are Scottish bases sufficiently equipped to meet operational requirements?  

Further information

Image: MoD