Scotland, NATO, and transatlantic security

Colin Fleming, Carmen Gebhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the political and strategic implications of Scottish Independence for existing transatlantic security arrangements. It examines the potential institutional, legal and political obstacles Scotland might face during the transition to independence and discusses the specific challenges in the area of security and defence, including the nuclear issue and the question of what form an independent Scottish Defence Force (SDF) would need to take to allow and facilitate integration in transatlantic security structures. It argues that a number of strategic and political issues could be mitigated in the course of negotiations between Edinburgh and London. Moreover, Scotland's geostrategic position and political orientation make it an important prospective partner in international security cooperation across the Eastern Atlantic, High North and North Sea, which suggests that an advanced partnership with NATO, and eventually full membership, seems like an option that is both politically viable and more likely than any scenario that predicts seeing an independent Scotland (IS) outside these structures. This challenges some of the main strategic and security political arguments against independence and thus seeks to spark a debate about the realistic options for Scotland should it become independent after 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-325
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number3
Early online date22 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Scotland
  • Security
  • Independence


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