Robert Green

Commander, Royal Navy (Retired)

Robert Green, Commander, Royal Navy (Retired), served in the British Royal Navy from 1962-82. As a Fleet Air Arm Observer (Navigator), he flew in Buccaneer carrier-borne nuclear strike aircraft (1968-72), then in anti-submarine helicopters equipped with nuclear depth-bombs (1972-77). On promotion to Commander, he spent 1978-80 in the Ministry of Defence in London as Personal Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy), an Admiral who was closely involved in recommending the replacement for the Polaris nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine force. In his final job, he was Staff Officer (Intelligence) to Commander-in-Chief Fleet at Northwood HQ near London, in charge of round-the-clock intelligence support for Polaris as well as the rest of the Fleet. Having taken voluntary redundancy in 1981, he was released after the Falklands War.

Mrs Thatcher's decision to replace Polaris with Trident was one reason he left the Royal Navy. The murder of his aunt Hilda Murrell, an anti-nuclear energy campaigner in 1984, led him to challenge the hazards of nuclear electricity generation. The break-up of the Soviet Union followed by the Gulf War caused him to speak out against nuclear weapons. In 1991 he became Chair of the UK branch of the World Court Project (WCP), an international campaign by a network of citizen organisations which led to a legal challenge to nuclear deterrence in the International Court of Justice in 1996. As a member of the WCP International Steering Committee, he met Kate Dewes. After they were married in 1997, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1999, and in 2001 became a New Zealand citizen. As Co-Director of the Peace Foundation’s Disarmament & Security Centre, he is using his military experience to promote alternative thinking about security and disarmament. He is the author of the books Security Without Nuclear Deterrence, Fast Track to Zero Nuclear Weapons, The Naked Nuclear Emperor: Debunking Nuclear Deterrence, and many related articles.

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