Remote Control is a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by the Oxford Research Group that looks at the current developments in military technology and the re-thinking of military approaches to future threats. One dominant idea now is countering threats at a distance without the deployment of large military forces, what may be termed ‘Remote Control’. This is already happening, with a heavy reliance on drones (both reconnaissance and armed variants) and Special Forces. This trend is paralleled by the evolving privatisation of military forces. Connected with these ‘discreet’ military measures are cyber and surveillance activities.
Remote Control raises many issues, including whether international laws need to be updated to account for these military trends and how effective such policies are in the long-term. The consequences of what might follow when technological developments are opened up to a wider range of players require careful examination. This will inevitably happen as the cost of the technology reduces and access becomes more easily available. How can the risks of ‘blowback’ or revenge attacks be properly measured? How can state security issues and the need for transparency and accountability be reconciled? What are the risks in the event of violent non-state actors being able to gain a greater international foothold? The project will examine what is happening and the likely consequences.
The project is aimed at bringing together those who are looking at different aspects of these new military trends and raising awareness of the issues involved. It will act as a facilitator for exchange of information and publicise work that is being undertaken in the area. In addition, the project will dig deeper into the debate, thoroughly examine the long term effects of these strategies intending to serve as an information resource for policy-makers to help build long term sustainable security.
Visit the Remote Control website here