Security cooperation with Saudi Arabia: Is it worth it for the UK?

This report assesses the costs and benefits to the UK of its defence and security relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as the extent to which the UK is able to exert leverage and influence over Saudi Arabian foreign policy.Read more

No Such Thing as a Quick Fix: The Aspiration-Capabilities Gap in British Remote Warfare

This report is a first attempt to evaluate the gaps between contemporary strategies and activities in Iraq, Syria and Libya.Read more

Remote Warfare: Lessons Learned from Contemporary Theatres

This report is a first attempt to identify some of the factors that have helped or hindered the UK’s current approach to remote warfare.Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: British Training and Assistance Programmes in Yemen, 2004-2015

Between 2004-2015 Britain engaged in capacity building operations across Yemen’s police, military, and intelligence agencies. This briefing seeks to provide a critical review of these efforts, their successes, and the causes of their ultimate failure, in order to identify lessons for future training and assistance missions.Read more

Out from the shadows: the case for external oversight of UK Special Forces

By downplaying the benefits of opening UKSF to external scrutiny, the UK government places itself at a strategic disadvantage that devalues lessons learned exercises that could otherwise be incorporated into improving future military effectiveness.Read more

Agile Warrior Quarterly

Emily Knowles and Abigail Watson have contributed an article to Agile Warrior Quarterly, the British Army’s intellectual examination of current and emerging threat and opportunities for land capability.Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: The Rise of the Private Military and Security Industry

This briefing will show how, amid a new global security environment shared by state and non-state actors, the market for force has developed into a strategic partner for the state in both the Western and non-Western world.Read more

ORG Explains #1: The UK Military in the Asia-Pacific

This primer explains what presence, relations and obligations the UK military has in Asia-Pacific, defined here as the largely maritime region between Hawaii, New Zealand and the Asian mainland.Read more

Remote Warfare and the Boko Haram Insurgency

This report by Open Briefing examines the effectiveness of the use of remote warfare by the Nigerian government, its regional allies and Western states to counter the threat of Boko Haram.Read more

Are there sufficient mechanisms to protect UK special forces?

Recent reports suggest that UK special forces could have been left “understaffed” for years, and efforts to rectify this appear flawed. This adds to building questions about whether the current level of oversight is sufficient to protect our special forces.Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: Security Cooperation

This briefing paper provides an overview of a central, but often overlooked, instrument of US remote warfare: security cooperation. In the briefing, security cooperation is defined as Department of Defense-managed programmes to train, equip and advise foreign security forces to fight alongside, or as surrogates for, American ‘boots on the ground’.Read more

The Golden Age of Special Operations Forces

Special Forces have long captured people’s imaginations. Books, films, video games and news outlets propagate an image of heroism and mysticism – only added to by governments’ reticence to discuss their operations. The impact of this is that, while almost everyone knows or thinks they know what Special Forces are, few really know what they do.Read more

In Afghanistan, more is not the answer

This new briefing is based on off-the-record military interviews with both international and local Afghan troops between February and March 2017.Read more

After Mosul: Islamic State’s Asian and African Future

After three years and over 22,000 air strikes, the Levantine ‘Caliphate’ manifestation of the Islamic State seems destined for destruction in 2017. Yet the revolt of radicalised Sunni Arabs is unlikely to abate in Iraq or Syria, with the battlefield shifting to localised guerrilla insurgency, increasing attacks within western states, and the opening of new fronts in the global margins, not least Asia and Africa.Read more

Cameroon’s Far North: Responding to Boko Haram

Overall, the acute situation in Far North Region is linked to a wider crisis of responsive institutions across Cameroon. The political vacuum expected to succeed octogenarian president Paul Biya, sooner rather than later, is widely cited as a greater threat to human security than the immediate Boko Haram insurgency.Read more

All quiet on the ISIS front? British secret warfare in an information age

Remote Control’s latest report tracks the UK’s secretive but growing military commitments abroad by analysing the rise in the use of drones for targeted killing, the use of Special Forces, and the provision of capabilities such as intelligence and embedded troops to allied forces.Read more

Limited Accountability: A transparency audit of the anti-ISIL Coalition

This Airwars study for the Remote Control Project explores transparency and accountability issues within the US-led Coalition. It is based partly on in-depth briefings from senior officials from four sample belligerents (the US, Canada, the UK and Denmark) – and in part on two years of extensive Airwars modelling of the war against ISIL.Read more

We Need to Talk About Yemen

This briefing by Emily Knowles examines the extent of the UK’s involvement in the current crisis in Yemen.Read more

The UK’s not-so-secret war in Syria

The SAS is clearly playing a large, sustained role against ISIS in Syria, so why does the UK government still refuse to comment?Read more

Great Britain Needs to Figure Out Its Killer Drone Rules

The United Kingdom must support the United States in its efforts to create an international framework on the export and use of drones. But first, it needs to fix the problems with its own use.Read more

Assessing SOF Transparency and Accountability

In this report, commissioned by Remote Control, Dr. Jon Moran, Reader in Security at the University of Leicester, discusses the growth in use of Special Operations Forces by the UK, US, Australia, and Canada throughout the War on Terror. The report examines why SOF have become so prominent in the tool box of modern states, what issues are raised by their use, and what might be done to make the use of SOF more accountable.Read more

The UK and UN Peace Operations: A Case for Greater Engagement

This report supports an enhanced role for Britain in UN peace operations and sets out a case for greater engagement.Read more

Afghanistan After the Western Withdrawal

This briefing has as its focus the security situation in Afghanistan close to a year since the election of Ashraf Ghani as President, with Abdullah Abdullah subsequently appointed Chief Executive, and as US-led foreign forces withdraw down to barely 13,000 troops from a peak of over 130,000 four years ago.Read more