The Government’s Defence Review: An Incomplete Picture

The Ministry of Defence’s long-awaited Modernising Defence Programme was released this week. The report appears to reinforce the government’s shifting strategic focus towards countering state-based threats, despite the fact that remote warfare is likely to dominate British military engagement in the foreseeable future.Read more

Iraq After Islamic State: Divided We Stand?

This briefing examines how choices made throughout the anti-IS campaign have contributed to several of the factors that are currently destabilising the Iraqi security sector.Read more

Westminster Round Up | November 2018

As the Brexit negotiations continue at full speed, other significant issues, such as defence, seem to have taken a backseat in parliament this November.Read more

Westminster Round-up | October 2018

Westminster’s October agendas were once again dominated by discussions on the value and impact of the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: Intelligence Sharing after 9/11

This paper considers the state of play of intelligence sharing in contemporary remote warfare, and the degree to which the benefits of sharing are balanced by the mitigation of risk.Read more

Conference Round-up

Defence appeared a leading issue in the fringes at both the Labour and Conservative Party conferences, although much of the media coverage surrounding the two conferences focused on more parochial issues.Read more

Westminster Round Up | September 2018

Little time was spent in parliament in September, as the parties picked up and moved out for their annual conferences.Read more

Event Podcast: Is Remote Warfare Working?

In this podcast a distinguished panel discuss the political, legal, and military implications of remote warfare.Read more

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

Westminster Round-Up | July 2018

While July has been a short parliamentary month – nearly shortened further by an impromptu early recess for MPs – it has not been a boring one.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

Pacifism or Pragmatism? The 2013 Parliamentary Vote on Military Action in Syria

Several commentators have argued that the 2013 Syria vote was a marker of parliamentary pacifism and a symbol of the perils of democratising the decision to use force. This briefing uses the transcript of the debate and recent interviews to assess the validity of these claims.Read more

Westminster Round-Up | May 2018

The Remote Warfare Programme covers the latest developments in defence and security in WestminsterRead 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

Britain’s Shadow Army: Policy Options for External Oversight of UK Special Forces

This report makes the case for introducing some form of external oversight of UKSF, and examines allied experiences of legislative scrutiny. It then outlines two different models of parliamentary committee oversight that might be appropriate policy options for the UK.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

Falling Short of Security in Somalia

Drawing upon a number of interviews conducted with serving and former UK and EU military personnel and round-table material, this briefing by Emily Knowles examines the international involvement in military operations to counter Al-Shabaab.Read more

Defining Remote Warfare: Cyber

This is the second briefing in a series by the Remote Warfare Programme which will bring together experts to discuss important aspects of remote warfare to provide some conceptual clarity.This briefing by VERTIC attends to cyberwar, a subject that has grabbed the attention, and imagination, of publics, media, civil society and academics alike.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