Emily Knowles

July 4 2017

Read the briefing

This briefing by Emily Knowles, Remote Control Project Manager, examines how the UK is lagging behind its allies on transparency over its use of Special Operations Forces (SOF). Britain has a culture of no comment regarding the use of its SOF. This culture is harming oversight at a crucial juncture for modern warfare. The UK’s use of SOF is set to increase, with funding doubling after the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. This risks pushing an ever-greater share of UK military action under the radar. This opacity carries significant risks for the effectiveness, accountability, and perceived legitimacy of its military actions abroad.


Image by Defence Images via Flickr.


About the author

Emily Knowles is the Director of ORG’s Remote Warfare Programme. She writes and speaks regularly on changes in military engagement. Her research and policy interests include: the changing role of Britain’s special forces; security force assistance; the use of partner forces in combat; and the military, legal, and political implications of light-footprint remote warfare. She also leads on the team’s field research in conflict environments, having recently conducted research in Kabul, Basra, and Baghdad. Her commentary has been included in programmes like BBC1’s The Big Questions, BBC Radio 4’s The Briefing Room, and the British Forces Broadcasting Services’ Sitrep.