27 March 2019

From 28 February to 1 March, the Remote Warfare Programme held a two day conference entitled ‘Conceptualising Remote Warfare: The Past, Present and Future’.

Sponsored by the British International Studies Association, the conference brought together a wide range of experts from the military, academia, civil society and parliament and explored the many aspects of remote warfare. 

This panel discusses the key theoretical issues surrounding the use of remote warfare.

Track 1


Abigail Watson and Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen

Track 2

Shaping the Borderlands: the spatial and temporal reconfiguration of modern warfare 

Dr Jolle Demmers and Dr Lauren Gould, Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University

View slides 

Track 3

Decolonising the Debate on Remote Warfare

Dr Anicée Van Engeland, Cranfield University

View slides

Track 4

Surveilling "Remote Warfare": Coherent? Inevitable? Politically Sustainable, Legitimate?

Professor Paul Schulte, University of Birmingham

Track 5

Remote Warfare and the American Empire

Dr Tom Watts, Royal Holloway, University of London

Image credit: USASOC/Flickr. 

About the speakers

Jolle Demmers is Professor of Conflict Studies at the University of Utrecht. She is currently working on a research project on The Intimacies of Remote Warfare and the reconfiguration of contemporary warfare. Demmers was co-founder of the Center for Conflict Studies and played an important role in building up the Conflict Studies education and research field at Utrecht University. She received several EU Marie Curie ITN grants and was, among other things, Associate Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley.

Lauren Gould is Assistant Professor in Conflict Studies. She is a lecturer at the Centre for Conflict Studies and is currently engaged in the Intimacies of Remote Warfare research project on new strategies of remote warfare across Africa and the Middle East. 

Anicée Van Engeland is Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Centre for International Security & Resilience at Cranfield University. She examines strategies to reconcile Islamic law and international law (human rights and humanitarian law) to avoid fragmentation. Her research has led her to work on conflict, security and peace in Islam and Islamic law. While at CIRS, Anicée focuses on examining the legal and political discourses of radical groups and how it impacts international law She also work from a bottom-up perspective, analysing the actions of Muslim communities on (de)radicalisation.

Paul Schulte is an expert on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Verification, and a member of a number of high level advisory groups including: the CSIS European Trilateral Nuclear Dialogue Group, the EU Nonproliferation Consortium, and the Foreign Office Unofficial Experts Advisory Group. He is also on the UN Secretary General's list of accredited international disarmament experts.

Tom Watts is a Teaching Fellow in War and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London with research specialisations in American foreign policy, military assistance programs, and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems. His PhD thesis asked what the Obama administration’s military response against al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel tells us about the means and goals of contemporary U.S. military intervention in the global south. Working within the historical materialist tradition, it advances a more critical reading of these processes which places military assistance programs and the reproduction of ‘closed frontiers and open-doors’ at the centre of its analysis.