Remote Warfare Programme Director, Emily Knowles, spoke at the Fabian’s New Year Conference on Saturday 19 January as part of a panel event entitled: Positive Vision: Deepening defence and security cooperation.

The discussion covered a wide-variety of issues, from the growing threat posed by state-based threats like Russia, the rise in the use of information warfare as a tool to undermine liberal democracies, and the impact that the UK’s exit from the EU may have on its current security cooperation with European states.

Emily stressed that, from an outsider’s point of view, it was imperative that the Brexit situation was resolved because the issue had sucked the bandwidth of our Parliament, civil service and government to discuss anything else – there are issues affecting our Armed Forces here and now, she said.

As part of the positive vision, Emily suggested that the government should do more to dominant the information space, such as relaxing its “no comment” policy around the activities of UK Special Forces; consider adopting a different approach to civilian casualty monitoring that would increase its credibility; better incorporate lessons learned from recent military operations in terms of the challenges posed by working with unreliable and weak security partners into future decision-making at the highest levels of government.

 Emily was joined on the panel by Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith MP, Shadow Defence Minister, Wayne David MP and journalist, Paul Mason. The panel was chaired by The Times Defence Correspondent, Lucy Fisher.

The Oxford Research Group is a non-affiliated policy and research organisation. Its contribution to this event was part of efforts to build consensus among political stakeholders around its evidence-based policy recommendations on contemporary British military operations.

 You can find out more information about the event here.


Image credit: Liam Walpole