Liam Walpole and Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen

11 June 2019

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The UK government is currently undertaking a review of its strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. This was planned to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1265 and the adoption of the Protection of Civilians (POC) as an item on the Security Council's agenda.

Since the last strategy was written there have been significant changes to the way in which the UK engages in military campaigns. Rather than deploying "boots on the ground", the trend that has emerged is to work “by, with and through” local and/or regional forces who do the bulk of the frontline fighting while the UK and its Western allies provide support through capacity building, equipment, air support, or the deployment of special forces. This is known as remote warfare. This approach presents several challenges to implementing an effective POC strategy.  

This briefing explores the strategic consequences of remote warfare for POC and outlines practical lessons the British armed forces can draw from contemporary theatres to improve its capacity for POC in partnered operations. 

Image credit: Spc. Andrew Baker (US Army/Public Domain).

About the authors

Liam Walpole is a Senior Policy Officer at the Remote Warfare Programme.

Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen is a Research and Policy Assistant at ORG’s Remote Warfare Programme.

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