Emily Knowles

5 October 2016

Read the Briefing

This briefing explores how the UK is using drones, Special Operations Forces (SOF) like the SAS, intelligence assets, and military advisers to tackle groups like ISIS, and why this allows a large number of military operations to fall through cracks in policy designed to scrutinise the use of force. Unlike when the UK deploys regular troops on the ground, the UK’s political system is poorly prepared to scrutinise this sort of remote warfare. The opacity surrounding remote warfare may be contributing to a lack of strategy, with the potential to have damaging implications for the effectiveness, accountability, and legitimacy of UK military options abroad for years to come.

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.