The Remote Control project held its second annual stakeholder conference on 27 June 2014. A wide range of experts from think tanks, academia, journalism and NGOs participated at the event to discuss the work of the project to date and priorities for the future. The conference, held at Friends House, included presentations on the various tranches of work that have been commissioned by the project and discussion on work being undertaken by other organisations. Many of those to whom work has been commissioned were at hand to make presentations and this contributed greatly to the discussion and debate.
We provided details of the work that has been commissioned so far which extends to eleven pieces, involving a wide range of activities within the whole Remote Control ambit, all of which will be published on our website and elsewhere as it becomes available. Our reliance on the expertise and contribution of all who attended the conference and stakeholders who are interested in encouraging wider debate on the implications of this type of warfare was stressed. We spoke of how, during the first year of the full-scale project, we are looking at the problems and addressing the effectiveness of Remote Control warfare and that the second year will build on this work and examine alternative paths, particularly non-military solutions.
Looking to the future, participants felt that communicating to the widest possible audience by the various means at the disposal of the project and obtaining feedback are important. Continuing the emphasis on adding to our stakeholders and acting as facilitators was also seen as being of great benefit. There was a very good discussion on the areas where it was felt that gaps existed and how we might be able to highlight or address them through the project. Gaps mentioned included Private Military Companies, rendition, democratic debate, human rights and human costs. There was agreement that the concentration should remain wider than just the US involvement and should continue to be directed not only on drones but on the totality of Remote Control warfare.
Feedback from the conference was extremely positive and participants were encouraged by the broad array of areas covered as well as the linking of the different strands of remote warfare.
Take a look below to see a selection of photos from the day.
The Remote Control project is a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by Oxford Research Group. The project examines changes in military engagement, in particular the use of drones, special forces, private military companies and cyber warfare.