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Remote Control Project: Remote-control warfare briefing #09

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24 February 2015

The ninth in the Remote Control Project's monthly briefing series from Open Briefing has been published today. The briefings cover developments in five key areas or remote warfare: special forces, private military and security companies, unmanned vehicles and autonomous weapon systems, cyber warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Key stories this month:

  • UAVs: The United States has urged Europe to develop more advanced military technology.  In the light of the rapid technological advances being made by the likes of Russia and China in the field of unmanned vehicles and advanced weaponry, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has urged European countries to accelerate their own development programmes or face being left behind and technologically outgunned.
  • Private military and security companies (PMSCs): Increase in use of private military and security companies across conflict ridden states with deteriorating security situations.  In Yemen, it is estimated that the number of private security companies in the country ranges between 40 and 50 licensed companies and 18 unlicensed ones, a result of the current security vaccum.  In Nigeria, the government has reportedly contracted around 100 South African private military contractors to train Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and in Afghanistan, the US defence department is currently employing 39,609 private contractors.
  • Cyber: Iran’s cyber capability potentially improved as a result of attacks by the United States’ Stuxnet and Israeli Flame viruses. A 2013 NSA document appears to acknowledge that cyber attacks not only risk eliciting counter-responses but also help teach adversaries how to launch more sophisticated attacks.

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.


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