The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation within and between States

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: POLSIS

Abstract

This project will examine the impact of a recent and on-going development in science and technology (drones) on prospects for conflict and cooperation in countries where drones are deployed. The use of armed and unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs/drones) by the United States and the United Kingdom has dramatically increased over the past decade. Aggregate data compiled from a range of open-access sources suggests that over 1,300 strikes have been carried out to date against enemy targets, killing almost 3,000 insurgents and nearly 500 civilians. From the vantage point of the intervening states, these statistics are defended as markers of military success against enemy. However, from the perspective of the targets of these strikes - far from the use of drones reducing the risks of insurgency and terrorism - each strike justifies substantially increasing the level of violence against US/UK forces. These clashing assessments of the political effects of drone strikes can only be understood in a context of cultural misunderstandings; for the intervening side, drones represent the latest manifestation of progressive reduction of risk to Western intervening forces while for the populations affected by drone strikes, they represent the unacceptable combination of Western arrogance, technological hubris, invulnerability, and exclusivist beliefs and values.

Consequently, different values, belief systems, narratives, and historical contexts lead to radically different interpretations of whether US/UK drone strikes are increasing or decreasing the security of both the intervening and targeted actors. Yet, the evidence on which these claims and counter-claims are being made is highly contested, and there is very little systematic comparative analysis of the data. This project seeks to rectify this lack of data and in so doing responds to that part of the ESRC/AHRC-Dstl Science and Security call which focuses on 'Improving our ability to use S&T developments to increase co-operation and collaboration as a means of preventing future conflict'. Consequently, research will investigate in a comparative context how conflicting perceptions of the use of drones shapes the propensities for conflict and cooperation both within the territory of the penetrated state and between the intervening state and the state in which the drones are operating.

To understand how conflicting perceptions of S&T are shaped by cultural context, and to explore how far the use of drones has generated new spaces of cultural misunderstanding leading to increased conflict, the project adopts an interdisciplinary theoretical framework rooted in the study of cognition, emotions, and the construction of historical narratives in the context of political action and decision-making. By utilising this framework, the project team will investigate whether the use of drones has established and/or further strengthened narratives which produce and reproduce violent conflict. Or alternatively, has it opened up new spaces for negotiations to mitigate and end conflicts? Thus, the project team will seek to address the following primary research question: Does the use of drones by a state on the territory of another actor increase or decrease the propensities for conflict and cooperation both within and between these actors?

Focusing on the cases of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia we will conduct systematic comparative case study research, utilising interviews, focus groups, literature review and open-source data analysis as our principle research methods.

The project will produce a number of outputs, including case study briefing papers and articles in refereed journals. These will form part of the substantive basis of our impact strategy that seeks to contribute to the shaping of a UK and international drone policy that is legal, ethical, legitimate, and effective in promoting security.

Planned Impact

Research into how different values, belief systems, narratives, and historical contexts lead to radically different interpretations of whether US/UK drone strikes are increasing or decreasing national and international security is extremely timely and has the potential to benefit non-academic and academic users. By providing a better understanding of how cultural contexts shape perceptions of security among groups affected by drone strikes, this research aims to contribute to the development of policies which empathise with the beliefs, values, and emotions of those who are most affected by drone attacks.

The focus on how developments in drone technology impact on the propensities for cooperation and conflict, and the implications of this for mitigating and transforming conflicts, will generate impact for the following groups:

Policy-makers; Cabinet Office (especially members of the National Security Council); Members of Parliament; Diplomatic staff (Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, State Department, EU); Development Agencies (Department for International Development, USAID); Military personnel (NATO, British and US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, EU Military Staff); Charities / NGOs; the general public.

The project team will utilise Knowledge Exchange opportunities, as well as traditional impact generation activities, that will increase understanding of the following areas:

1) Clarification of the relationship between drone strikes and conflict resolution, enabling improved practitioner assessment of situations when the use of this technology is more or less likely to lead to conflict resolution/dialogue between conflict parties.

2) Greater appreciation of how drone strikes affect intrastate and interstate relationships and the variables that impact upon them within the sphere of conflict.

3) Encouraging policy-makers to critically reflect on the appropriateness of the choice of drone strikes in a variety of situations.

4) Providing evidence of the impact of drone strikes on intrastate and interstate relationships and how this calls for new approach to understanding and interpreting this evidence from within a framework of theories of conflict transformation and trust-building.

5) Greater understanding of the cultural contexts and moral universe shaping perceptions of security among groups affected by drone strikes, and the need to develop policies that are empathetic to how drone technology risks becoming a new space for cultural misunderstanding and conflict.

6) Helping practitioners and other stakeholders to think about how trust building and conflict resolution approaches can be effectively mapped into an overarching strategy, and consider how drone strikes may or may not complement the strategic objects and progress towards conflict resolution.

7) Engaging with stakeholders, policy makers and other security professionals to encourage debate regarding the necessity and format of any international regulation on the use of drones at an international level.

8) The project's findings would be factored into the work of the International Committee on Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) and other organisations committed to developing an international regulatory regime for drone warfare.
 
Description The research reveals that the effect of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs and more commonly known as drones) on conflict resolution functions differently across the three case studies as set out below.

The key finding in the case of Afghanistan is that drone strikes in isolation have had a limited effect on insurgent activity in Afghanistan, and an equally limited impact on conflict resolution. Within Afghanistan, drones are a subset of wider military forces and have not been found to be more unpopular with the civilian population than other tactics, such as night raids, or methods used by the Taliban, such as IEDs.

The key finding in the case of Pakistan is that the dominant narrative that strikes by UAVs are preventing peace negotiations is overly simplistic and inflated within the country for political purposes. Counter to claims made in some parts of the press, the majority of those interviewed for the project expressed the opinion that strikes by UAVs had killed more terrorists than civilians. Nevertheless, the project shows that civilian deaths from drone use has adversely affected the potential for conflict resolution.

The key finding in the case of Yemen is that strikes by drones have resulted in some unintended consequences - otherwise known as 'blowback'. However, our research shows that blowback from drone strikes in Yemen has been overemphasised in relation to its effect upon the potential for conflict resolution. Cases of purposeful retaliation are relatively few in the context of violence in Yemen more generally. Civilian casualties and targeting of lower-level or part-time militants have motivated family members and tribal affiliates of those killed to support and, less commonly, join AQAP. However, this phenomenon has not had the level of impact on conflict resolution in Yemen suggested by the existing literature.

The latest findings from the project were that historic comparisons between Air Control and Air Policing in North and South Waziristan in the 1920's do not compare with contemporary uses of unmanned systems in the same place. The case for similarity and continuity has been considerably overstated in the literature and has no credibility. Dr Wyatt assembled the material and presented his findings to the DSTL annual conference, where it was well-received.
Exploitation Route The findings will be taken forward through two key paths:

Academic:
The project team are writing up the findings of the project in a number of refereed journal articles. These will be completed by the end of 2019.

Two members of the project team (Wheeler and Dunn) awarded a new research grant by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to investigate the possibilities for a new transatlantic consensus on the use of armed drones. This has now developed into a larger project supported by OSF that will lead to a major report being produced by the end of 2019.

Two members of the project team (Dunn and Wyatt) have been awarded a Gerda Henkel award to investigate the risk from small drone attacks and how these might be mitigated and contained. The work is on going and will be completed by the end of 2019.

Non-academic
It is expected that the outcomes of the research will be taken up by key partners and stakeholders involved in formulating policy and strategy in relation to the use of armed drones in interventionary contexts. These research opportunities will be faciliated through the following avenues of user engagement:

Briefings
Confidential briefings with key users and stakeholders in the UK and US where the findings of the project will be discussed and the implications of these for allied policy on drones at both the strategic, operational, and tactical levels assessed.

Continuing engagement with key stakeholders (e.g. the APPG on drones, Drone Communications Group, industry partners etc.) and the use of the ICCS web pages and op-ed pieces such as 'The Birmingham Briefs' and podcasts/vidcasts (the webpage is updated regularly by all involved, detailing research progress.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/government-society/centres/iccs/research/unmanned-aerial-vehicles/index.aspx
 
Description The project findings have been disseminated through the pathways to impact set out below. • The sixth Birmingham Policy Commission examined the security implications for the British Government of Drone technology, both civil and military. The Commission brought together leading academics from the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham with NGO experts and distinguished former public servants. It was chaired by Sir David Omand, former UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator and a former Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Director of GCHQ. The Commission has taken evidence from a wide range of British, US, and French experts, as well as inviting written submissions from around the world. The Report was launched at the Royal United Services Institute on 22nd October 2014. • The Report was well-received in the Policy Community and was reported widely in the media. Tom Watson, then Chair of the APPG on UAVs, Admiral Lord West, Martin Caton, Chair of the APPG on weapons and protection of civilians, and Sir David Omand wrote to Philip Hammond, MP, endorsing Commission recommendations on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. • This was followed by an Early Day Motion, Early Day Motion 487: Proposal for UK Policy on UAV Use. This read as follows: • That this House welcomes the Birmingham Policy Commission on The Security Impact of UAVs: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK, chaired by Professor Sir David Omand, which was published on 22 October 2014; notes that the exploitation of UAVs to the UK's benefit is held back by a lack of central direction; stresses the need for policy on the use of UAVs articulating the UK position on application of international human rights and humanitarian law in complex conflicts; calls on the Government to distinguish UK practice, and protect UK personnel, from inadvertent complicity in the targeted killing of suspects outside traditional battlefields by the US; invites the Government to disclose the guidance issued to staff, and safeguards in place, to ensure that shared intelligence cannot be used for targeted killing contrary to UK law; and further calls on the Government to implement these recommendations forthwith. • In October 2014, Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Professor David Dunn and Professor Stefan Wolff gave a briefing in Brussels on the strategic, legal, ethical, and regulatory dimensions of the UK's use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to a number of high level representatives from NATO, the European Parliament, the International Crisis Group, Airbus, BAE systems and Finmeccanica. A copy of the presentation can be found here. • In addition to the above, the project Team has recently completed a submission to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy and one for the Defence Committee on ISIL. Previous submissions have been received with interest. Professors Wheeler and Wolff have also submitted written evidence to the Defence Committee Inquiry: Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - current and future UK use (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmdfence/772/772vw01.htm). Part of this written evidence was cited in Paragraphs 130 and 131 of the main report (Vol. 1) and appeared in Recommendation 16 of the Report, being acknowledged also in the Government's response (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmdfence/611/611.pdf ). • The Institute for Conflict, Co-operation and Security submission, Written Evidence Number 21, dated November 2013, to the House of Commons Defence Committee enquiry was published in on Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - Current and Future UK Use, Tenth Report of Session 2013-14, Volume II Written Evidence, 25 March 2014, Ev W124. The Government's response consisted of the following: House of Commons Defence Committee - Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - current and future UK use: Government Response to the Committee's Tenth Report of Session 2013-14, Sixth Special Report of Session 2014-15, HC 611, 29 July 2014. There the Government writes, on page 12, that: 'The Government addresses this recommendation in the detailed response to Recommendation 8. We acknowledge the need to carefully review and update laws, particularly around personal privacy, as Unmanned or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are more commonly used.' In their response to Recommendation 8, on page 5, the Government stated that: 'The Working Group meets throughout the year' and the 'key issues' of 'Public perception, privacy, data protection' have been 'identified as priorities to be addressed'. • On 5th November 2014, a letter to Philip Hammond MP calling on the government to consider disclosing the guidance relating the sharing and use of UK intelligence in terms of individuals who are at risk of targeted lethal strikes outside traditional battlefields was co-signed by Sir David Omand. The Policy Commission was referenced in a Parliamentary Early Day Motion tabled on 6th November 2014, which stressed "the need for policy on the use of drones articulating the UK position on application of international human rights and humanitarian law in complex conflicts". The Policy Commission was quoted in a press release issued by Article 36 on 14 November to coincide with the annual meeting of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons. The Policy Commission was cited in the tabling of a question for a written answer by the European Parliament regarding steps taken by the High Representative on the issue. On 26 Jan 2015, Lord West of Spithead cited the Policy Commission report for the specific risks it highlighted that "needed to be addressed by legislators such as the use of drones carrying improvised explosive devices" in a debate on Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill in the House of Lords. • The Birmingham Policy Commission report was also cited heavily in a recent House of Commons briefing paper, which provided an "overview of military drones used by the UK armed forces". The Policy Commission was referenced in a Parliamentary Early Day Motion tabled on 18th June 2015, which called on the government to "devise and disclose a distinct and overarching policy on the use of British military drones as part of British defence strategy". Further details can be found here. The Policy Commission is referenced (endnote 3) in a new POST note on Automation in Military Operations. On 13 October 2015, Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire, cited the Birmingham Policy Commission in a House of Commons debate on "Drones in Conflict" regarding the lawfulness of the recent killing of British citizens in Syria by UK drones. On 9th March 2015, Professor David Dunn and Dr Peter Gray visited BAE Systems Group in Farnborough to discuss the findings of the Policy Commission report. In April 2015, Professor David Dunn presented his analysis of the transatlantic drone debate to an audience of experts on drone warfare from government, the military, academia, industry, and the legal profession from the United States and Europe in Washington D.C. Further details of the conference organised by the Stimson Center and the Heinrich Boell Foundation can be found here. • Professor Nicholas Wheeler attended the third meeting of the Drone Communications Cross-Industry Working Group held on 20 May 2015. UoB is currently the only university involved in this group, which also has representations from Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Finmeccanica, Thales, BAE, MoD, Qinetiq, ADS and Boeing. On 29th May, Dr Peter Gray gave a presentation at the Hay Festival on the history of technological innovation in airpower including the development of drones, chaired by Con Coughlin, Defence Editor of The Telegraph. • The research team on the 'Political Effects of UAVs' project presented their interim findings at a day-long conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society on Friday 12th June attended by academics, policymakers, members of parliament and journalists. On 16th June 2015, a delegation from the ICCS, including Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Professor David Dunn and Dr Talat Farooq (Honorary Research Fellow) presented findings from 'The Political Effects of UAVs' to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones (APPG) in Westminster. The APPG meeting, the first of the new parliament, was chaired by Baroness Stern. Further details can be found here. On 20th October 2015, the ICCS co-hosted an event in Parliament in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation, and the Royal United Services Institute, to review the Birmingham Policy Commission, one year on. On 18th November 2015, the Joint Committee on Human Rights published written evidence submitted by Professors David Dunn and Nicholas Wheeler in response to the call issued by the inquiry on the UK Government's policy on the use of drones for targeted killing. On 9th December, the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights took oral evidence from Sir David Omand (Chair of the Birmingham Policy Commission) and Jennifer Gibson (Commissioner) On 11th December 2015, the ICCS senior research team met with Gisela Stuart Media Coverage The launch of the Policy Commission report in October 2014 was widely covered in the national news. • It featured on ITV News Online, The Guardian, BBC News Online, Daily Mail Online, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Press Association, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Birmingham Post and BBC Radio 4. • Professor David H Dunn and Sir David Omand discussed the report on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday 19 November, to an audience of over 7m listeners. • Professor Nicholas Wheeler was interviewed on BBC Radio Essex about the possible use of drones in everyday life and recorded a podcast with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on the findings of the Policy Commission report. • Professor David Dunn was interviewed by BBC News Online for an article about drones. Professor Dunn stated that the government need to consider licencing drones after an American woman was injured when a drone fell on her. • He has also written a piece on the creeping autonomy of lethal weapons for the United Nations Association of the UK magazine. • On 13 September, • Professor David Dunn was interviewed about UK drone strikes on BBC Stoke (39:30) and BBC West (21:35) • Professors David Dunn and Nicholas Wheeler contributed an article to the Birmingham Brief on 22 October 2015, which focused on the legal bases for drones strikes in Syria. 2016 was a successful year for drone-related work at the ICCS. Updating the Impact for 2016 is below on a project basis. The Institute has been awarded a grant from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung on the Nefarious Criminal and Terrorist Uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The focus of this research project is to analyse the threat presented by the revolution in easy access to the air presented by the technological development of small and medium sized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The research design has its focus on the research question: To what extent does new unmanned technology challenge traditional conceptions of vulnerability and risk? This project is adding real value to this area of academic study, as well as impact t the levels of both policy and practice. The building of databases, interviews and the interactive development of that information is fundamental to the furtherance of knowledge in this field and the instrumentalization of it, in addition to dissemination and ongoing capacity building. There has been substantial intellectual buy in from The West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Office, the RAF, as well as security agencies. The interim findings from the project have been fed back by those organisations, constituting a strong pathway for ongoing instrumental impact. Towards a new (restraining) global consensus on the use of armed drones is a new project supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Human Rights Initiative of the Open Society Foundations. It aims at securing a new normative consensus that delegitimizes the use of armed drones for targeting killing outside of recognized war zones. Such a consensus does not exist within Europe, between Europe and the United States, nor globally. Professors Wheeler and Dunn have been able to influence strongly the views of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, Open Society Foundations and its partners and the Remote Control Project. With regard to the latter, Professors Wheeler and Schulte and Dr Chris Wyatt contributed comments and revisions to the Remote Control Project's report on secret warfare in an information age. The Institute is contributing strongly to the debate and is developing proven conceptual and instrumental impact based on solid evidence, based research. Earlier in the year, on 27 April 2016, the UAV project team at the University of Birmingham met with Emily Knowles, Manager of the Remote Control Project at the Oxford Research Group. The University in general and ICCS in particular has a strong relationship with DSTL and Dr Chris Wyatt is liaising with them on the themes of maritime, Third Offset and deterrence. Dr Wyatt and Professor Schulte both attended the DSTL consultation meeting on deterrence at Lancaster University in February 2017. DTSL representatives at the meeting took extensive notes and can provide written evidence of the importance of those contributions. The activity is synergistically impactful. In addition to the above. Professor Wheeler gave a presentation on drones at a Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research 'Science and Security Policy Workshop: Governance, Ethics and the Law' at the British Academy in London on 1 March 2016. He shared the session with Professor Anthony Gillespie, who was one of the authors of the DCDC Joint Doctrine Note on the British Government's use of drones in 2011. The workshop explored the ethical & legal challenges facing policy-makers & practitioners working in the defence & security sectors as they manage the development & application of new technological capabilities, part of which related to drones. A PaCCS (Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research, and connected to the Research Councils and DSTL) Policy Briefing Note based on discussions, was published later in 2016. It was entitled The governance of unmanned aerial vehicles in defence and security and was authored by PaCCS External Champion, Dr Tristram Riley-Smith. Impact: Instrumental. On 19 January 2016, the representatives from the Birmingham Policy Commission visited RAF Waddington, constituting a pathway to instrumental impact. During 2017, 2018, and 2019, the project team have continued to develop work in this area as detailed in the engagement activities. The PI (Wheeler) has continued engagement and impact with Remote Control, the APPG on drones, and other key stakeholders in the drones space (e.g. Pax in the Netherlands, the Stimson Centre in the United States, and the Open Soiety Foundations in both Europe and the United States. The Open Society Foundations have supported an extension of the original project to explore the legality and legitimacy of targeted killing in a European context to encompass transatlantic and global perspectives in the light of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US President. The original report will now be a longer piece of work (approx 30,000 words) that will be completed by the end of 2020. To support this work, the project team have established a study group of key users and stakeholders that is held under the auspices of the APPG on drones. Two meetings have been held so far and these have provided an opportunity to workshop chapters from the forthcoming book that the project team are producing. The findings from the research on the OSF project are being used by APPG and other users in developing their activity in the drones space and these impacts will be detailed in future reporting.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. APPG DronesOn 9 July 2014, Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Sir David Omand and Mr Paul Schulte presented interim findings of the Policy Commission report to a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, which was attended by, among others, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, David Davies MP and Tom Watson MP (co-chair of the APPG). Impact: Instrumental.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The quality of debate has been enhanced, as has the extent the Group's understanding and appreciation of the issues involved. In addition, those presenting are now 'inside the tent' and are 'go to' experts in the field.
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact On 19 November 2014, Tom Watson MP, David Davis MP, Baroness Vivien Stern, Professor Sir David Omand and Professor Michael Clarke wrote to the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP to request 'that your Department consider disclosing the Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel applicable to the passing of intelligence relating to individuals who are at risk of targeted lethal strikes outside traditional battlefields ('the Guidance'). We invite you to consider disclosure of the Guidance following (i) the recommendations of the Commission published on 22 October and (ii) your Department's limited response to Parliamentary Question dated 16 October concerning application of the principles in the published Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Personnel on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees.' This was picked up by the Financial Times on 26 November and on 12 January 2015 by Jack Serle of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. House of Lords Debate. In a debate in the House of Lords on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill on 26 January 2015, Lord West of Spithead stated that: 'When the Birmingham Policy Commission conducted a study on the security impact of drones, which was chaired by Professor Sir David Omand, it examined specific risks that he felt needed to be addressed by legislators such as the use of drones carrying improvised explosive devices.' Hansard, Column 97. Impact: Instrumental.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact This intervention has had considerable effect. Concern over the terrorist use of small drones has been a live issue - Mirroring what terrorists say about western drones - and the influence of the idea has been widespread. There has been a direct line from the Policy Commission to an award by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany to Professor David Dunn and Dr Christopher Wyatt. Both are part of the ESRC Project Team and Professor Dunn was a Commissioner to the Birmingham Policy Commission. The Gerda Henkel award is having considerable policy and practice impact.
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. In July 2014, Professor Wheeler met with Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism, to share interim findings of the Policy Commission report, and to incorporate input and feedback. Impact: Instrumental
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Professor Wheeler's sharing of the interim findings of the Policy Commission report, incorporating input and feedback, has had two effects. The first is that there has been an instrumental effect on policy due to the informed nature of the research. The second is that the input and feedback mentioned earlier has been a strong exemplar of the mutually iterative relationship of conceptual and instrumental impact. Each party is the stronger for this association.
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. Joint Committee on Human Rights.On 18th November 2015, the Joint Committee on Human Rights published written evidence submitted by Professors David Dunn and Nicholas Wheeler in response to the call issued by the inquiry on the UK Government's policy on the use of drones for targeted killing. On 9th December 2015, the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights had taken oral evidence from Sir David Omand (Chair of the Birmingham Policy Commission) and Jennifer Gibson (Commissioner). Impact: Instrumental.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The evidence provided strong instrumental impact into the debate.
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. On 5 November 2014, a letter to Philip Hammond MP calling on the government to consider disclosing the guidance relating the sharing and use of UK intelligence in terms of individuals who are at risk of targeted lethal strikes outside traditional battlefields was co-signed by Sir David Omand. Impact: Instrumental.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission. This could not have been funded without the ESRC award. Parliamentary Early Day Motion. The Policy Commission was referenced in a Parliamentary Early Day Motion tabled on 6 November 2014, which stressed 'the need for policy on the use of drones articulating the UK position on application of international human rights and humanitarian law in complex conflicts'. Impact: Instrumental.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact The theme of the debate has been taken up several times beyond the early day motion, most recently with David Cameron's setting out of the UK legal position in April 2015 and the Joint Intelligence Committee report of April 2017. The matter remains a live one, due in great measure to the arguments of the original early day motion finding expression elsewhere.
 
Description Open Society Foundation
Amount £64,000 (GBP)
Organisation Open Society Foundation, New York 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 01/2016 
End 07/2018
 
Title Cultural and Religious Influences on Pashtun (Taliban) Understandings of Western Use of Advanced Technologies, ie Drones 
Description The debate implies that the Taliban and other Pashtuns see drones as a real problem and something about which to be very exercised. It seems appropriate that drones would form a large part of their agitation and propaganda output. However, there are very few examples of anti-drone pieces in Taliban output. Dr Wyatt has investigated why this is, looking at the Taliban documentation and seeking explanation for incongruity in cultural and religious explanations. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The analysis has been written up as 'Seeing Things Differently: Nang, Tura and Zolm, and other Cultural Factors in Taliban Attitudes to Drones', co-authored with Professor David Dunn and published in Ethnopolitics. 
 
Title Drone Strikes in Yemen 
Description An important question relates to how far drone strikes are a causal factor in the occurrence of terrorist attacks. Professor Stefan Wolff, Dr Christopher Wyatt, and Mr George May set up a database to try to account for this phenomenon in Yemen, looking at the period between 2010 and 2014. Aggregate attacks were time lagged and no causation was found over several months. Drilling down into the data, it was decided to see what extremists groups were saying. The data was coded in the following terms: (i) Not far enemy related; (ii) lip service to the far enemy; (iii) far enemy-related, but not UAV-related, and i(v) far enemy and UAV-related. Using this method, a 3.5% correlation was discovered from 2010 to 2012, rising to 5% over the period 2010-2014. That kind of rigour is not in evidence elsewhere in the debate. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Professor Wolff presented interim findings to NATO in 2014 and Dr Wyatt presented them to the Programme Integrator Group and to the Programme Conference, both in November 2014. 
 
Title Interview and survey data of participants in Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu, FATA, Pakistan 
Description Dr Talat Farooq conducted research in Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu. The refugees were from South and North Waziristan, respectively. Dr Farooq undertook semi-structured interviews to understand how they had been affected by the use of drones in the region in general and in their district n particular. The interviews were transcribed and translated in English. Any identifying information has been removed from the transcripts. In addition, a survey was conducted in the FATA of 402 participants using 13 variables. The questionnaire was translated into English, a database was constructed in SPSS, and the data was entered on the database. An identifier was matched with the consent form so the SPSS data is anonymised. The interview data is held confidentially but the survey data can be accessed on the UK DataService website. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Interim findings were presented at a day-long conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society on Friday 12th June 2015, attended by academics, policymakers, members of parliament and journalists. On 16th June 2015, a delegation from the ICCS, including Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Professor David Dunn and Dr Talat Farooq (Honorary Research Fellow) presented findings from 'The Political Effects of UAVs' to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones (APPG) in Westminster. The APPG meeting, the first of the new parliament, was chaired by Baroness Stern. The full findings are in an article 'PREDATORS AND PEACE: EXPLAINING THE FAILURE OF THE PAKISTANI CONFLICT SETTLEMENT PROCESS IN 2013-14' (currently under review). 
URL https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk
 
Description All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones 
Organisation All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have set up a study group organised by the APPG on drones to workshop the contents of our report and book on the legality and legitimacy of armed drone use in a UK, Transatlantic and Global context. The APPG has hosted these meetings in Parliament and provided an important partner for engagement and impact. The study group brings together academics, stakeholders, and other non-academic civil society users in the drones space. Our team has tabled draft chapters of our report/book for discussion.
Collaborator Contribution The APPG has organised and held the study group meetings in Parliament, and members of the APPG have chaired these meetings providing an opportunity for engagement and impact across the drones space. The APPG partnership has ensured that we have high quality participants at the roundtable. Their 2018 'Working with Partners' report has been very important to the project team in developing our work.
Impact The collaboration with the APPG and the work of the study group was critical to a paper written by the project team (Wheeler, Dunn, Davies, Sabur) and presented by Sabur at an International Law symposium held at St. Andrews University in November 2019. The paper is currently being developed into a book that will be published and reported on in next year's report. The collaboration is multidisciplinary, involving international lawyers.
Start Year 2019
 
Description The Remote Control Project 
Organisation Oxford Research Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Project Team has also put on an event called the Reaper: Ten Years On. This was a one day event, in cooperation with Dronewars UK and the Remote Control Project, and took place on 18 October 2017. The event took place in three sessions. The first panel session, Chaired by Professor David Dunn, was on the 'Public and Political Impact of Drones' with Chris Woods (Airwars), Emily Knowles (Remote Control Project) and Paul Schulte (ICCS). The second panel session, Chaired by Professor Nick Wheeler, was on the 'Legal and Ethical Considerations of the Use of Drones' with Craig Jones (Newcastle University), Peter Lee (University of Portsmouth), Yasmine Ahmed (Rights Watch UK) and Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG (Chatham House). And the Third panel session, Chaired by Emily Knowles, was on 'Technology and Policy: The next 10 years' with Elke Schwarz (University of Leicester), David Dunn (ICCS), Chris Cole (Drone Wars UK) and Elizabeth Minor (Article 36). The event had conceptual and instrumental impact.
Collaborator Contribution Funding
Impact A record of the event will be forthcoming in due course.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Working with The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Throughout 2014, Dr Chris Wyatt was involved in working with the University's Business Engagement Team to standardise the analysis and commissioning relationship with DSTL, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Hitherto, analysis and commissioning had been on a rolling basis but was not delivering sufficiently quick turnaround. Dr Wyatt and the Business Engagement Team worked with DSTL's commissioning arm, Red Scientific, to help deliver the ASC, Analysis Support Construct, the means by which direct commissioning is conducted today. Dr Wyatt represented the College at the Project Initiation Group, was present at the ASC consultation in Winchester on 17 July 2014 and met with Red Scientific on 18 November 2014. The University of Birmingham is a leading organisation within the construct. Impact: Strong Instrumental. In 2014, Dr Chris Wyatt evolved a follow-on project to explore the issues of the Political Effects of UAVs, but with regard to Africa. There was considerable interest in developing the project with DSTL and the Project Team met with Glynn Field from that organisation. The project was to be funded by DSTL but severe cuts there meant that the budget line from which the funding was to come was axed. The project nevertheless passed muster in terms of being both policy relevant and of sufficient quality. Impact: Pathway Conceptual. Throughout 2014 and 2015, Dr Chris Wyatt attended every meeting of the Science and Security Programme Integrator Group, to which the project belonged. ESRC and DSTL staff were present, along with the Warwick University-based Integrator Team. Dr Wyatt presented findings and impact to the full Group. These were fed back to the ESRC for onward transmission and to DSTL. Dr Wyatt presented his research findings to the final conference at RUSI on 14 September 2015. Impact: Instrumental Professor Wheeler gave a presentation on drones at a Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research 'Science and Security Policy Workshop: Governance, Ethics and the Law' at the British Academy in London on 1 March 2016. He shared the session with Professor Anthony Gillespie, who was one of the authors of the DCDC Joint Doctrine Note on the British Government's use of drones in 2011. The workshop explored the ethical & legal challenges facing policy-makers & practitioners working in the defence & security sectors as they manage the development & application of new technological capabilities, part of which related to drones. A PaCCS (Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research, and connected to the Research Councils and DSTL) Policy Briefing Note based on discussions, was published later in 2016. It was entitled The governance of unmanned aerial vehicles in defence and security and was authored by PaCCS External Champion, Dr Tristram Riley-Smith. Impact: Instrumental. The University in general, and ICCS in particular, has a strong relationship with DSTL and Dr Chris Wyatt is liaising with them on the themes of maritime, Third Offset - an important policy for drones - and deterrence. Dr Wyatt and Professor Schulte both attended the DSTL consultation meeting on deterrence at Lancaster University in February 2017. DTSL representatives at the meeting took extensive notes and can provide written evidence of the importance of those contributions. The activity is synergistically impactful.
Collaborator Contribution DSTL has always been committed to the relationship and individual members of staff we have dealt with have always been helpful and approachable. For the University, involvement in the Analysis Support Construct has been an important indicator of the seriousness with which the research has been taken. We meet with representatives on an ongoing basis. It should be noted that DSTL is an NDPB of the MOD and, as such, any impact accruing there will be classified.
Impact They have been present at events and we have shared our findings with them, both alongside and through the Integrator Team. DSTL colleagues have also been present at conferences, such as at KCL in 2014 and Portsdown West in 2017. The first concerned Wyatt's paper on Drone Stirkes in Yemen and the second Wyatt's paper comparing 1920's Air Control with contemporary drone use in North and South Waziristan. The latter has been written up and submitted to the Journal of Strategic Studies.
Start Year 2013
 
Description APPG 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 16th June 2015, a delegation from the ICCS, including Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Professor David Dunn and Dr Talat Farooq (Honorary Research Fellow) presented findings from 'The Political Effects of UAVs' to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones (APPG) in Westminster. The APPG meeting, the first of the new parliament, was chaired by Baroness Stern. Impact: Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Conference at Royal Aeronautical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The research team on the Political Effects of UAVs project presented their interim findings at a day-long conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society on Friday 12th June 2015, attended by academics, policymakers, members of parliament and journalists. Impact: Conceptual and Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Defence Committee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Chris Wyatt and Professor Wheeler wrote the submission for the Institute for Conflict, Co-operation and Security to the House of Commons Defence Committee enquiry on Remotely Piloted Air Systems. The submission was published in Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - Current and Future UK Use, Tenth Report of Session 2013-14, Volume II Written Evidence, 25 March 2014, Ev W124 and part of the submission was reported in the recommendations. The Government agreed with that recommendation in its response to the Defence Committee. In House of Commons Defence Committee - Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - current and future UK use: Government Response to the Committee's Tenth Report of Session 2013-14, Sixth Special Report of Session 2014-15, HC 611, 29 July 2014, the Government writes, on page 12, that: 'The Government addresses this recommendation in the detailed response to Recommendation 8. We acknowledge the need to carefully review and update laws, particularly around personal privacy, as Unmanned or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are more commonly used.' In their response to Recommendation 8, on page 5, the Government stated that: 'The Working Group meets throughout the year' and the 'key issues' of 'Public perception, privacy, data protection' have been 'identified as priorities to be addressed'. Impact: Strong Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Defence Committee - National Security Strategy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Along with Paul Schulte, Professor Nicholas J Wheeler, and Professor Stefan Wolff, ICCS put forward written evidence to the November 2014 Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. This had a role in informing the debate on unmanned systems. Impact: Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Defence Committee - Remote Control 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professors Wheeler and Wolff have also submitted written evidence to the Defence Committee Inquiry: Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - current and future UK use Part of this written evidence was cited in Paragraphs 130 and 131 of the main report (Vol. 1) and appeared in Recommendation 16 of the Report, being acknowledged also in the Government's response. Impact: Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Drones engagement work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor David H. Dunn and I presented findings from our Open Society Foundations Project to professional practitioners and a member of the US State Department at the Stimson Centre, Washington, D.C. The discussion has contributed to the 30,000 word report we are preparing for the Open Society Foundations on the legality and legtimacy of armed drone use in a European, transatlantic, and global context.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Integrator-related 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Throughout 2014 and 2015, Dr Chris Wyatt attended every meeting of the Science and Security Programme Integrator Group, to which the project belonged. ESRC and DSTL staff were present, along with the Warwick University-based Integrator Team. Dr Wyatt presented findings and impact to the full Group. These were fed back to the ESRC for onward transmission and to DSTL. Dr Wyatt presented his research findings to the final conference at RUSI on 14 September 2015. Impact: Instrumental
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description Joint Committee on Human Rights 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 18th November 2015, the Joint Committee on Human Rights published written evidence submitted by Professors David Dunn and Nicholas Wheeler in response to the call issued by the inquiry on the UK Government's policy on the use of drones for targeted killing. On 9th December, the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights took oral evidence from Sir David Omand (Chair of the Birmingham Policy Commission) and Jennifer Gibson (Commissioner). Impact: Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description KCL Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In 24 November 2014, Dr Wyatt shared the interim findings of the Yemen work stream, dataset for 2010-2012 to a conference on Science and Security at Kings College, London. Impact: Conceptual and Instrumental.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Law, norms, force and drones engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The ICCS project team (Wheeler, Dunn, Davies, and Sabur) presented to the ICCS-APPG Drones Study Group a paper on 'The European Position on the Legality of Armed Drone Use'. It was held in a House of Commons Meeting Room on 6 March 2019 and it sparked a lot of debate and interest. The discussion is feeding into the longer report and book that the project team are developing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Law, norms, force and drones engagement work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The ICCS project team (Wheeler, Dunn, Davies, and Sabur) presented to the ICCS-APPG Drones Study Group a paper on 'US-UK Convergence on the Use of Armed Drones outside of Recognized Armed Conflicts'. It was held in a House of Commons Meeting Room on 11 June 2019 and it sparked a lot of debate and interest. The discussion is feeding into the longer report and book that the project team are developing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The UK Reaper: 10 years on 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The October workshop offered an opportunity to bring together academics, security experts, military practitioners and NGO activists to reflect on how the Reaper has been deployed in UK military operations, and to look ahead to the next 10 years. The discussion addressed the public and political impact of drones, the legal and ethical considerations, and considered the impact of the developing technology on UK policy over the next 10 years. The event led to a workshop report and a short film.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/government-society/centres/iccs/news/2018/04/reaper-event.aspx