Whitehall Report launch: Hitting the Target? How New Capabilities Are Shaping International Intervention

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While the US drone-strikes programme is under renewed scrutiny, remotely piloted aircraft are but one element of modern precision-strike capability. Military action in Mali, Libya and elsewhere have demonstrated the continuing, critical reliance on advanced technological capabilities in modern Western intervention.

This raises a number of important questions about the thresholds for military intervention, the way it is carried out, and its consequences; in particular, whether ethical, legal, and policy frameworks have kept up with the pace of technological change, and how this affects the behaviour of those responsible for policy and for its implementation on the ground. Although intervention is a political act, and many of the activities that constitute contemporary military intervention are not new, some argue that unmanned capabilities will lead to a shift in the ease and conduct of warfare.

At this discussion event, to mark the launch of a new Whitehall Report, 'Hitting the Target?', a panel of experts will debate the practice of intervention in the context of emerging unmanned intelligence and precision-strike capabilities. What - if anything - has changed, and what does this mean for the West?

A panel discussion featuring:

  • Prof Sir Michael Aaronson (moderator): Executive Director of the Centre for International Intervention (cii) at the University of Surrey
  • Lieutenant General (Rtd) Sir Graeme Lamb: Former British Army officer and Commander, Field Army
  • Dr Lou Perrotta: Formerly of the UK Government's inter-departmental Stabilisation Unit
  • Dr Jamie Shea: Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO

This Whitehall Report is a joint publication with cii – the Centre for International Intervention – at the University of Surrey, which researches the motivations and consequences of international intervention. It builds on a successful two-day workshop on this topic in July 2012, sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey.

The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

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