Research themes

A US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat air vehicle fires a missile

A US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat air vehicle fires a missile

The activities of our think tank are organised around several cutting edge research themes.

These currently include:

  • Sustainable security
  • Remote-control warfare
  • Forecasting insecurity and conflict

There is a particular focus within our think tank on the contrasting paradigms of sustainable security and remote-control warfare. Sustainable security is a framework for thinking about security based on understanding integrated security trends and developing preventative responses. The central premise of sustainable security is that you cannot successfully control all the consequences of insecurity, but must work to resolve the causes. Remote-control warfare, on the other hand, is a paradigm that has emerged since the war on terror that enables warfare to be actioned at a distance by relying on ‘smart’ technologies and light-footprint deployments, such as armed drones and special forces. The problem is that it allows actions to be approved that would never be considered using conventional military means; yet the consequences and risks of those actions are not being adequately considered.

We are also developing tools to enable the accurate forecasting of insecurity and conflict. Work carried out under this research theme has included undertaking political and security risk assessments for Greece and generating forecasts for insecurity across West, Central and Southern Africa. An important part of this research will involve revisiting forecasts to allow us to ascertain how accurate our models have been.

The Open Briefing think tank acts as a research centre for our analysts, through which they can seek external funding to undertake occasional special projects in response to a need to drive policy change in a particular area or raise awareness of a crucial emerging issue. These cutting edge projects are defined by research, collaboration and advocacy, and go to the very heart of the way we think about and attempt to ensure our security. The first of these projects secured funding from the Remote Control project to produce our ongoing series of monthly intelligence briefings on remote-control warfare.

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