Prof. Nicholas Wheeler will be leading on the theoretical perspectives of conflict transformation and resolution; he will also be the lead individual for the case study on Pakistan.
Prof. Wheeler has developed his insight into the theoretical perspectives of conflict transformation as part of the three-year research project ‘The Challenges to Trust-building in Nuclear Worlds’, led by Professor Nicholas Wheeler at the University of Birmingham and supported by the RCUK’s programme ‘Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World’. Increasing focus in political psychology and International Relations has been paid to the narratives produced within and between societies and how these narratives open up new ways of understanding questions of (in)security, cooperation, and conflict in global politics (Monroe, 2002; Bell, 2006; Fattah & Fierke, 2009; Hammack & Pilecki, 2012; Head & Wheeler 2012). He will bring this theoretical perspective to the debate on drones.
In collaboration with Research Associate, Dr Talat Farooq, Prof. Wheeler will be building the empirical case on Pakistan.
Prof. David Hastings Dunn will be leading on the theoretical perspectives relating to the Airpower theory and its application to drone warfare. Additionally, he will be the lead individual for the case study on Afghanistan.
Underlying the increased use of drones is an assumption among the United States, the United Kingdom, and key allies that this advance in Science and Technology renders the large deployment of ground forces redundant (Herold, 2010; Shane, 2012). Prof. Hastings Dunn will lead on the investigation that considers how their increasing reliance on drones (for both reconnaissance and combat) to target opponents, their supporters, and supply networks over large geographical areas at low economic cost and very low risk to the lives of combatant forces is affecting traditional conceptions of the use of airpower. The need for more systematic engagement with the implications of drone technology is also borne out by the fact that this technology is rapidly proliferating beyond the United States.
Prof. Dunn has recently published an article in Foreign Affairs which addresses the novelty of the use of drones in terms of Airpower, and its role as a ‘disruptive technology’- JOURNAL ART. Prof. Hastings Dunn’s research fits largely within the areas of US Foreign and Security Policy, Strategic and Security Studies and, Diplomacy and Statecraft.
In collaboration with a Research Associate, Chris Wyatt, Prof. Hastings Dunn will build the empirical case on Afghanistan.
Prof. Stefan Wolff will be leading the theoretical perspectives in relation to Counter-Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism efforts (the umbrella under which the drone strikes take place). By examining the different case-specific positions of the US/UK and their allies vis-à-vis insurgent and terrorist networks, Prof. Wolff will lead the exploration of the effects of drone warfare on both intrastate and interstate cooperation and conflict and how the interrelationship between them affects international security gains (or losses). Prof. Wolff will additionally examine the extent to which the use of armed drones for counter-terrorist purposes is governed by a different set of principles and effects compared to its use in a (simultaneous) counter-insurgency campaign. While across all four cases close links exist between insurgent and terrorist networks on the ground, the position of the United States and United Kingdom is different.
In collaboration with a Research Associate Chris Wyatt, Prof. Wolff will build the empirical case on Yemen.
Dr Talat Farooq is a Research Associate assisting Prof. Wheeler in undertaking the empirical case study of Pakistan.
Talat holds an M.Phil in American Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and an MA in English literature from Karachi University, Pakistan. The focus of her ongoing PhD at the University of Leicester pertains to US-Pakistan relations in the 1990s. Before coming to Leicester in 2010, Talat was Visiting Faculty at Bahria University and Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Simultaneously, she was worked as executive editor for a research based journal, Criterion. She is also a columnist for one of Pakistan’s leading English newspapers, The News International.
Lindsay is a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Conflict, Cooperation and Security and POLSIS. Her project focuses on how the technological advances in the military (distancing soldiers from the theatre of war) are affecting the ‘ideal type’ of warrior in the modern military by using a case study of drone pilots. The project highlights three elements that make the experiences of pilots of drones different from those of manned aircraft: Firstly, the intensity of surveillance prior to lethal attacks; secondly, the lack of physical risk to the pilot; thirdly, the experience of living concurrently military and civilian lives. The first of these is creating a new dynamic of simultaneous intimacy and distance; the second is challenging traditional conceptions of the ‘soldier’ (in opposition to the ‘civilian’, and potentially connected with high rates of PTSD in drone pilots), and the final, cycling between civilian and military lives, invites an investigation of this ‘borderland’ culture. Utilising a feminist framework, Lindsay’s research aims to illuminate the experiences of drone pilots as individuals who exist on a series of ‘borderlands’. These borderlands are identified as Masculine/Feminine, Civilian/Military, Intimacy/Distance, and Human/Machine.
Lindsay is also a research assistant at the institute working on the ESRC funded project: ‘The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States’ and the Birmingham Policy Commission (VI) ‘The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK’.
Osama Filali Naji
Ms Lindsay Clark