Category: Modern Conflict

Conflicts are getting more complex, characterised by the participation of multiple internal and international actors, use of wide-area explosives in urban areas, and longer time-scales. This disproportionately kills and harms civilian populations; today, 90% of conflict deaths are civilians, up from 50% during the Second World War.

States like the UK, looking to address security threats and vulnerabilities overseas, are increasingly turning to the use of remote force, technology, and partner assistance. We are seeing an increasingly permissive environment for the use of force, with almost no accountability for civilian harm. Operating in this context requires a significant re-evaluation of the methods by which the UK and its allies utilises its military, and addresses insecurity and instability. This is of particular importance, as evidence shows that current approaches emphasising short-term militaristic responses, and are inadequate and counter-productive; addressing symptoms of conflict rather than its root causes.