Boris Johnson announced in mid-January that the armed forces was to take charge of limiting migrants crossing the English Channel. The announcement was described by The Times as one of a series of populist announcements by the embattled PM to save his premiership.
Soon after, the Defence Select Committee announced that it was to scrutinize the decision and sought submissions from interested parties:
“The Government’s decision that the Royal Navy should take over operations in the Channel has taken Parliament (and it seems the MOD) by surprise. There are significant strategic and operational implications surrounding this commitment which need to be explored.”
Shockingly, both the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office refused to submit evidence or send ministers to answer questions from the Committee.
Our full submission to the Committee on this issue – looking in particular at how drones are often seen as a ‘solution’ – is available on their website, while here we offer a short summary.
- Drone Wars argues that the military should not be involved in day-to-day border control operations in the absence of any threat of military invasion. This role is primarily a policing and enforcement role centred on dealing with civilians which should be conducted by civilian agencies. Military forces are not principally trained or equipped to deal with humanitarian or policing situations. The UK borders are not a war zone, and civilians attempting to enter and leave the country are not armed combatants.