As an assistant professor at King's College London's Defence Studies Department I am conducting research on non-state security and violence. This includes civil-security sector relations, non-state actors in war as well as hybrid security providers in transnational environments.
Areas of Interest
- Socio-political order outside the state
- Civil-Military Relations and Security Sector Reform in the Middle East
- Commercialization of security
- The laws and ethics of going to war / of conduct in war
- Remote Warfare by human and technological surrogate
I am the co-founder of the Near East Centre of Security and Strategy (NECSS) at King's as an interdisciplinary centre of research excellence promoting research on a wide array of issues related to security and strategic affairs in the Near East. I am also the co-founder of the Private Military and Security Research Group (PMSRG) at King's as a research group bringing together policy makers, academics and industry representatives to tackle the core issues relating to the commercialization of military and security services.
Currently, I am in the process of writing a book on "Surrogate Warfare" together with Dr Jean Marc Rickli. This book will conceptually explore the phenomenon of warfare by surrogate – namely a patron’s externalization, partially or wholly, of the strategic, operational or tactical burden of warfare to a human or technological surrogate with the principal intent of minimizing the patron’s burden of warfare. Thereby, this book does not intend to narrow its focus on particular case studies of ‘barbarian’ force multipliers in Antiquity, the medieval mercenaries, or the reliance of colonial powers on indigenous forces; let alone limit the conceptualization to the proxy wars of the Cold War era. In essence, this book looks at the strategy of externalizing the burden of warfare and the intrinsic trade-off between substitution and control. The degree of substitution of the patron’s burden of warfare correlates with an increase of surrogate autonomy and thereby the patron’s loss of control. Therefore, warfare by surrogate might not necessarily be the panacea for the strategic and operational challenges of the 21st century. However, in order to be able to make an informed decision about the utility and ethical implications of surrogate warfare, the concept needs to be adequately conceptualized beyond the mere empirical analysis of historical case studies.