Military operations

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on military operations. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.
15.12.2015ISIS/Daesh: the military response in Iraq and Syria
US-led air strikes against ISIS continue in Iraq and Syria, alongside a training programme to build the capacity of Iraqi security forces. The UK has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since September 2014 and has been providing training assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Following a vote in Parliament, the UK recently expanded its air campaign into Syria. But will it make a difference?
11.12.2015The EU's response to the migration crisis: recent developments
This note provides a brief update on recent developments in the EU's response to the migration crisis, including the EU's military operation against people smuggling in the Mediterranean. Documents related to the EU's response to the migration crisis are due to be debated in the House on 14 December.
01.12.2015Legal basis for UK military action in Syria
What is the legal significance of the November 2015 UN Security Council Resolution for the UK and other states using force in Iraq and/or Syria?
30.11.2015Syria: a reading list
This is a reading list that covers the situation in Syria, the complexity of battling Syrian groups and of outside interventions, the legal implications of any UK intervention and other aspects that will form part of one of the House's most significant debates of recent years.
19.11.2015A brief guide to previous British defence reviews
This note is a short guide to the main recommendations of the defence reviews that have taken place since the end of the Second World War, and whether those recommendations subsequently lived up to events.
27.10.2015Afghanistan: back on the agenda?
As the Taliban has made gains and ISIS has a foothold in Afghanistan, the US has announced that it will not withdraw its troops so quickly as planned.
20.10.2015UK drone attack in Syria: legal questions
The UK drone attack in Syria that killed two British men raises many legal questions. Was it self-defence? What about the laws of war? How does human rights law apply? What is the legal significance of the attack?
11.09.2015Overview of military drones used by the UK Armed Forces
Remotely Piloted or Unmanned Aircraft, more commonly known as drones, have been described as the most contentious conventional weapons system currently in use. This note provides an overview of their use by the UK armed forces.
07.08.2015NATO's military response to Russia
NATO adopted a Readiness Action Plan in response to the 2014 Russia-Ukraine crisis. This note explains the main elements with a focus on the UK military contribution.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
24.03.2014Britain and the First World War: Parliament, Empire and Commemoration
The centenary of the start of the First World War will be marked in 2014. Britain entered the conflict in August 1914 and remained at war until November 1918.
01.11.2013Debate on 7 November: The Armed Forces and Legal Challenge
This Note looks at some of the issues raised by legal challenges to the Armed Forces.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
01.12.1990Proliferation control
This POSTnote reviews technical aspects relevant to improving international control over the spread of sophisticated weaponry. POSTnote 19. POST. 1990.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
13.09.2011Parliament's role in conflict decisions - government response to the Committee's eighth report.
Government response. Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
10.05.2011Parliament's role in conflict decisions.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
08.09.2010Delivering multi-role tanker capability.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
27.07.2010The comprehensive approach: the point of war is not just to win but to make a better peace.
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
09.03.2010The Comprehensive Approach: the point of war is not just to win but to make a better peace.
Defence Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
14.12.2011MUNITIONS WORKERS IN THE WORLD WARS
That this House commends all those who served in Royal Ordnance factories and privately-owned munitions factories across the UK during the First and Second World Wars; honours their ...
02.11.2011THEFT OF METALS FROM WAR MEMORIALS AND PLACES OF WORSHIP
That this House notes with concern the recent spate of reports of metal thefts from war memorials and places of worship; denounces recent thefts such as the four foot bronze statue ...
31.10.2011WORLD WAR MEMORIALS
That this House deplores the desecration of memorials to the fallen in the Great War and subsequent wars; urges councils and the police to prosecute vandals who damage such memorials; ...
27.10.2011DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS RENEWAL
That this House notes that the British Army maintains depleted uranium (DU) munitions within its arsenal and that 2.3 tonnes of DU rounds were fired by UK forces during the 1991 and ...
26.10.2011INQUIRY INTO UK-LIBYA RELATIONS
That this House urges the Government to initiate a full independent inquiry into all financial and military relationships between the UK and Libya in the past 20 years.

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses