Locating the Man Who Never Was: Understanding Covert Action in International Relations
6 Sept 2016
Covert action is often associated with the CIA and the Cold War. In reality, states from the UK to France, Russia to Israel have long relied on deniable and indirect interventionism to achieve policy goals. This remains the case today. From Russian intervention in Ukraine to Western activity in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, special operations and covert action continue to appeal to policymakers.
Covert action has long been an important tool in a state’s foreign and security policy arsenal, yet its necessarily secretive nature means it remains a controversial and little understood activity. This one-day workshop explores covert action from a variety of perspectives to examine when, why, and how states use such means.
Topics for discussion include (but are not limited to):
States’ approaches to and understandings of covert action
The role and purpose of covert action; when and why states use it
Types of covert action (political action; economic warfare; special operations; deception; proxy warfare etc.)
Defining covert action
The relationship between intelligence and covert action
Oversight, coordination and management of covert action
Appraising covert action
History of covert action; lessons from the past
Please send a 250 word abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org by 29 April. A provisional programme will be drawn up by the end of May.