License to Bomb? UK Troops Can Reportedly Operate Without MPs Authorisation If They’re Helping US


For example, British drone operators can carry out airstrikes in countries where they are not supposed to operate in the first place. A 2016 guideline on the matter provided them with this opportunity. There’s just one caveat: they need allies, perhaps like the US, to bomb the same country.

The latest edition of the chief of defence staff (CDS) directive has enabled UK servicemen and women to participate in military operations in those countries, where London has not officially taken part in any operations or engaged targets not sanctioned by parliament, the charity Reprieve has stated citing the previously confidential Ministry of Defence document. The latter was reportedly released due to a freedom of information (FoI) request filed by the organisation.

The CDS regulates the engagement of British troops, including so-called “embedded personnel”, UK servicemen included in a foreign country’s units. Such embedded individuals are exempt from the requirements applied to British troops in terms of who and where they can engage, according to the charity.

The 2014 CDS limited the ability of British personnel to operate outside the boundaries outlined by parliament, for example, embedded UK personnel could only help US drone units in Afghanistan and only with ministerial approval. In the 2016 edition of the guidelines, embedded individuals were no longer limited geographically as long as they had “specific approval, which…

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