Tim Edmunds and Scott Edwards submitted evidence to the Defence Committee inquiry ‘Operation Isotrope: the use of the military to counter migrant crossings’. The inquiry considered the role of the Armed Forces in countering Channel crossings by migrants (Op Isotrope), and the wider implications for Defence, including what assets will be used, who will pay for them, how success will be measured and what the chain of command and reporting arrangements will be.
The evidence, titled ‘Reinventing the wheel? Evidence on role of the military in countering migrant crossings‘ argued that the Royal Navy was unlikely to play a transformative role, and that its role should be to continue to provide facilitating capacities and assistance to Border Force and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) operations, in the context of UK maritime security architectures more generally.
To support this suggestion, it laid out the role of the UK’s current architecture with the Joint Maritime Security Centre at the center, as well as capacity constraints given the RN’s other extant and potential operational commitments. The evidence also focused on the operational limitations brought about by legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other maritime conventions, and ethical considerations regarding the treatment of migrant/refugee boats in the Channel;
The evidence was featured in the resultant report released by the committee, particularly in sections emphasizing the current architectures, current RN commitments, and legal obligations.