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Rob Hall

PhD Candidate

Contact details


Rob is a Royal Air Force officer awarded a Chief of the Air Staff's Fellowship to conduct part-time PhD research. Most recently, he served as the UK's Senior National Approval Authority for surface-based air defences in Poland at the Air Operations Centre in Warsaw, as Chief Current Operations at HQ NATO Air Command during the Ukraine Conflict, and as the UK’s first resident Defence Attaché to Moldova. He graduated with a BSc Econ (Hons) in International Politics with German and MSc Econ in Intelligence Studies with Russian from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. 

Research Interests

  • Intelligence, surveillance and political philosophy/sociology.


Title: 'Battling Imperceptible Threats: Surveillance Policy and Contemporary Operations’.


Rob's project explores the impact of surveillance theory and policy on contemporary operations. Part one outlines key themes and issues, including the lack of agreed definitions of surveillance, as well as excessive scholarly focus on the employment of surveillance as a means of social control. Part one also argues that the field is deprived of alternative conceptual and methodological frameworks for the study of surveillance ethics and oversight. This will inform subsequent research into how perspectives such as social constructivism - exploring the impact of social norms on theory and policy - hold promise as a conceptual bridge between sociology, surveillance and international relations. Part two assesses surveillance policy in selected countries and considers how alternative models might be developed to improve policy, as well as legislative and ethical oversight of surveillance operations. Part three applies research findings to case studies on the role of surveillance in tackling migration in the US, UK and Australia. Migration constitutes a growing issue for the international community, often derived from conflict or displacement, with the role of surveillance in delivering positive humanitarian outcomes largely unexplored. In doing so, the project seeks to break the conceptual and regulatory deadlock that has persisted in the field of surveillance, and connects alternative models for ethics and oversight to contemporary operations for the first time.


  • Professor Greg Kennedy
  • Dr Christina Goulter