Director, Security and Risk Research, University of Portsmouth

Professor Peter Lee is the Director, Security and Risk Research, and Professor of Applied Ethics, at the University of Portsmouth. His specialist academic area is applied ethics, and his research spans the human aspects of drone operations in military, policing and wider security contexts, the politics and ethics of war and military intervention, and the politics of identity.

Current projects that he is facilitating address interventions to protect young people at risk of exploitation, the wellbeing of police online child sex crime investigators, and firefighter safety. In recent years Dr Lee’s research has explored the ethical, resilience and moral injury dimensions of remotely piloted drone operations with the Royal Air Force Reaper squadrons for his book, Reaper Force: Inside Britain’s Drone Wars (2018).

He is currently an Expert Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and a member of Hampshire Constabulary Strategic Independent Advisory Group. From 2008 to 2017 he taught ethics at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, and from 2001 to 2008 he served as a Royal Air Force chaplain.

Personal webpage



  • Peter Lee (2018) Reaper Force: Inside Britain’s Drone Wars (London: John Blake Publishing)

Journal articles

  • Peter Lee, ‘The Distance Paradox: Reaper, the Human Dimension of Remote Warfare, and Future Challenges for the RAF’, Air Power Review, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Autumn/Winter 2018) pp. 106-131.
  • Tom Smith, Peter Lee, Vladimir Rauta & Sameera Khalfey (2018) Understanding the Syria Babel: Moral Perspectives on the Syrian Conflict from Just War to Jihad, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2018.1523358.
  • Peter Lee, ‘Heroes and Cowards: Genealogy, Subjectivity and War in the Twenty-First Century’, Genealogy, Vol. 2 (2018) pp. 1-14.
  • Peter Lee, ‘The Drone Operator and Identity: Exploring the Construction of Ethical Subjectivity in Drone Discourses’, Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines, Vol. 9, No. 2 (2017) pp. 62-78.
  • Peter Lee, ‘A Better State of Peace? Syria, Military Intervention and Just War Moralities in Conflict’, Pacem, Vol. 18, No. 2 (2015) pp. 5-28.

Book chapter

  • Peter Lee, ‘Armed Drones: Automation, autonomy, and ethical decision-making’ in Ryan Kiggins, Ed., The Political Economy of Robots: Prospects for Peace and Prosperity in the Automated 21st Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Back to top