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Royal navy strategic studies centre (RNSSC)
Locations / bases & stations

Royal navy strategic studies centre (RNSSC)

The Royal Navy's hub for academic and intellectual engagement.

Join an RNSSC fellowship programme

Our Mission

The Royal Navy’s Hub academic and intellectual engagement 

To strengthen the conceptual component of fighting power. Established in December 2019, the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre (RNSSC) serves as the 'think tank' for the Service. By harnessing internal and external intellect and progressive thought, we work to guide and strengthen future decision making and shape the fleet of today and tomorrow.

We will inform policy and strategy decisions by:

  • Appraising the Royal Navy on contemporary thought
  • Instilling a philosophy of critical thinking and challenge
  • Harnessing the intellectual capital of our people
Read the 2023/24 Annual Report

"Our role is to inform, not to decide, and we do just that. We don’t provide the ‘staff answer’, we provide something different – an independent, challenging perspective, always based in academic rigour. If success can be said to be measured in demand"

Dr Kevin Rowlands, Captain – Head of the RNSSC

Our Work

The RNSSC works simultaneously on many different topics, including long-term critical thinking, quick-turnaround reactive analysis and 'red teaming' of emerging ideas and concepts.

Our main customer is the Navy’s senior leadership who are looking for products, presentations, and events to inform the Royal Navy’s strategy and policy development.  However, no-one has a monopoly on good ideas and much of what we do is 'bottom up' .

The Advisory Committee Our Advisory Committee, which is chaired by the Royal Navy’s Director of Strategy and Policy, brings together leading figures from related spheres.Providing expertise in support of the Centre's direction of work, their diligent and ongoing efforts maximise the effectiveness and impact of our work.

The inaugural meeting was held on the 22nd March 2022 in the Admiralty Board Room in Whitehall.  It was an opportunity to introduce the Committee members to the RNSSC, our mission, structure and current work. An in-depth conversation was held about direction, with the Committee able to offer their suggestions and advice for the future work of the Centre.


The RNSSC is powered by its Community of Fellows which is made up of four separate programmes - the First Sea Lord Fellows, the Richmond Fellows, Associate Fellows and Visiting Fellows.

We run different fellowship programmes, which together form the Community of Fellows and provide the power for the RNSSC’s mission.

Find out more
A Royal Navy officer peers to see his loved ones
My hugely positive experience centred on a culture of innovation and collaboration that helps to inform the strategic decision-making process. The 1SL Fellowship has facilitated fruitful exchanges of ideas, knowledge and perspectives, and I have had the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research, leveraging the diverse expertise of my cohort
Cdr Matthew Court RN, 1SL Fellow

Matthew Court



The RNSSC is running a monthly lecture series on maritime strategy topics.

Academic experts challenge our perceptions on the key problems faced by the Royal Navy today, and start to outline what might be faced in the future.

Recent lectures have included;

  • Jan: “Building the Royal Navy’s Command Climates. Reflections from the Conduct and Culture Cell” - Col Tony de Raya MBE.
  • Feb: “A Game of Birds and Wolves” – Mr Simon Parkin. A look at Western Approaches Tactical Unit and the wargame that won the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • Mar: “The Strategic Context of the Eastern Mediterranean” – Dr Ziya Meral, RNSSC Visiting Fellow.
  • Apr: “Losing a War of Attrition” – Dr Richard Hammond, RNSSC Visiting Fellow.
  • Jun: “The Geopolitics of the Arctic” – Mr Samuel Jardine, Director of Research, London Politica.
  • Jul: “The Art of Strategy; Ends, Ways and Means” – Mr Benjamin Bilski.
  • Sep: “Black Sea and the Russo-Ukrainian War” - Prof Beatrice Heuser and Anders Puck Neilson

  • Oct: “Capital Ships and D-Day” - Dr Tim Benbow

  • Nov: “ROK and the UK Indo-Pacific Tilt” – Dr Greg Kennedy