New study-hub for future defence research launched

The Royal Navy is inviting the finest military, security and intelligence academics and think-tank analysts to help shape the Fleet of tomorrow.

It opened the new Strategic Studies Centre in Portsmouth Naval Base – a hub for the very latest thinking and ideas surrounding the Navy’s contribution to defence and security in the 21st-Century.

Research carried out under its banner is intended to guide future decision making when it comes to naval/defence strategy and policy.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine performed the official opening honours on behalf of Britain’s most senior sailor, First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, who has established the centre as part of the Navy’s sweeping transformation agenda.

“This collaboration between the Royal Navy, academia and strategic thinkers will allow us to harness a much greater diversity of ideas and exploit them, not just for the Navy’s benefit but ultimately for Defence and the nation as a whole.” Said Admiral Radakin

Both the Army and RAF have similar initiatives, but not the Senior Service – despite its long-standing reputation for studying and learning from operations around the globe – until now.

I am delighted that the RN Strategic Studies Centre is today becoming a reality. The world that we live in is moving faster than ever before and we have a responsibility to remain ahead of our adversaries in terms of conceptual thought as well as delivery on operations.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin

The Centre is co-located with the Naval Historical Branch which will continue to analyse the past to support present-day operations and guide actions and decisions particularly at the broader ‘big picture’ level.

By better linking up with the academic world, the Navy assesses that the intellect and thinking will stimulate greater debate and lead to a better-informed service, allowing it to tap into the latest research and studies relating to naval/maritime/amphibious operations – as well as injecting front-line experience and its own research findings back into academic studies.

“There are fellowships at Oxford, Masters and PhDs funded by the Ministry of Defence, research papers put before the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, but it’s all rather dispersed,” explained Commander Andrew Norgate of the Naval Staff.

“We want to further harness the Royal Navy’s academic muscle and links. It’s there already, but it’s not necessarily shared with the rest of the Navy – or academia.

“The Naval Historical Branch analyses the past through to the present. The Strategic Studies Centre will build on this looking at the present and future.”

The centre is located in Portsmouth Naval Base and has a permanent staff of four sailors/civilians but the location will allow greater use of secondees and reservists. It will focus on academic awareness, studies and research papers, but a longer-term goal is for the centre to partner with other leading institutions to organise conferences and events.