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Centre for Defence Studies

The Centre for Defence Studies (CDS) is a world-leading centre for defence and security research, thought-leadership, consultancy and executive development. The Director of the Centre, Professor John Gearson, is a professor of National Security Studies at King's College London, and spent several years as the principal defence policy advisor to the Defence Select Committee and as a Parliamentary Clerk to the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee. Before his time at Parliament, he was Director of the MA in Defence Studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the UK Defence Academy.

CDS has three decades of experience in delivering bespoke projects for defence and security clients in the UK and overseas, in both the public and private sectors. In 1990 CDS was established by a grant from the UK Ministry of Defence, and the support of the late Sir Michael Quinlan, its then Permanent-Under Secretary. Now, CDS is now a fully independent research centre at King's College London. In its overlapping areas of activity – research, consultancy and practitioner education – CDS draws on a core academic staff and a deep network of associates and former practitioners, as well as its distinguished cohort of visiting fellows and visiting professors.

There are four objectives at CDS:

  • Produce interdisciplinary research to advance the fields of defence studies and national security studies;
  • Host events and initiatives to generate greater public understanding of defence and security issues;
  • Deliver tailored executive education and development courses to defence and security practitioners from the UK and overseas;
  • Provide analysis and consultancy services to clients in the defence and security sectors.

CDS currently delivers a variety of bespoke international education and training programmes in: counter-terrorism; intelligence; strategic analysis; foresight; national security studies; and the use of evidence-based analysis in public policy. These include both MA-level accredited programmes running over several months, as well as shorter, more intensive courses for practitioner groups at national level. CDS works closely with clients to identify the most appropriate content and delivery style for each of its programmes.

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