Centre for Defence and International Security Studies

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CDISS website

The Centre for Defence and International Security Studies (CDiSS) was a private military think-tank which was set up in 1990 and originally based at Lancaster University. Blogger Charlie Pottins gives the following background on CDiSS:

In 1974, amid rumours of coup plots and generals talking about counter-insurgency there was an out-of-term seminar at Lancaster about how the military and police could cope with civil unrest and disorder. By then I was working on a major construction site and most students would have been on holiday, but we managed to get someone into the conference, and the full story, (including how one "expert" regarded dissident Labour councillors at Clay Cross, Derbyshire as "terrorists"), on to the front-page of Workers Press. Leaving work that evening I was very proud to see my comrades at the site gate selling the paper with its headline about the "civil war" plans at Lancaster!

"General" Reynolds eventually succeeded Charles F. Carter, and in 1990 the University got its Centre for Defence and International Strategic Studies, based in Cartmel College. Professor Martin Edmonds became its director. His particular interests are weapons systems and the Far East. As an example, a report on South Korea's first arms exporting deal, supplying electronic and other componets for Turkish artillery, says "The arms providers, Samsung Techwin, were congratulated by Martin Edmonds, director at Lancaster University's Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, who said South Korea's 'extravagant efforts obviously have borne fruit'.[1]

In January 2004, the CDISS decamped from Lancaster to Henley on Thames, which is handier for London and probably more congenial for Home Counties brasshats. It's new address is Centre for Defence & International Security Studies, The Court House, Northfield End, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2JNTel: +44 (0) 1491 843134Fax: +44 (0) 1491 412082 Email: info@cdiss.orgInternet: http://www.cdiss.org/ The publications director is a former political researcher from Lancaster University, Pauline Elliott.

Edmonds has now been replaced by Major-General(retd) Jonathan Bailey, former director general of the Army's Development and Doctrine, particularly concerned with weapons procurement. CDiSS says its mission is "to be a catalyst for innovative focus on a range of defence and security issues and to foster harmony between academia, government and industry in order to promote unity of effort". http://www.cdiss.org/

Apart from the international arms trade another interesting part of the CDISS is a programme on "revolutionary warfare and counter-insurgency". In my day blimps and Daily Telegraph readers would have had a fit if someone told them Lancaster had fostered a department teaching "revolutionary warfare"'! But times change, and this programme aims " to identify the successes and failures of strategies and tactics deployed against revolutionaries and terrorists by democratic states and to make recommendations for both the present and the future".

The programme is headed by Colonel Richard Cousens, former Director of Defence Studies for the British Army, described as "a Counter Revolutionary Warfare specialist with practical experience as an infantry officer. He completed seven operational tours in Northern Ireland with the Light Infantry and served in Hong Kong and Brunei with the Gurkhas. He led the Counter Insurgency instructional team at the British Army Staff College and has studied the relationship between Peacekeeping and Counter Revolutionary Warfare theory. He has had command experience in the counter insurgency environment as a platoon, company and battalion commander."

All of this must make him just the man to impress one of the Centre's associates, Joan Hoey, of the Economist Intelligence Unit.. As "Joan Phillips" she was a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Living Marxism's Balkan expert ... and secretary of the RCP's front Campaign Against Militarism. Unfortunately the list of members and associates seems to have disappeared from the CDSS website, but when I last saw it, most of her fellow associates appeared to be former NATO and allied military personnel. Hoey and her comrades used to sneer at "laptop bombardiers". Now she can rub shoulders happily with real brigadiers.[2]



Former staff


Web: cdiss.org
Internet Archive holdings: cdiss.org


  1. http://www.caat.org.uk/information/magazine/1001/shorts.php
  2. Charlei Pottins Trespass on the Corporate Campus RandomPottins blog, 15 October 2005.
  3. CDiSS Board, accessed February 2007.