We address the changing character of war by analysing both the continuities and fresh permutations of war and armed conflict.

Our research themes have been strongly influenced by conflicts that continue to shape events in the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North Africa and central-South America. The seminar series has drawn attention to other thematic aspects of the programme’s interests in war’s changing character, from pseudo-state actors like Islamic State to nuclear armed aggressors like Russia, and from automated technologies to hybrid warfare, and from the tactical experience of war and the fortunes of conflict resolution.

Central to our research method is an interdisciplinary approach which employs the differing perspectives and expertise of a variety of disciplines: history, political science, international relations, philosophy, law, anthropology, development studies, economics, and computer science, among others.

Current Research Activity & PRIORITIES

Over the next four years, CCW will conduct research in a number of areas:

  • Support to specialists in the MOD on a variety of themes in the form of workshops or bespoke advisory work (such as ethical conduct in war; and protecting negotiations).

  • Education for officers of Permanent Joint Headquarters and Joint Forces Command with diverse themes (from critical thinking to political systems).

  • Nordic Baltic Defence and Security Seminars with the Ax:son Johnson Foundation (Sweden) and Norwegian MOD.

  • Lectures on the Changing Character of War for the Turkish Staff College, NATO Defence College, Netherlands Defence Academy, UK Defence Academy, Royal College of Defence, Studies, US Army War College, US Navy War College and Ecoles Militaires.

  • The Director will be in Qatar this year to give presentations to the Royal Air Force mission there; in Israel, to plan a ‘staff ride’ for the Royal College of Defence Studies and to make a documentary; in the United States for lectures on future war, resilience, and the Syrian War; in Canada, also to lecture on Syria; and visit other countries for similar activities.

  • Support to Development, Concepts and Doctrine in their research in regions (and regional conflicts), global strategic trends, future operating environment and future operating concept.

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Assistance and research into the Colombian peace process with additional professional education to assist the Colombian defence university transform to a post-war footing.

  • The Chevening Scholarship scheme, which brings Chinese military/ academics to Oxford to conduct a specific, short-term research project.

  • A major AHRC (UK Arts and Humanities Research Council) interdisciplinary research project on a empirically-founded theoretical framework for the understanding of change in armed conflict across the globe.

  • A bi-weekly, and sometimes tri-weekly seminar series on the Changing Character of War, Violent Non-state Actors and New Warfare, and research support workshops.

  • An Annual Lecture, open to all members of the university on a subject of importance in conflict, its resolution or its consequences.

  • A number of incidental workshops that examine aspects of strategy and conflict (including, in 2017, ones in ‘the Development of Doctrine’ and ‘Making Strategy’).

  • Further publications are envisaged. Dr Idler will publish a book in 2017/18 while new faculty members joining in 2017 will have their own publications. The Director will publish several articles in 2017, an edited volume in 2018 and another monograph in c. 2020. The CCW series will also receive new works in the next four years.

  • The New Strategist Journal (http://www.ccw.ox.ac.uk/the-new-strategist) will publish on-line several articles and up to two special editions in the next two years. We anticipate a number of articles will follow in 2018-20.

  • Strategic Executive Leadership Courses (from 2015) on the changing character of conflict and their policy implications.

AREAS OF Expertise

Strategic Studies
Prof Dominic Johnson

Strategy, Futures, and Middle East
Dr Rob Johnson

Violent Non-State Groups, Africa, and South America
Dr Annette Idler

Migration and Human Dimensions of Armed Conflict
Professor Dawn Chatty
Professor Anke Hoeffler

Nordic-Baltic Defence and Security
Dr Andrew Monaghan
Prof Janne Matlary
Dr Mattias Hessérus

Military History and Cultures of War
Professor Peter Wilson
Dr Adrian Gregory
Dr Rod Bailey

Ethics of War and Peace
Prof Cheney Ryan

Law, Rights and Armed Conflict
Prof Sir Adam Roberts Emeritus

Organisational Theory and Practice
Dr Eamonn Molloy

Information Age, Cyber Security and International Relations
Graham Fairclough

David King
Gwilym Hughes (OIG)

Conflict Resolution
Lord Alderdice (CRIC)

State Resilience
Prof Scott Atran
Richard Davies

In-group causes of inter-group conflict
Prof Harvey Whitehouse