In summer 2016, the Government of Colombia requested that we to assist in the transformation of their army brought about by the peace process between the government and the FARC. This led to a significant contribution to the process of negotiation and military transformation by CCW and its advisors, led by the Director of Studies, Dr Annette Idler. The initial project was entitled ‘Towards Sustainable Peace in Colombia and the World: A Critical Perspective on Army Transformation’. In partnership with the CAEEF (the Centre for Strategic Analysis of the Colombian Transformation Command), Dr Idler and her team critically analysed the process of transformation of the Colombian army, carrying out academic research based on fieldwork, and reviewing policy documents and the secondary literature. In addition, they convened three educational courses for senior military personnel of the Colombian Army.
The success of this initial project led directly to further funding from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a follow-on project entitled ‘From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace: Promoting Human Security in Colombia and Internationally’. In addition to academic research into the changes in the security landscape that come along with transitions from war to peace, the project explores how Colombia’s security architecture needs to be adapted to these changes in order to anticipate and respond to them and to promote human security in Colombia and internationally. It draws on on a wide range of different perspectives including marginalised communities, indigenous, Afro-Colombian and other civil society leaders, guerrillas, ex-combatants, displaced people, military and police officials, government representatives and NGO as well as UN staff.
As of 2016, one area of particular thematic focus for the CCW has been the defence and security of Scandinavia, the Baltic and Eastern Europe. Thanks to the generosity of the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for the Public Benefit, we have been able to host Visiting Research Fellows, engaged Dr Hessérus as our Senior Researcher link to Sweden, and have recently employed Dr Andrew Monaghan, a specialist on Russia who will lead the research initiative over the next three years. Our Swedish links also extend through our relationship to the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) in the UK MOD which provides the doctrinal support to Sweden.
This comparative research project examines the political goals and diplomatic tactics of the UK, France, Germany, Poland and Romania in relation to NATO’s emerging deterrence posture vis-a-vis Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 Crimea annexation. In particular, it examines the process leading to the decisions taken at the 2016 Warsaw Summit to support an Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland as well as to increase the NATO presence in the Black Sea. Dr Jeff Michaels, KCL, Visiting Research Fellow, currently leads this project on behalf of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
In 2016-17, CCW continued to act as the host for the UK Strategy Forum. The Strategy Forum dealt with Russia and international inequality. This year, CCW also assisted DCDC in the preparation of its Global Strategic Trends programme, examining future conflict and future defence issues.