RUSI Annual Report 2014-2015

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A report on the Institute's activities, including statements by the Chairman and Director-General.

A Message from the Chairman

Our essential strategic goal, first set out in 2008, was ‘to make RUSI internationally recognised as a research-led defence and security think tank comparable to the best in the world’. In the last twelve months we have taken greater strides to make this goal a solid reality, reflecting the steps set out in our ongoing strategic plan. We now have a RUSI presence in Washington, DC, Tokyo, Doha, Nairobi and Brussels, and the scope of our national and international research work continues to grow.

Our internationally based research has covered subjects as diverse as the ‘new Silk Road’ from China into Central Asia; the new alignments in the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars; countering violent extremism across East Africa; and international crime networks from across the world that have an impact on Europe. Our UK-based research has included the launch of a Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies; the Independent Surveillance Review, undertaken at the request of the deputy prime minister and now delivered to the prime minister; close consultation with government departments in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review; and continuing world-class research on all aspects of security relevant to the United Kingdom.

Perhaps most important of all this year, we have purchased the freehold of our RUSI headquarters building at 61 Whitehall. This has provided us with a tangible and valuable asset that offers greater financial security than RUSI has ever previously enjoyed.

More immediately, having acquired the building, we are now embarked on a major fundraising programme to refurbish it to the highest standards. Our intention is not just to modernise the building but to enlarge it to accommodate a much greater range of conferencing, meeting and catering facilities for RUSI’s future work.


Our long-term task remains to use our national and international excellence to generate a different order of funding.

Rt Hon The Lord Hutton of Furness

Chairman of the Council

Our long-term task remains to use our national and international excellence to generate a different order of funding for the Institute so that we can make the advances of recent years irreversible. We intend that in both our physical presence at our headquarters in Whitehall and our intellectual presence at the heart of defence and security debates in the United Kingdom, RUSI will continue to play the vital role envisaged by its founders over 180 years ago. I pay tribute to all the staff at RUSI, alongside the vicepresidents, members of the Advisory Council and all the trustees of the Institute, for their continuing dedication to its core purposes and their unswerving commitment to maintain excellence in all they do.

Rt Hon The Lord Hutton of Furness
Chairman of the Council

A Message from the Director General

RUSI has made excellent progress this year on a number of different fronts. In 2008, we defined four thresholds in pursuit of our essential strategic goal: to strive for research excellence so that we would be a research-led institute in all that we do; to have that excellence recognised nationally; to extend that recognition to the international arena; and, finally, to use that profile to bring in a new and different order of funding to sustain the Institute over the long term. I judge that we are currently crossing the last of those four thresholds and are on the verge of long-term, independent sustainability of the Institute’s activities.

We already know that RUSI is a significant player in broader defence and security debates in the United Kingdom. It represents all mainstream views; it is noted for its independence; and it is frequently consulted by the government and provides a vital sounding board for policy initiatives. RUSI also increasingly acts in an advisory capacity to foreign governments and to industry in highly specialised areas of policy.


The success of a research institute is based on the intellectual quality of its work.

Professor Michael Clarke

Distinguished Fellow

The success of a research institute is based on the intellectual quality of its work, in all dimensions. We believe we have maintained our customary quality while also branching out in several new directions that have brought RUSI to the attention of a wider audience, both public and government, and both at home and abroad. In recognition of the growing diversity of security concerns in modern world politics, we cover a wider range of research themes than ever before. And we interpret RUSI’s purposes as extending beyond a strict vision of defence and security research to encompass not only the cultural and artistic dimensions of our subject, but also specialist training and teaching provided by our new Leadership Centre.

I was also delighted to have been director-general of RUSI during the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – an anniversary which honoured our founder, the Duke of Wellington.

We celebrated it on what was this year a very special RUSI Founder’s Day, which saw us award RUSI’s highest honour, the Chesney Gold Medal – inaugurated in 1899 – to Dr Henry Kissinger at a wonderful event in the Tower of London. We also welcomed Sir Mark Elder, principal conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, to another musical event in our celebrations, as part of our unique partnership with the Hallé, and we ran a Waterloo exhibition as part of our collaboration with General Officer Commanding London District in this year’s Beating Retreat. We announced at these events the inauguration of the 1831 Fund which is designed to raise £6 million, in the first instance, to develop the Whitehall building and the research base of the Institute as we move to the next
stage in our development.

Professor Michael Clarke

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