Dr Sarah Ashbridge

Affiliate Expert


Dr Sarah Ashbridge is an Affiliate Expert of RUSI, where she previously worked as a Research Fellow within the Military Sciences Team. Here, she established the Greening Defence Programme which focused on the ways in which climate change affects armed forces, and the impact of defence upon the environment, with an international portfolio. The Greening Defence podcast remains the most prominent output of the programme. The Moral Component programme supported the delivery of research engaged with human rights and/or the Laws of Conflict (LoCs), including works to assess the initial civil-military forensic response in Ukraine, proliferation risks presented by lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS), and UK mortuary affairs capabilities.

Sarah’s doctoral thesis investigated the development of British identity discs, and the associating structures designed to locate, recover, identify and bury British and Commonwealth soldiers who died on the battlefield during the First World War. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), this study (2016-2021) utilised an interdisciplinary methodology, drawing upon the disciplines of history and forensic archaeology to demonstrate how and why British fibre identity discs facilitated an empire of unknown soldiers during the two World Wars. This thesis formed the basis for more recent work exploring contemporary Mortuary Affairs capabilities. 

Today, Sarah works as a Principal Analyst at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where her work focuses on climate change and the sustainability of future deployments. Her expertise is in climate security, risk, mitigation, adaptation, national security, energy security, resilience, and supply chains.

She is a Deployable Team Member for Kenyon International Emergency Services, having supported the response to a previous national disaster. Sarah has completed placements with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Operation Nightingale (DIO), and Ruben Willaert BVBA in Belgium. Sarah remains engaged in archaeology as a volunteer with conflict archaeology and/or veteran focused groups including Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage.