Royal Navy sets up 'brain hub' of world's best military minds in Portsmouth to counter future global threats

ROYAL Navy leaders are hunting for the globe’s finest military academics and boffins to join a new strategic hub in Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 9:38 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 3:11 pm
Pictured: The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine tests some virtual reality kit at the new Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre in Portsmouth. Photo: LPhot Barry Swainsbury

The new facility, named the Strategic Studies Centre, is in the heart of Portsmouth Naval Base.

It’s been designed to bring together the finest military, security and intelligence academics and think-tank analysts to help shape the ‘fleet of tomorrow’.

Top brass said research carried out under the new initiative will guide future decision-making when it comes to navy strategy and policy.

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Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine giving a speech at the new intelligence centre. Photo: LPhot Barry Swainsbury

Britain’s top sailor, First Sea Lord Tony Radakin said the new centre would be critical in working out how to combat enemies of the future.

He said: ‘The world that we live in is moving faster than ever before and we have a responsibility to remain ahead of our adversaries in terms of conceptual thought as well as delivery on operations.

‘This collaboration between the Royal Navy, academia and strategic thinkers will allow us to harness a much greater diversity of ideas and exploit them, not just for the navy’s benefit but ultimately for defence and the nation as a whole.’

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Similar schemes are already in service in the British Army and RAF. But this will be the first of its kind for the Senior Service.

The new strategy hub is co-located with the Naval Historical Branch, which will continue to analyse the past to support present-day operations.

However, the navy insisted the fresh links with the academic world would allow the Senior Service to ‘tap into’ the latest research relating to maritime military tactics.

‘There are fellowships at Oxford, Masters and PhDs funded by the Ministry of Defence, research papers put before the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, but it’s all rather dispersed,’ said Commander Andrew Norgate of the naval staff.

‘We want to further harness the Royal Navy’s academic muscle and links. It’s there already, but it’s not necessarily shared with the rest of the navy – or academia.

‘The Naval Historical Branch analyses the past through to the present. The Strategic Studies Centre will build on this looking at the present and future.’

The new centre has a permanent staff of four, made of sailors and civilians. However, its location will allow it to expand to offer opportunities for secondment and for reservists.

A spokesman for the navy said the site would ‘focus on academic awareness, studies and research papers’ but that a ‘longer-term goal is for the centre’ would be to ‘partner with other leading institutions to organise conferences and events’.