Building on RUSI’s expertise in political violence and terrorism, this programme examines the intersection and dependencies that exist between conflict, organised crime, extremism, the dynamics and implications of non-state armed group governance, and various forms of proactive/responsive intervention, from ‘soft’ non-military engagement to security sector reform and assistance. These themes cross-cut different geographies to map, analyse, and respond to instability and violence, enabling a more holistic appraisal of contemporary conflicts and their prevention, mitigation, and resolution.
The conflict-focused aspect of this programme seeks to identify and highlight the different drivers of conflict and violence by acknowledging and addressing the intersectional and multidimensional nature of most conflicts. Through our research, we seek to analyse the impacts of various drivers that can often be working together to drive conflict, including ideology, personal and political identity, resource limitations, climate change and many others.
Examining the similarities and differences between Islamist violent extremist groups and other conflict actors, and the implications for development, state building and peace building responses.
The peacebuilding aspect of this programme focuses on engaging with the different elements of policy and programming implementation that often form a peacebuilding process in a post-conflict environment. Through our research, we highlight the ways in which both societal and governmental perceptions of engagement must be transformed, and how resilience can be built to potential conflict drivers.
This includes looking at forms of conflict resolution-focused international intervention, featuring ‘soft’ non-military activities, atrocity prevention, and the impact and efficacy of ‘3D’ (development, diplomacy, and defence) approaches to foreign policy. Transforming government approaches can sometimes also require more kinetic engagement such as security sector assistance and reform, especially in relation to the use and legacy of militia outfits, paramilitaries, and community defence forces.
Coverage will also look at the broader culture and psychology of decision-making in the national security realm, and the gendered dynamics of contemporary conflict, integrating analysis of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) priorities.
The project focuses on the transfer of knowledge between police and the military as part of community engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS).
The project considers UK development investments in East Africa through the lenses of foreign policy, defence and security, and looks at their strategic relevance and effectiveness.