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The Strategy and Security Institute's vibrant, collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture incorporates people working across the whole spectrum of contemporary security issues. The international community of researchers and practitioners has an excellent record of winning external funding, and promoting collaboration and impact.

Key research areas

The SSI is at the forefront of research into the drivers of strategic decision-making by civilian and military leaders, and planners in the foreign and defence policy domains.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • The cognitive drivers of leaders' behaviour during international crises
  • Rational choice and decision-making
  • The psychology of coercion and deterrence
  • The management and allocation of defence resources
  • Military decision-making in history
  • Classical theories of strategic choice
  • The leadership and planning of complex modern military forces and operations

Find out more about our research into strategic decision-making

The contemporary international security environment presents a paradox. On the one hand, the global security situation, at least for developed states, remains far more benign than the tense nuclear stand-off of the Cold War. On the other hand, the third post-Cold-War decade has brought with it a less benign strategic outlook, at least for Western states, than the two that preceded it. SSI academics are in the vanguard of this research agenda, seeking to understand the causes, consequences, and mitigation of many of today's most serious security problems.

Find out more about our research into contemporary strategic problems and its subthemes.

Exeter works closely with the with the military legal community to investigate the evolution of the legal framework of warfare and the impact of law and legal processes on security policy and military operations.

The decision to use organised violence in pursuit of strategic goals is not just a matter of political will and equipment; it is also governed by a system of social norms and processes, including a complex body of domestic and international law. While the growing impact of legal rules and processes promises to strengthen the rule of law at the international level, it also imposes operational burdens and strategic costs on the use of force. The extent to which these developments undermine operational effectiveness and constrain national security choices has become a question of immense significance.

Find out more about our legal and normative framework of warfare research and its subthemes.

Research students

We welcome enquiries from prospective research students. Please contact our Graduate Research School via our enquiry form for information about eligibility before contacting the staff member closest to your interests for an initial discussion about potential research topics.