The history of the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) dates back to over a decade. In 1996, the authorities of the then National War College (NWC), took a decisive step in addressing the fact that most African countries had been bedeviled by wars and other violent conflicts since their independence. They expanded the functional scope of the College by setting up a Centre for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution (CPRCR) on 17 October, 1996.
The premise on which the Centre was founded is that though peace is ever the goal of war, peace is a goal about which the world knows and understands so little. Notwithstanding the progress made in the evolution or development of peace and conflict research as a viable area of study, it was noted at the time that “there are more works on strategy tied to war than those to peace”. The Centre was therefore founded on the premise that the achievement of sustainable and comprehensive peace requires studying and understanding the causes of violent conflicts and how best to monitor and prevent them, or when they come inevitably, to resolve them.
The establishment of the Centre was part of efforts by the Nigerian Government to, among other functions, organise training programmes on peacekeeping for the Nigerian Armed Forces and those of other nations in the region. Earlier on, in 1993, the Government had established the International Training Institute for Peace (ITIP) for the same purpose. However, this Institute was later merged with the National War College in 1996, after which the new Centre for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution was established, for the purpose of harmonising peace operations training programmes for both military and civilians in the country.
From its inception in 1996, the Centre was central to the training and research on Peace Support Operations at the strategic level in the College. However, in keeping with recent policy changes by the Nigerian Government and also the ECOWAS designation of the College as the center of excellence for strategic level peacekeeping training in West Africa, the CPRCR was reconfigured for greater effectiveness. Thus, the Centre renamed the African Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (ACSRS) with effect from 2005.
The ACSRS was restructured to strengthen the academic programme of the College and make it more relevant to contemporary developments in the areas of peacekeeping and international security, and was renamed Center for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS). The Centre is also the nucleus of the NDC’s distinct function as the ECOWAS centre of excellence in peacekeeping training at strategic level. It pursues its objectives through research, training and outreach programmes in the areas of national security, defence, conflict management, international security and peacekeeping.
The Centre is headed by the Provost who is responsible to the Commandant for the day to day running of the Centre. The Centre is organised to conduct its research activities through thematic clusters built around its four departments. The development of these clusters and leadership of research activities under them are done by Research Fellows at the Centre. However, the research activities that take place in the Centre operate at two levels, institutional and personal.