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Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS)

History of the CSRS

The Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) was established in 1996 to reinforce the academic work of the National Defence College as well as expand its functional scope, especially in training and research. Accordingly, the mission of the Centre is to engage in rigorous research and training in the areas of international security, defence and peace support operations. The Centre also serves as the ECOWAS Centre of Excellence for strategic level PSO training.

The background to the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) dates back to 1996 when the authority of the National War College (now National Defence College) took a decisive step to address the issues of war and violent conflicts that have bedevilled African countries. This led to the establishment of the Centre for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution (CPRCR) on 17 October 1996. The premise upon 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. Indeed, despite 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 were more works on strategy tied to war than those to peace. The Centre was therefore founded on the basis 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 Armed Forces of Nigeria 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 College in 1996, after the new Centre for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution was established, for the purpose of harmonising peace operations training programmes for both the military and civilians in the country.

Form its inception in 1996, the Centre has been central to the training and research on Peace Support Operations (PSO) at the strategic level in the College. However, in keeping with policy changes by the Nigerian government, and the designation of the College as the coordinating centre for strategic level peacekeeping training in West Africa by ECOWAS, the CPRCR was reconfigured for greater effectiveness. Thus, the Centre gave way to a new outfit, named the African Centre for Strategic Research and Training (ACSRT), later renamed African Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (ACSRS). 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. It was consequently renamed Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) to correspond to its activities and engagements. The Centre is also the nucleus of the NDC’s distinct function as the ECOWAS Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Peacekeeping Training at the strategic level.


To be a world class Centre that generates knowledge and builds capacity for peace support operations, security and defence in Nigeria and Africa.


Engage in rigorous research and training in the areas of international security, defence and peace support operations, strengthen the academic programmes of the NDC, as well as serve as ECOWAS Centre of Excellence for strategic level PSO training.

Institutional Dimension

The Centre conducts its research through thematic clusters built around its academic departments. The cluster framework enables the pooling together of experts to carry out multidisciplinary research on specific issues which affect Nigeria’s interest and ultimately impinge on her defence and security. This effort involves generating and maintaining databases of experts nationally and internationally, and engaging them, in collaboration with in-house resource persons, to address various problems and issues. The composition of the clusters is determined by the Provost and each cluster has a desk officer. The clusters currently in the Centre are: Security and Development; States and External Relations; and Futurology and Scenic Building.

Thus, in its research activities, the Centre harnesses expertise from beyond the College relevant to the entire spectrum of the defence and security issues that are covered by the defence, foreign affairs, and internal security communities of the African countries. This framework also allows for cooperation and collaboration in research with other institutions with similar objectives.

Research output by the Centre is disseminated to relevant communities through the following:

  1. Books
  2. African Strategic Review Journal
  3. Africa Peace Review Journal
  4. Monographs and Occasional papers
  5. Seminars, Workshops and Conferences
  6. Briefing Sessions
  7. College Website
  8. Other appropriate media approved by the College Board

Individual Dimension

Research Fellows at the Centre, in addition to performing their regular College responsibilities, are expected to conduct research on issues of particular interest to them or their area of specialty. Such research endeavours could be undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at the College or with other scholars elsewhere, both within and outside Nigeria. The outcome of the research is usually disseminated in the form of books, journal articles, book chapters, seminar or conference papers, and policy briefs, among others.

Functions of the CSRS

The functions of the Centre Include:

  1. Support NDC in the conduct of research, documentation and publication of research findings in the broad area of strategic studies.
  2. Serve as think tank for the College, the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and the nation in the areas of defence, security, conflict management and peacekeeping.
  3. Run training programmes in relevant areas of interest on national security and development.
  4. Monitor events and developments around the globe which affect the security of Nigeria in particular, and Africa at large.
  5. Organise regular seminars, workshops, dialogue sessions and conferences on topical issues that are of interest to security and defence in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
  6. Organise training programmes for civilian and military personnel going for Peacekeeping Management, Peace Support Operations and Diplomatic Operations.
  7. Participate in collaboration with regional and continental organisations, such as ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD, AMU, UN, EU, AU and ECCAS, among others, on relevant issues of defence, security, and strategic studies and peacekeeping.
  8. Collaborate with similar institutions within and outside the country in the areas of research and training.
  9. Provide internship and visiting fellowships for scholars within and outside Nigeria.
  10. Raise funds to meet research requirements.
  11. Publish and disseminate its research findings in journals, books, the internet and any other acceptable medium of wide circulation.
  12. Serve as ECOWAS Centre of Excellence for strategic level training and research in PSO.

Organisation and Structure

The head of the Centre is the Provost. The Provost reports to the Commandant on the day-to-day running of the Centre. He also represents the Commandant and the College in all matters of collaboration and cooperation with external institutions in the context of research, training and advocacy, within Nigeria and beyond. The Centre has 6 Departments as follows:

  1. Department of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Studies
  2. Department of Defence and Security
  3. Department of Governance and Public Policy
  4. Department of Area and Regional Studies
  5. Department of Science and Technology
  6. Department of Editorial and Publications

The Department of Area and Regional Studies (DARS)

Nigeria is a regional power in Africa and has eyes set on becoming a major global power. However, this objective and other national interests may remain largely unattainable unless the government is supported by the provision of well researched information and policy options from strategic institutions such as the NDC. The Department of Area and Regional Studies (DARS) in the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies was established to provide specialist knowledge and information, on demand, and in a timely manner, to Nigeria’s policy makers on any given area or region of the world.


In line with Nigeria’s broad foreign and defence policy, the major framework for analysis is that of constructive concentricism, which begins with Nigeria’s immediate neighbourhood, where information will be acquired on issues relevant to her interests and extending to the other parts of the world. Nigeria’s leadership role in West Africa places her at a vantage position of doing same at the continental as well as the global levels. This could be located within the notion of the four concentric circles of national interest. At the core of these circles lies a concern with Nigeria’s own security, predicated on the cultivation of good neighbourly relations especially with her immediate neighbours. This is in recognition of the fact that her security is inextricably tied to the security of West Africa, and it is for this reason that the second circle expands to include the whole of the West African sub-region. In this regard, Nigeria has demonstrated foresight and ability to project power in seeking to contribute to peaceful resolution of conflicts outside her immediate neighbourhood.

Nigeria’s firm belief in good neighbourliness had motivated her to support democratic efforts in Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.


The Department of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Studies (DCPHS) 

The Department of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Studies (DCPHS) is one of the six functional Departments of the Centre. The Department undertakes studies, research and training on a wide range of issues related to conflicts, peacekeeping and humanitarian matters.

The conflict component of the Department is designed to expand the frontiers of understanding of the phenomenon of conflict in its various ramifications and to inform policies towards its effective prevention, management and resolution.

The humanitarian component of the Department centres on humanitarian emergencies in Nigeria and Africa, especially those emergencies that could lead to armed conflicts or result from such conflicts. In this respect, special attention is being devoted to, among others:

  • Improving the performance and use of information gathering and early warning systems in response to emergencies;
  • Enhancing national, sub-regional and regional arrangements, for emergency response;
  • Improving arrangements for coordination and cooperation in the mobilization of resources in response to humanitarian emergencies;
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of humanitarian organizations working in Africa, including the security of their personnel and operations; and
  • Improving cooperation and coordination between humanitarian organizations and military forces in peacekeeping missions

In addition to these, work under the humanitarian affairs component also covers selected issues which have the potential to provoke humanitarian crises, such as man-made and natural disasters.

The Peace Support Operation (PSO) component of the Department is concerned with all issues relating to the conduct of PSO. The emphasis on these issues shall be dictated by the most important challenges to peace operations in Africa.


The Department of Defence and Security Studies (DDSS)

Contemporary international landscape is characterised by volatile security challenges affecting every segment of society. Terrorist attacks, ethno-religious conflicts, banditry, climate change-inspired resource conflicts, etc, are all pressing realities of our time. These challenges have awakened the consciousness of the international community to the need for concerted actions in defence of their national and shared security interests.

The main preoccupation of the Department of Defence and Security Studies (DDSS) is to intellectually engage with the evolving defence and security challenges, with particular emphasis on their implications for Nigeria and Africa at large. In this respect, keen interest is devoted to globalisation which has led to the emergence of a more inter-dependent world where threats emanating from one state can almost instantaneously affect the security of another state. Globalisation has altered the security landscape and given rise to new security threats, including asymmetric warfare and transnational organised crimes.

However, defence does not necessarily mean the ultimate use of hard or military power or force alone. Research at the Department is thus equally focused on the application of soft power and non kinetic strategies as effective tools for achieving the nation’s strategic objectives in an emerging global society.


The Department of Governance and Public Policy (DGPP)

The spectre of bad governance has been the bane of most African countries, including Nigeria. However, Africa has made modest progress in governance in recent years. This is evident in the declining levels of violent conflicts, civil wars, consolidation of peace and security, economic growth as well as improvements in living standards in some countries.

These gains of governance across the political, social and economic spheres emphasise the need for reforms through addressing challenges in the electoral process, rule of law, observance of human rights, democracy and security. Developments such as the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) are certainly rights steps in this direction.

The Department of Governance and Public Policy (DGPP) is tasked to undertake rigorous research and studies on Constitutionalism, Rule of Law, Transparency and Accountability, Public Policy Process, Human Rights, Democracy, Participation, Elections, Political Parties and Civil Society Groups, with a view to contributing to the deepening of democratisation, good governance, security and human centred development in Africa.


Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Recent developments in science and technology, in particular the dramatic advancements in Information and Communication Technology (lCT), have triggered significant and revolutionary changes in many areas of society. It is well known that technology rides with the globalization of economies, while innovative science provides insights and approaches to development and helps leap-frog rather than follow the trodden path. Thus, it is important to create a strong edifice of research in science and technology to guarantee the long-term technological competitiveness and security of Nigeria.

In this regard, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is designed to engage in rigorous research and studies in science and technology to promote and strengthen national security in Nigeria and across Africa. Indeed, the issue of insecurity has been the scourge of most African countries, including Nigeria. However, science and technology innovations, which involve the use of ICT, industrial technology, agriculture, medical science, etc, have tremendous potential which could be leveraged upon to change the situation, including the transformation of the rural economy through the provision of skills and upgrading of traditional technologies for the benefit of national security.



Department of Editorial and Publications (DEP)

The College authority recently approved the take-off of the Editorial and Publications Department as the sixth department in the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies. The Department is conceived as the hub for publishing by the Centre and the College and was established to anchor and organise the publications endeavours of the Centre/College. It will facilitate the development of a comprehensive publications programme and strategy which would support and promote the intellectual output of the Centre/College. The Department will also oversee the strategic development of publishing in the Centre and the College and ensure the overall quality and integrity of publications emanating from the institution.

Functions of the Editorial and Publications Department

The Department, among other responsibilities, is to undertake the following:

  • Editing texts and materials across a range of publications including books, journals, monographs, reports, policy papers, etc. to ensure the highest standards of scientific content and presentation;
  • Ensuring clarity of content and stylistic integrity consistent with established standards and the NDC Style manual;
  • Providing leadership in all aspects of publishing operations, including commissioning, editing, production, distribution, marketing and customer service;
  • Coordinating the production and dissemination of publications, both traditional, electronic and online;
  • Developing proposals for new publications and publishing projects in line with the priorities and mandate of the Centre and the College;
  • Managing and supervising the peer-review process to ensure multi-level editorial control of publications for scientific and production quality;
  • Promoting and enhancing innovative and cost-effective publishing strategies for both traditional and electronic publications;
  • Ensuring effective liaison with authors, peer-reviewers, editors and other stakeholders towards the fulfilment of the goals of NDC publishing;
  • Coordinating the translation of publications and related issues such as reprint rights and copyright permissions;
  • Initiating and managing collaborations with other publishers and organisations in terms of their scientific and financial viability;
  • Producing and updating content for the College website;
  • Conducting periodic review of College publications and producing actionable reports for the attention of College authorities and Committees.