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.
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 African countries. The products of such research are disseminated in the following forms:
b. Journals: (i) Africa Peace Review and (ii) African Strategic Review
c. Monographs and Occasional papers
d. Policy Reports
e. Seminars, workshops and conferences
f. E-Briefs at its Website Link
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:
• Support NDC in the conduct of research, documentation and publication of research findings.
• Serve as a think-tank for the College, the three services and the nation in the area of defence, security and military science.
• Carry out research and training programmes in relevant areas of interest to national development.
• 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.
• Provide a good training ground for civilian and military personnel going for peacekeeping management and diplomatic operations.
• Monitor events and developments around the world, which affect the security of Nigeria in particular, and Africa at large.
• Participate in collaboration with regional and continental organisations (like ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD, AU among others), on relevant issues of defence, security and peacekeeping.
• Collaborate and network with similar institutions within and outside the country in areas of research and training.
• Provide internship and visiting fellowship for scholars.
• Raise funds to meet research requirements.
• Publish and disseminate its research findings in journals, books and any other acceptable medium that would receive wide circulation.
• Serve as organ for coordination of strategic level peacekeeping training and research in West Africa.
DEPARTMENTS UNDER THE CSRS
At present, the Centre has five departments, namely
• Area and Regional Studies,
• Conflict, Peace-keeping and Humanitarian Affairs,
• Defence and Security Studies,
• Governance and Public Policy and
• Department of Science and Technology
The Department of Area and Regional Studies (DARS) was established to provide specialised knowledge and information to Nigeria’s policymakers on any given area or region of the world on demand. To accomplish this objective, the department carries out its activities through daily monitoring of events in Nigeria and elsewhere which it documents in its weekly reports called DARS Weekly reports. In addition, the Department is also expected to host seminars, workshops and conferences in pursuit of its mandate, which specifically focuses on Nigerian foreign policy and external relations.
The Department of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Studies (DCPHS) as presently constituted is a merger between the Departments of Conflict Studies and Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in August 2006. The DCPHS undertakes research, studies and training over a wide range of issues related to conflict, peace support operations and humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, West Africa and Africa. Its work is designed to expand the frontiers of understanding of conflict in all its ramifications and to inform policies toward its effective prevention, management and resolution. Its activities and programmes are carried out within national and international environments. The DCPHS is the NDC focal point for International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC), African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA) and strategic-level peacekeeping training for ECOWAS. It also houses the Africa Peace Review journal. Apart from its research activities, the DCPHS collaborates with ECOWAS, AU and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC), Canada, in capacity-building for strategic-level peacekeeping training. Specifically, it has conducted 3 UN Senior Mission Leaders Courses. It has plans to conduct police and civilian-specific courses together with its training partners like PPC, Canada.
The Department of Defence and Security Studies (DDSS) was set up recognising that in today’s world defence and security studies have become much more strategic to the survival of nation states. The department has as its focus, contribution to knowledge in general but in particular to the reconstruction of the global defence and security system. The effort is conceived towards the general re-ordering of the world for sustainable security development as well as meeting the challenges arising from globalisation. The vision of the department is anchored on defining and establishing the purpose of defence and security in a manner that advances and facilitates the attainment of Nigeria’s interests at continental and global levels. The department thus has the mission of conducting research and training as well as capacity building for experts and personnel in the defence and security sector. It also strives to create a network of inter-connectivity that could analyse and generate policy issues towards the achievement of democratic governance in the defence and security sector in Nigeria and Africa.
The Department of Governance and Public Policy (DGPP) was set up to carry out research and studies in the areas of good governance and democracy. Among the issues it focuses on are constitutionalism in governance, rule of law, transparency and accountability, human rights, popular participation, elections and electoral issues, political parties, and civil society groups, among others. The department engages in researching and formulating strategies for the promotion of democracy, civil society, human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability and human-centred development. The vision of the department is anchored on collaboration with other government agencies and institutions such as NEPAD, ECOWAS, AU, UN, Ministries Departments and Agencies on issues related to good governance and democracy. It maintains collaborative relationships with the National Assembly, ECOWAS and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) NEPAD-Nigeria.
Department of Science and Technology The Department of Science and Technology (DST) was set up primarily to track, monitor and analyze development in science and technology sector as they affect the military, defence and security of Nigeria, at the same time, to provide credible and timely security information that can help to protect the nation. Its areas of research focus are in the Military Technology Programme, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Engineering and Industrial Technology, Information Warfare, Operations and Strategy Programme, Environmental and Agricultural Science, and Biotechnology and Medical Sciences. DST is in charge of organizing trainings in the areas of Science and technology for Security Operatives, Effects of Information and Communication Technology in the Military, Food Security and National Security and Medical Science and Military. In addition to its training programmes, it organizes workshops, conferences, colloquium, round-table and seminars on issues of science and technology and its effects on national security. It also focuses attention on the revolution in the Military Affairs (RMA) and the vast advancement in ICT, studies the continuous transformation of and the future battle space in terms of their impacts and ramification for the world and Nigerian military in particular, as well as providing advice and recommendations on the need and scale of investment in Hi-Tech in Nigeria following the data gathered on Hi-Tech in other parts of the world. The department is set to achieve its aim through a set of clear, well thought out objectives in addition to its continuous active collaboration with national and international institutions involved in research and development, such as National Agency for Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Ministry of Science and Technology, and other such institutions, to help build synergy in the promotion of the requisite advancement for Nigerian Military, making it a digital military. For the Nigerian military, the department serves as the catalyst in building the armed forces of the future through sound policy ideas.