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RUSI's History

RUSI embodies nearly two centuries of forward thinking and free discussion. Since its founding by the Duke of Wellington, it has shaped British foreign and defence policy and provided a forum for independent analysis of the major questions of the day.

RUSI has been at the centre of the debate about defence and security from the zenith of the British Empire, through the uncertainty and transformation of the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War, to the complexity of the contemporary world. In 1857 the Institute launched its flagship publication, the RUSI Journal, which recently published its 162nd volume. In 1860, Queen Victoria granted Royal Patronage to the Institute as a mark of its growing influence and importance.

In the 1990s, there was a marked expansion of RUSI’s activities. It established itself as an institute that could work ‘close to’ the government yet remain financially and intellectually independent.

Today, the Institute’s well-respected convening power and access derive from a carefully guarded combination of impartiality, independence and policy-relevance. Across its many areas of work, RUSI’s researchers enjoy high levels of access to decision-makers and practitioners in the public and private sectors.

RUSI moved into its purpose-built headquarters in Whitehall, London, in 1895. Among the building’s magnificent rooms are the celebrated Library of Military History and the Duke of Wellington Hall. Having occupied the building continuously since it was constructed, RUSI finally purchased its historic home in March 2015. Plans are now in place to re-furbish the building with state-of-the-art digital facilities.

Throughout its long history, RUSI has built a reputation as a trusted authority on defence and security the world over. In its modern form, RUSI’s geographical and thematic scope has expanded to reflect the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Between Peace and War: British Defence and the Royal United Services Institute, 1831-2010

In its long history, RUSI has borne witness to tumultuous international and technological change.

This book offers a lively and insightful survey of this extraordinary period of British and international history, through the lens of an institution that both reflected and shaped the unfolding British approach to a changing, and often dangerous, world.

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