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The Martial Power Programme forms a conceptual framework aimed at providing UK decision makers with a deeper evidence base to feed into SDSR 2020. The key question being addressed is: what is the purpose of the UK’s military?

This programme aims to develop an evidence-base to inform the policy and decision making processes for the 2020 and 2025 Strategic Defence and Security Reviews. As such, this project will frame the activities of the Military Sciences research group at RUSI over the next five years to conform to the UK’s SDSR cycle.

UK focused but international in scope, this research is also intended to resonate with Allies and partners. 

The Martial Power Programme is underpinned by eight lines of research, each tackling specific focused challenges through interviews, workshops, seminars, conferences and war-games from which the project derives wider research benefits:

  • Contemporary conflict studies
  • Command and Control: Delivering national ambition – Politics, command and leadership
  • The contested battlespace: secret domains
  • The role of defence in inter-agency conflict prevention
  • The capability conundrums
  • Examining military theory
  • Testing military doctrine
  • Exploiting military history

Martial power is a key concept intrinsic to the evolution of military thinking in the UK. RUSI has, therefore, chosen the term for this effort to create a robust analytical framework within which to examine the changing utility of force in the modern world, and the UK Military’s envisaged and feasible roles within that paradigm, now and in the future. 


Professor Peter Roberts
Director Military Sciences, RUSI