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Advanced Research and Assessment Group

ARAG LogoDr Jamie MacIntosh leads the Defence Academy’s Advanced Research and Assessment Group (ARAG).  It opens access to knowledge from across the multi-disciplinary field relevant to defence and security for the Ministry of Defence and other government departments.

Engaging practitioner and assessment communities worldwide, ARAG supplies educators, decision takers and policy staffs with focused and timely products that address current and future national and international security challenges.

ARAG’s Mission

The ARAG Mission is to carry out advanced research and assessment in order to keep the Defence Academy’s syllabi at the cutting edge, and to enhance senior decision taking and policy development, in order to promote operational capability and advance the defence and security interests of the United Kingdom.

ARAG conducts its activity using both the unique expertise of its scholar-practitioners, and thematic ‘research clusters’ of knowledgeable people from a wide range of backgrounds.  Products are delivered to customers to agreed deadlines, often in innovative ways, specifically suited to their needs; via:

  • Facilitated scenario driven events
    • Policy development exercises (PDx)
    • Crisis management exercises (CMx)
  • Seminars and workshops
  • In depth studies
  • Individual and group briefings
  • Policy reports and submissions
  • Web calendar and information portal
Gen Kiszely“The mission given to the Defence Academy is ‘to deliver high quality education and training, research and advice in order to sustain and enhance operational capability and advance the defence and security interests of the United Kingdom’.  Looking ahead, I see the greatest potential for development in the immediate future being in the area of advanced research and assessment…"

Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB MC
Director, Defence Academy

The work of ARAG is organised around ‘research clusters’.  A Research Cluster is an administrative mechanism that enables knowledgeable people to interact and enrich the potential for organisational learning among ARAG’s stakeholders.

Clusters are established to reflect the needs and priorities of the MOD, of other government departments with security interests, and of the Colleges of the Defence Academy. They serve as the mechanism for detecting challenges and identifying sponsors for projects that merit targeted research and assessment. Their composition is reviewed every six months, and amended as necessary to reflect changing needs and requirements.

The research and assessment process also draws on ARAG’s own ‘scholar-practitioners’ and provides for the harvesting of ideas, expertise, experience and evidence to benefit the education process either within or beyond the colleges of the Defence Academy.

Drawing on diverse networks enables ARAG to organise brainstormings, direct research, and set up educational activities which tackle key issues and problems for MOD and other government departments, which in combination, forms the overall dynamic Research Programme.

Working from unclassified sources, ARAG surveys research activities and engages with political, economic, socio-cultural and military thinking via both formal and informal channels. ARAG is constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance access to knowledge and accelerate organisational learning.

ARAG’s contribution to public service comes from linking research-innovation-education together. This work helps inform public debate in the UK and abroad but focuses on supporting organisational learning in the face of immediate and enduring defence and security challenges.

Chris Donnelly“We find ourselves today in the middle of a revolutionary change in the nature of conflict.  Our most urgent challenge is to adapt our traditional mechanisms of analysis and response to meet the new security threats which now face us.  We need a new partnership between government and non-governmental institutions, and a refocusing of our national effort.”
Mr Chris Donnelly CMG
Senior Fellow, Defence Academy