Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) is an
internationally-renowned institution and component of the Defence Academy
of the United Kingdom.
The RCDS Mission is:
- "To prepare senior officers and officials of the United Kingdom
and other countries and future leaders from the private and public
sectors for high responsibilities in their respective
organisations, by developing their analytical powers, knowledge of
defence and international security, and strategic vision".
Formerly the Imperial Defence College, RCDS owes its origins to the
recommendation of a cabinet committee in 1922 presided over by
, then Secretary
of State for the Colonies.
college was founded in 1927 and was located at 9 Buckingham Gate until 1939. Its work in those days was chiefly
concerned with defence of the Empire,
with a population of 25 Members drawn from the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The experience of the Second World War proved the benefits of such
an institution for training senior service officers and governments
and services of the Commonwealth for the college to resume its
the college reopened at its site at Seaford House, Belgrave
This was the first time members from the
United States attended the course.
The college was renamed to "Royal College of Defence Studies" in
course composition has been progressively widened to include
members from over 33 different countries, including in recent years
China, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Pakistan, the Slovak
Republic and Nepal.
The college celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2007. The occasion
was marked by a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
and HRH The Duke
RCDS forms a part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. In
fulfilment of its mission, the college runs one course a year, from
January to December. Each course is attended by a maximum of 88
members, around one-third from UK and two-thirds from overseas. 75%
are military officers of Colonel
or equivalent rank. The remaining 25%
are civil servants, diplomats, police officers and representatives
from the private sector. All have been selected to attend the
course on the strength of their potential to progress to a high
position within their profession. Their average age is 46.
The College is under a Commandant
currently Vice Admiral Charles Style, CBE, and senior directing
staff are 2 star
officers from the
, British Army
, and civil
Distinguished and otherwise noteworthy former members of the
See Commandant Royal
College of Defence Studies