The ability of the UK to improve its understanding of challenging and complex issues and to exploit that understanding to inform decision-makers is of increasing importance in the UK Defence and Security sector. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is charged with exploring the messy and wicked end of the problem spectrum in order to inform MOD and Security decision makers’ strategic thinking, primarily at a Policy or Strategy level.
Due to the breadth and depth of these issues, appropriate solutions cannot be achieved solely through Dstl’s internal resources and access to the right external expertise and analytical thinking was sought. Consequently, Dstl set up the three-year Strategic Think Tank Contract, won by RED Scientific to provide:
- Peer Review of Government Research
- Strategic Exploration of potential issues
- Studies to inform policy/strategy decision-making
- Study to inform future research
- Expertise for the Dstl studies and events
RED combined experts from not only its own resources but also ten different organisations, including academia, think tank consultancies and small and medium sized organisations to contribute to around fifty separate messy and wicked problems. The work ranged from scholarly papers on the value of deterrents, conflict prevention and soft power, historical analyses of the roles and success of various aspects of military deployments, crystal ball gazing into future operational environments and political and strategic options, to the more technical analysis of disruptive technologies and the direction of future research.