CSRC’s antecedents date back to 1972, when the Soviet Studies Research Centre
was founded at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. This was the original “Red
Team”, tasked with interpreting the thinking and attitudes of the then Soviet
bloc in order accurately to assess threats and vulnerabilities.
In 1993, the Centre was re-named from Soviet Studies to Conflict Studies - the Soviet Union was no more, but the former eastern bloc space had inherited a bewildering range of conflicts of varying intensity, understanding of which required a depth of regional and historical knowledge unavailable elsewhere. CSRCs experts and alumni, using their wide range of regional contacts, were pivotal in the background at key stages of the process which culminated in a range of former Warsaw Pact nations now being key members of NATO. The range of expertise available to the Centre expanded, from a primary focus on military capability, to a broader interpretation of security interests including economic, social and energy issues.
CSRC became part of the UK Defence Academy on its inception in 2002, and in 2005 the Centre moved to the Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) at the Defence Academys main campus in Shrivenham. Here, CSRC continued its programme of analytical publications providing in-depth insight into the real processes underlying headlines and first-line analysis. Working exclusively from open sources, CSRC provided a valuable complementary source of analysis to government agencies, validating and in some cases pre-empting conclusions drawn from classified material. Notable predictions issued in print by CSRC during this phase were the succession of Vladimir Putin by Dmitriy Medvedev as Russian president, and the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.
The affiliation of CSRC members with the Defence Academy came to an end in early 2010, following absorption into the Academys Advanced Research and Assessment Group which was subsequently disbanded. The core CSRC team is now established to supply its expertise and insight to commercial and government customers at will, independently of the Ministry of Defence.
The Star and Acorn Logo
CSRC inherited its “red star” logo from Soviet Studies Research Centre. There is more than one interpretation of the precise meaning of the acorn, but all of them are equally valid for CSRC’s activities today. The acorn was either representative of the tiny nuggets of information which CSRC experts harvested from enormous volumes of carefully-censored Soviet open sources in order to build substantial conclusions; or of tiny seeds which were planted under the Soviet Union to eventually grow and bring the whole edifice crashing down.
Today, the star and acorn still accurately portray both CSRC’s historical roots and its current activity, symbolising the meticulous care and deep sense of responsibility shared by all today’s associates.