Welcome to

The Cambridge Security Initiative

fresh thinking and cutting-edge international expertise


The Cambridge Security Initiative (CSi), chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove, former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, provides a unique link between the worlds of business, government and academia. With unrivalled expertise in security and intelligence issues, the organisation integrates long-term historical trends with the experience of security professionals to deliver prescient analysis of current and future threats to a range of clients and to its signature ‘International Security and Intelligence’ (ISI) Programme and Conference.

Commissioned analysis has typically been sought by clients requiring professional, up-to-the minute briefings focussed on specific regions or business sectors on which to base key assessments of future risks, options and opportunities. To achieve this, CSi has brought together bespoke teams of experts who, while varying in age, nationality and profession, share the ability to contribute significant, contemporary and often unique insights to written reports overseen, edited and signed off by the Directors. Recent clients have included UK and US government agencies, management consultants, international accountancy and finance firms. Looking forward, the work of the CSi is attracting strong interest from organisations with international interests in banking, law, infrastructure, energy and utilities. Subjects likely to be high on the agenda include the fast-changing situations in the Middle East, Russia and China and their neighbours, cyber security and the rise of extremism in Europe and security threats to the UK, Europe and the U.S.

On 17th October 2017 CSi was granted charitable status. The objects of the Charity are to advance education in relation to international security and intelligence issues by supporting graduate students studying security and intelligence related subjects in the Universities of Cambridge and London.

CSi Analytic Updates

CSi’s cadre of experts synthesize global events, breaking news, and policy shifts to determine real-world impacts to international business and regional power dynamics. Click on the updates below to read more, or subscribe to receive updates in your inbox.

Middle East

Specialist CSi Analytic Reports on the Middle East.




Saudi Arabia: Implications of Aramco IPO

Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading


After considerable delays since Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) first announced Aramco’s IPO as integral to the diversification strategy of Vision 2030, the decision to proceed on the Saudi Tadawul incorporates key political, economic and security considerations. This IPO is not only vital to the Kingdom’s long term economic goals, but MBS also needs the political success to shore up Saudi’s domestic and international reputation in the face of the Khashoggi murder last year, the resource-draining conflict in Yemen, and recent attacks on…(read more)



Iraqi Protests Unlikely to Yield Meaningful Changes

Dr. Renad Mansour, Research Fellow at Chatham House


October 2019 represented one of the largest grassroots protest mobilizations in Iraq since 2003, protests which continue into November and will likely linger in diminishing numbers. Iraqi youth (two-thirds of Iraq is under the age of 30 and many are without job prospects) are disillusioned by rampant, systemic corruption that privileges Shia, Kurdish, and Sunni elites. In response to protests, which began in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on 01 October but have spread throughout the south, Iraqi forces and allied Iran-backed militia have used increasing force against largely unarmed protesters, resulting in the deaths of over 300…(read more)



Egypt: Protests and Political Upheaval 

Dr. Dina Rezk, University of Reading


Marking the most significant unrest Egypt has witnessed since 2013, a wave of dissident videos followed allegations of corruption from military contractor Mohamed Ali. Popular protests in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities in September and October were ostensibly against corruption and austerity but also indicate a power struggle between the military and the Ministry of Interior…(read more)


CSi combines practitioner experience, academic insight, and analytic rigor to craft bespoke reports focused on regional dynamics, business sectors, future risks, and burgeoning opportunities. Click on the reports below for an example of the types of products CSi experts develop for international business and government clients.

JULY 2019


Report on Qatar

Cambridge Security Initiative Report focusing the on political and economic security as well as the escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


Report on Saudi Arabia

Cambridge Security Initiative Report analysing the ‘currents of discontent’ impacting Riyadh’s relationship with both Washington and London.


UAE Report

Cambridge Security Initiative Report investigating the extent to which the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayid (MBZ) is the driving force behind the United Arab Emirates aggressive and expansionist foreign policy.


Gulf Tensions Report

Cambridge Security Initiative Report analysing the growth of tensions in the Gulf and the possibility of the United States and the United Kingdom contributing further to the conflict.

CSi Analytic Updates

Specialist CSi Analytic Reports and Articles



No Russian Internet ‘Kill-Switch’ Anytime Soon

Dr. Victor Madeira


The Russian Federation’s new ‘sovereign internet’ law came into effect on 01 November. Officials describe it simply as measures to centralise control of and isolate the Russian Internet (RuNet) in unspecified national emergencies, e.g. external cyber-attack, whilst allowing websites and services hosted in Russia to keep working. But the so-called ‘kill-switch law’ currently faces technical and financial obstacles to full implementation. This means the new legislation, at least in the near term, is more about (read more)



Russia ‘Embarrassed’ Twice in a Week by CN Media  

Dr. Victor Madeira

In early November, Chinese media unusually embarrassed Russia – twice in a week. First, SINA reported that in July 2018, Syria seized an unexploded, cutting-edge Israeli-U.S. missile interceptor from the ‘David’s Sling’ system and gave it to Russia. Days later, Eastday.com quoted a leading Chinese strategist who claimed NATO could occupy Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) in just two days, but Moscow would then widen the conflict by striking several European capitals. Russian media carried both reports, raising questions about their source, timing, and aims, though (read more)



Uzbekistan Flirts With China, Russia 

Dr. Tracey German, King’s College London


After years of pursuing a cautious balancing act in terms of its relations with regional and international powers, Uzbekistan has intensified relations with China and Russia since 2016. Lying at the geographical heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan presents significant opportunity for those wishing to trade across the entire region. However, there is the risk of geopolitical competition between the principal regional powers of Russia and China, as both have increased their (read more)



CSi combines practitioner experience, academic insight, and analytic rigor to craft bespoke reports focused on regional dynamics, business sectors, future risks, and burgeoning opportunities. Click on the reports below for an example of the types of products CSi experts develop for international business and government clients.



North Africa Regional Overview

Cambridge Security Initiative Report on the recent popular protests in North Africa have sparked concerns about a new round of the ‘Arab Spring.’ This report explores the importance of popular protests and the future of tensions in the region.

International Security and Intelligence Programme

The International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) has been organised and taught in recent years by many of the leading lights of CSi and underscores the organisation’s strong links with and commitment to academia. In 2017, CSi formed a partnership with the Department of War Studies at King’s College in the University of London, which sets the intellectual framework and provides academic validation for the programme allowing most ISI students to transfer credit back to their home universities.

CSi Partners

Sir Richard Dearlove (Chair)

Richard Dearlove is the former Master of Pembroke College Cambridge. He served as Chief (known as ‘C’) of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from August 1999 until his retirement in July 2004. For the preceding five years he was Director of Operations and, from 1998, Assistant Chief. As Director of Finance, Administration and Personnel he also oversaw the move of SIS into its Headquarter Building at Vauxhall Cross in 1994. He is a career intelligence officer of thirty-eight years standing and has served in Nairobi, Prague, Paris, Geneva and Washington as well as in a number of key London-based posts.

Professor Stefan Halper

Stefan Halper holds doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge. He has served four American presidents in the White House and Department of State and is an expert on US foreign policy, national security policy, China and Anglo-American relations. Halper was Executive Editor and host of “Worldwise”, a national televised program on foreign and national security affairs from 1996-2000 and “This Week from Washington”, a national radio program aired from 1985-2001. He is a Life Fellow of the Centre of International Studies and a Life Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Dr Peter Martland

From a background in business history, Dr Martland specialises in intelligence and security studies. He is the author of six books and has contributed to many more, latterly in the field of intelligence and security history. He was part of Professor Andrew’s research team which produced the authorised history of MI5 Defence of the Realm (2009). He edits the Boydell and Brewer intelligence and security series. He has supervised generations of Cambridge undergraduate and graduate students and taught history, intelligence and security related courses at Pembroke College, International Programmes Department. He is a co-sponsor of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar.

Dr Alan Dawson

Between 2004 and 2014 Alan Dawson was Director of International Programmes at Pembroke College Cambridge in which role he created many of the programmes which have secured for the College an international reputation for academic enterprise, innovation and quality. Drawing students from leading universities world-wide, these programmes include the highly sought-after International Security and Intelligence programme which is taught and organised by many of those who are now associated with the CSi.

CSi Advisory Board

Professor Michael Goodman, King’s College, London

Professor Goodman is Head of War Studies, Dean of Research Impact and Professor of ‘Intelligence and International Affairs’ at King’s College, London. He has published widely in the field of intelligence history and scientific intelligence, including Spying on the Nuclear Bear: Anglo-American Intelligence and the Soviet Bomb (2008); Spinning Intelligence: Why Intelligence Needs the Media, Why the Media Needs Intelligence (2009); and Learning from the Secret Past: Cases in British Intelligence History (2011); The Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies (2014) and Spying on the World: The Declassified Documents of the Joint Intelligence Committee (2014). He has also contributed articles to many academic journals.

Professor Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, FBA

Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of Contemporary History at Queen Mary, University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. He spent his early career as political correspondent for the Times newspaper as a leader writer and Whitehall Correspondent, the Financial Times as its Westminster correspondent and the Economist. Lord Hennessy is the pre-eminent interpreter of the British constitution, cabinet government and intelligence communities. His many previous books include Cabinet (1986), Whitehall (1989), Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (1992), The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution (1995), The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders since 1945 (2000), The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War (2002), and Having it So Good: Britain In The Fifties (2006). His most recent book is Distilling The Frenzy: Writing The History Of One’s Own Times (2012).

Professor Sir David Omand, GCB

After a distinguished government career in defence, security and intelligence, David Omand is now one of the leading figures in shaping public debate on national security. He was the first appointee, in 2002, to the re-vamped post of UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible for the UK’s national counter-terrorism strategy and ‘homeland security’. He spent much of his earlier career in the Ministry of Defence, including as Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Deputy Secretary for Policy, Under Secretary in charge of the defence programme, and Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State. He also served for three years in Brussels as Defence Counsellor to NATO and for seven years on the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee. Sir David was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and is currently Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department, King’s College, London.

Professor Angus Knowles-Cutler

Angus is Vice Chairman of Deloitte and London office managing partner. He leads the firm’s work on the impact of technology in the workplace and is an adviser to the UK government and major businesses on the subject. He has a particular interest in how national governments are reacting to the major opportunities and significant risks presented and how automation might be fuelling both nationalism and globalisation at the same time. He is also chairman of Deloitte’s China Services Group, developing business and government links in China. Angus read history at Cambridge University where he specialised in secret intelligence.

Lord Wilson of Dinton, GCB

Richard Wilson entered the Civil Service as an assistant principal in the Board of Trade in 1966. He subsequently served in a number of departments including 12 years in the Department of Energy where his responsibilities included nuclear power policy, the privatisation of Britoil, personnel and finance. He headed the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet office under Mrs Thatcher from 1987-90 and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992. He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service from January 1998 until September 2002. He was Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge from 2002-12. He remains actively interested in the contribution of academic research to policy making.

Sir Iain Lobban 

Iain was the Director of the UK’s largest intelligence and security agency, GCHQ, from mid 2008 to late 2014, having previously served as its Director General for Operations from 2004. This represented a period of over ten years’ leadership of operational delivery in contexts as varied as counter terrorism; cyber defence; support to the military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya; the prevention and detection of serious crime; and the development of an integrated service of intelligence and security. Cyber Security, both nationally and internationally, has been at the heart of his role in recent years. As the GCHQ Director he attended the UK’s National Security Council on a weekly basis from its very first meeting in May 2010 and was a Principal member of the Joint Intelligence Committee for over 6 years.

Professor Chris Inglis

Chris Inglis currently serves in the U.S. Naval Academy’s Robert and Mary M. Looker Distinguished Chair for Cyber Studies. He retired from NSA in January 2014 following over 41 years of federal service, including three years as NSA’s senior liaison to the UK and nearly eight years as its Deputy Director.   As a current member of the U.S. Department of Defense Science Board, Mr. Inglis has participated in several studies (Autonomy, Cyber Deterrence, and Capabilities for Constrained Military Operations, and the Future of Military Superiority) and co-led the 2016-2018 DSB study on Cyber as a Strategic Capability.  H e also serves as a Director on the Boards of FedEx and Huntington Bancshares; as a Commissioner on the U.S. Solarium Commission charged to determine a U.S. strategy for security in cyberspace; and as a member of the Strategic Advisory Groups of Director of National Intelligence, and United States Strategic Command.   Mr. Inglis holds technical degrees from Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and the George Washington University, and served as an officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force for over 30 years across both active and reserve service, retiring in 2006 with the rank of Brigadier General.

The Cambridge Security Initiative

PO Box 850    Cambridge    CB1 0YA
www.thecsi.org.uk      e:info@thecsi.org.uk     t: 07518 011 645
The Cambridge Security Initiative is a registered charity, registration number 1175201