HC Deb 02 March 1966 vol 725 cc301-2W
Mr. R. W. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take for developing higher defence studies in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Healey

Our policy was outlined in broad terms in Command 2902.

One of our primary objectives is to stimulate the interest of the universities in this field and to encourage them to play a more active rôle, as well as to foster general intellectual awareness of the problems of defence. As already announced, we propose to award up to six fellowships annually to enable senior serving officers and Government officials to pursue a chosen subject of study or research in the academically free atmosphere of a university. The fellows themselves are expected to gain substantially; the Services and Ministry should have the benefit of the greater capacity for analysis which the students will acquire; and the Universities should benefit from contact with experienced students of defence.

We have also announced our intention of creating at public expense in each of a few selected Universities an additional post of lecturer (or senior lecturer) in an existing faculty, to specialise in the defence aspects of its discipline. We do not envisage initially any restriction as to the faculties in which these posts should be set up. Teachers in any of the social or physical sciences or in technology with an interest in defence problems will be encouraged to specialise in their study. Eventually, it is hoped, defence studies will emerge as a discpline in their own right in the universities concerned.

Command 2902 also referred to the organisation of short intra-mural courses in the widest possible variety of subjects. Some of these will be organised in collaboration with the lecturers specially appointed under the arrangements already mentioned. Some will be concerned with specific subjects of current and impending interest in the defence field. Others will deal with techniques of management and we hope to collaborate with the Business Management Schools recently established at London and Manchester.

These proposals represent a modest step forward on an experimental basis. At the same time we intend to create within the Ministry of Defence the machinery to undertake, in an atmosphere free from day-to-day problems, research and long-range planning in the defence field. This machinery will be devised to enable us to carry out research and to attempt to identify problems before they arise; and to make available the results of the various studies to all those concerned with the day-to-day formulation and conduct of British defence policy. This activity will be carried on in association with the new University posts of lecturer (or senior lecturer) which are to be created as well as with other university or research centres that can help. Close liaison will also be maintained with Government Departments concerned.