Defence and Security in the 21st Century 

Researching the future of war in a period of geopolitical and technological transformation?

DS:21 is a research space where we explore the changing nature of war, technology and international politics in the 21st century. In the 21st century new technologies are transforming all aspects of society and war, creating new techniques and technologies of conflict (for example, the type of conflict some policymakers refer to as ‘ambiguous war’). The ‘pace of change’ in technology and geopolitics is creating new possibilities and new vulnerabilities in global politics and DS:21 is a space that sets out to develop research that combines the insights and research from across the faculties.

DS:21 has two objectives:

  • To identify and explore emerging areas of technical and social infrastructure that are only beginning to be examined in terms of new vulnerabilities.
  • To think about what this ‘pace of change’ means for how organisations think about the future – and how they plan and prepare for the future.

DS:21 is interested in exploring the areas of security and war that are not always on the forefront of research (such as military logistics)– as well as using our interdisciplinary capability to explore critically the issues that are increasingly central to debates about the future of war (Artificial Intelligence, Robotics). Our approach is to create events where policymakers and academics can engage in discussion over emerging trends, to develop and support more long term research projects and to publish short policy ‘briefs’ on the research conducted in the institute.

Our current research priorities are:

  • The changing nature of military logistics

  • Maritime cyber security

  • Ambiguous war

  • Deterrence and Cyber Security

  • Urban war and technology

  • Robotics and war

But central to DS:21 is the idea that we will be seeking to develop workshops and events that resond to new events in geopolitics and technology.


Theme Leads

Mark Lacy

Dr Mark Lacy

Senior Lecturer

Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Academic Centre of Excellence), Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)1524 594758

Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)1524 592461 C063, C - Floor, Bowland North

CILHR Centre for International Law and Human Rights, Migrancy Research Group, Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)1524 592984

Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)7870 835267

ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, Richardson Institute for Peace Studies, Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)1524 594252

ISF Past Fellows, Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Security Futures)

+44 (0)1524 592422


View Publications


View Projects

Graphic Futures
17/10/2017 → 30/06/2018

ISF Future of Global Relations: The Relational Turn in IR Meets Concepts from Chinese Tradition
31/01/2017 → 31/08/2017

Climate Change and Maritime Security
15/01/2017 → …

Consultancy on Chinese culture
01/09/2016 → …

Beijing stakeholder engagement on international friendship
01/05/2016 → 30/06/2016

Ocean governance
01/01/2016 → …

Engaging with Chinese friendship and cultural diplomacy
02/10/2015 → 18/03/2016

CREST: Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats
01/10/2015 → …

China and the world: exploring the relations of international relations
01/10/2015 → …

Power shift in East Asia: soft power analyses
01/06/2015 → 01/06/2019

A Conversation
01/04/2015 → 01/05/2015

The Cultural Dimension of Chinese Seapower
01/04/2015 → …

Seapower in the Post-Modern World
01/01/2015 → …

MUMBA: Multi-faceted Metrics for ICS Business Risk Analysis
01/10/2014 → 31/12/2017

The ENIGMA Project
10/07/2014 → …

Maritime Cyber Security
01/06/2014 → …

Security by Remote Control: Automation and Autonomy in Robot Weapon Systems
22/05/2014 → 23/05/2014

Digital Lancaster
01/01/2014 → …

Future of International Law and Cyber Warfare (Funded by SECURITY FUTURES)
17/07/2013 → 19/07/2013

Project MAYHEM
02/07/2013 → 02/07/2013

ESRC centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science - CASS
31/03/2013 → 30/03/2018

Human rights and boundaries
01/03/2013 → …

The role of ideology, belief and commitment in motivations, justifications and catalysis for action in the face of uncertainty
01/02/2013 → 30/11/2015

New technology and tort
05/12/2012 → …

Cyberterrorism, cyberwarfare and international law
05/07/2012 → …

The Maritime Dimension of European Security
01/07/2011 → 01/05/2015