RMA Sandhurst

Faculty for the study of Leadership, Security, and Warfare

Who we are

Academic study is an integral part in developing effective and professional military leaders. The courses provided by the Faculty for the study of Leadership, Security, and Warfare (LSW) Departments are purposely designed to develop an officer’s understanding and analysis of the human, operational and strategic context in which they will work.


From the outset, British professional officer training has included academic study. This has evolved as the context in which Army officers has evolved. Many great scholars have helped develop future leaders - including John Narrien, Michael Faraday, John Adair, Richard Holmes, John Keegan and Christopher Duffy – a legacy that continues today


Research underpinning Professional Military Education

Fundamental to ensuring future leaders attending Sandhurst get the very best professional military education is the underpinning research conducted by members of LSW.

Staff regularly publish academic monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles as well as contributing papers at conferences and workshops held at RMAS, think tanks and universities.



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Qualifications and AHEP Offer

All officer courses run at Sandhurst receive accreditation that converts into nationally and internationally recognised qualifications. Those officers joining the Regular Army can now pursue higher education qualifications paid for by the Army.

Working in partnership with the University of Reading and Henley Business School the academic courses taught by LSW now form a third of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Leadership and Strategic Studies.

Skills and Learning

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In class and on exercise

Of fundamental importance to the development of officers is their ability to apply their understanding and analysis with good judgement in the most challenging of circumstances.

LSW staff join cadets on field exercises and run class exercises to provide more realistic environments where knowledge and ideas can be tested and developed.


Exercise Normandy Scholar


At Sandhurst and beyond

LSW staff also contribute to development courses later in an officer’s career. Several times a year staff work with Officer Tutors from the ETS in delivering Military Analysis courses that are designed to unpack in depth defence policy and the art of war. Many staff also support regimental and formation battlefield studies.


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Operational and Wider Insights

LSW staff frequently contribute to the work of other government departments, defence doctrine, higher formation exercises and international defence engagement.

In recent years individuals have been seconded as mentors to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul.

These experiences provide staff with unique insights that help to give their teaching at Sandhurst both edge and currency.


Afghan National Army Officer Academy 


Defence and International Affairs Department (DIA)

DIA provides insights into the strategic, international and legal context in officers will operate and enabling them to make better judgements and choices.

Exercise COMPLEX TERRAIN challenges cadets to look under the surface of contemporary conflicts and to assess the part played by armed forces in cross-governmental and multi-agency responses to complex crises.

DIA also develops deeper understanding of the context and practice of international humanitarian law – the law of armed conflict.

Global strategic trends 

Manual of the law of armed conflict 


War Studies Department

War Studies develops an understanding of the operational and tactical levels of war. Using historical and contemporary examples the course unpacks theories of war, examines the different forms of warfare and assesses the variety of means, doctrine and organisation used in conducting operations.

Exercise NORMANDY SCHOLAR uses examples from complex wartime events to unpack and develop the command and leadership analytical tools used by the British Army.

Breathless in Normandy  

Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) Operations 


Communication and Applied Behavioural Science Department (CABS)

The CABS programme provides insights and tools for responding to the human, ethical and practical demands of being an Army officer and leader – to get the best out of themselves, those they lead and those they interact with. It is a very experiential course where understanding self and understanding others are key. Core topics are Leadership, problem-solving and decision-making, conflict resolution and negotiation, integrated action skills and personnel management.

In particular, Exercise AGILE INFLUENCE exposes Officer Cadets to complexity with the challenges of understanding and interacting with multiple stakeholders, different agendas, speed and gaps in situational awareness in order to develop methods by which flexibility of thought and response can be applied and sound decision-making maximised.


Understanding and Decision Making 

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Sandhurst Library

Integral to both learning and research is the Sandhurst Library. The operational military history collection alongside the extensive biography and leadership sections are regarded as amongst best in Europe.

Together with an increasing variety of online resources to meet the intellectual demands of AHEP the library actively enables research to underpin professional military education.