INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES, RESEARCH & ANALYSIS - ISSRA
Soon after the establishment of National Defence and Armed Forces War College at Ayub Hall (old National Assembly Building at Lalkurti) in May 1970, the first Commandant, Maj Gen Abdul Hamid Khan, constituted a research cell headed by Brig Hassan Abdul Khalid, Lt Col Anwar Sher and Mr Pervaiz Ahmed Butt as members. Since 1971-72, National Defence and Armed Forces War Courses had to be terminated prematurely on 4 December 1971; therefore, the first research cell had hardly any time to organize itself. From 1972 to 1976 there was no research cell as such. A Directing Staff each from both the wings worked as Directing Staff Research for his respective wing. During this period, the student participants were required to write papers on given topics without any fixed parameters. It was after the affiliation of the College with the Quaid-e-Azam University in 1976 that the College evolved a research system compatible with post graduate academic standards.
In 1980, Brig Muhammad Aslam was posted as Director Research but the old system did not change. Director Research continued looking after the National Defence Wing, and the War Wing utilized the services of one member of its faculty, who acted as the Directing Staff Research. Lt Col Syed Iqbal Ahmed was the first GSO-1 (Research) posted in 1985.
In 1984, the charter of duties of the Research Cell, comprising a Brig and a Lt Col (GSO-1 Research), was revised. Director Research was made responsible for the following:-
Organization and co-ordination of all research work at the College.
Allocation of research topics and evaluation of Individual Research Papers for both National Defence Course and Armed Forces War Course.
Provision of latest reference material related to various studies and individual research.
Publication of the College magazine.
In October 1989, a case was taken up through Joint Staff Headquarters for the sanction of an additional officer of the rank of Brig/Col/Lt Col or equivalent as Directing Staff Research War Wing. It was emphasized that the Research Cell comprising 1x Brig & 1x Lt Col was barely meeting the research needs of National Defence Wing. Therefore, it was proposed to create a Research Training Team (War Wing) to be expanded into a Research Wing subsequently.
The post of an additional Brigadier as Directing Staff Research War Wing was sanctioned on 28 July 1990. Since then, both National Defence and War Wing had their Directing Staff Research.
New Dimension to Research
In January 1991 the War Wing suggested a new Research Faculty for the National Defence College as under:-
It was visualized that after the proposed organization was fully functional, it would be considered to place the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad under its supervision. The ND Wing did not support the proposal for various reasons. In 1995 the Commandant Lt Gen Tanvir Husain Naqvi ordered following changes in the Research Cell:-
The Research Faculty will function as an independent wing.
The Research Faculty will comprise the existing Directing Staff Research of National Defence Wing and War Wing. The Senior Directing Staff Research will directly report to the Commandant.
The library will form part of the Research Wing and the Library Officer will perform the additional task of General Staff Officer-I Research.
The concept, aim and scope of research at the National Defence College were thoroughly deliberated upon. Consequent to these deliberations, the following decisions were taken:-
Creation of Faculty of Research in Operational Policy and Strategy (FROPS).
Restructuring of the Group Research Paper (GRP).
Presentation of Individual Research Papers.
Establishment of National Defence College Archives.
Faculty of Research in Operational Policy and Strategy
It was felt that in addition to research by the participants, the National Defence College research faculty, in keeping with the requirements of the state and armed forces, should also undertake research in operational policy and strategy. It was thus decided that the Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) of National Defence College should cater for an appropriate research faculty. The proposed research faculty was accordingly named “Faculty of Research in Operational Policy and Strategy” or FROPS. The organization of FROPS, as envisaged in the proposed TO&E of NDC, was as under:-
The faculty of research and analysis was meant to:-
Supervise and refine the research by participants of the two courses.
Conduct research on strategic issues of national and international significance.
Act as a think tank for studies in policy and strategy.
Conduct national / international symposia / seminars on issues of policy and strategy at the College.
Participate in national and international symposia / seminars in the country and abroad organized by various agencies.
Publish and circulate research work to government departments / agencies and Armed Forces.
New Research Policy
Research dominated almost all activities at the NDC. Accordingly, it was decided by Lt Gen Muhammad Maqbool to give research a new orientation both in terms of its place in the college curriculum as well as its conduct and application. The new policy emphasized enhanced interaction between the faculty and participants, meaningful evaluation of the Individual Research Papers and overall co-ordination of research work done at the NDC. Salient aspects of the new policy were:-
Further enhancing interaction between the participants and the faculty.
Providing adequate time for meaningful evaluation of IRPs at all levels.
Ensuring systematic development and effective monitoring of progress on IRPs by the faculty.
The new system followed a graduated pattern as explained below:-
The participants of both National Defence and War Wings will be divided in two groups in their respective wings with a laid down schedule of work.
Where possible, the participants in each group will be given lighter assignments during their peak research period to allow them maximum time to work on the IRPs.
The submission of IRPs for both groups was staggered by four weeks.
In the wake of structural changes brought about in the research policy and methodology, it was decided to establish a separate research wing as envisaged in the concept of FROPS. Accordingly, requisite set up was created in the central wing, next to the College Library. Brig Muhammad Zakir (Dir Research) was tasked by the Commandant, Lt Gen Muhammad Maqbool, to arrange inauguration of the wing by 21 January 1998. This set the things in motion and a separate Research Wing was fully functional in its new location on the given date. The Wing housed Director Research, his staff and scholar rooms for guest scholars. Lt Gen Muhammad Maqbool formally inaugurated the Wing on 21 January 1998. Maj Gen Hamid Nawaz Khan was posted as first DG Research and assumed the appointment on 29 May 1998.
Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA)
With the upgradation of NDC as NDU on 27 Jan 2007, the Research Wing of ISSRA was established. ISSRA within after its establishment of over three years, was seen globally as well as domestically as one of the effective think tanks of Pakistan. ISSRA has been and is making substantial contributions both at national and services levels in the domains of its relevance. With this recognition and trust, institutes from across the globe sought NDU’s participation or view point especially once it came to aspects related to security, counter terrorism and nuclear issues.
DG ISSRA – Member NSC Advisory Board. The third meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister on 17 April 2014, approved the composition and functions of the Planning Committee and the Advisory Board of the NSC, in which Director General ISSRA has been incorporated in Advisory Board with mandate to conduct research on national security issues under the supervision of the National Security Division, brief the Planning Committee on national security issues as and when required; and organize national and international seminars on national security issues.