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The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS)

Director: Ambassador Barry Desker (concurrently Dean of RSIS)
Deputy Director: Associate Professor Tan See Seng

The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was established on 30 July 1996 by Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. On 1 January 2007, ten years after its establishment, IDSS formally became the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). In the new School, IDSS remains as a key component Institute focusing on security research to serve national needs while the School would take over its teaching functions.

The flagship events of IDSS are the Asia Pacific Security Conference (APSEC), which is held biennially in conjunction with the Singapore Airshow, and the Asia-Pacific Senior Military Officers' Programme (APPSMO), an annual conference held at the Sentosa Resort and Spa. IDSS continues to serve as the host for all MINDEF-sponsored research programmes at RSIS. Its programmes are active or inactive depending on availability of funds, provided by MINDEF, other Singapore Government stakeholders and international grant foundations. The formats of its research activities include conferences/workshops, multi-author collaboration and individual research. Research outputs include policy products (e.g., reports, briefs, op-ed commentaries) and academic peer-reviewed products (e.g., books, monographs, journal articles).

At present, there are a total of 9 active research programmes (4 functional, 5 country/region-specific) under the IDSS rubric. They include the following:

  • Maritime Security Programme
  • Military Transformations/Military Studies Programmes
  • Multilateralism and Regionalism Programme
  • Contemporary Islam Programme
  • China Programme
  • Indonesia Programme
  • Malaysia Programme
  • South Asia Programme
  • U.S. Programme