As the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) think tank, the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) helps inform defence strategy, capability development, operations and provides the foundation for joint education.
- registration is open for the 2017 Concept Development and Experimentation (CD&E) Conference being held in London on 10 to 12 October
- the latest joint doctrine publication, JDP 0-30.2: unmanned aircraft systems, is available here
What we do
DCDC staff are drawn from all 3 services, the Civil Service and partner nations. We work with NATO, the European Union, United Nations, and a global network including other government departments, non governmental organisations and industry.
Located at Shrivenham, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) sets our direction and we are also the Swedish Concepts and Doctrine Centre with Swedish officers serving in the centre.
Our outputs and responsibilities include: the Strategic Trends Programme which provides the long term strategic context for policy makers; concepts, which outline how our armed forces and defence may operate in the future; doctrine, which provides guidelines for commanders based on best practice and operational experience; and oversight of the legal content of operational law training.
The work of DCDC underpins strategic force development in the MOD, joint force development and command level force development within the commands.
For more information about the DCDC, please read Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre: the MOD’s independent think tank.
Many MOD activities, projects and policies have implications for decades to come. The MOD needs, therefore, to think about the future.
Our Futures Team, in collaboration with its global network, considers what the future might look like in 20 to 30 years’ time and publishes its thoughts and findings through its Strategic Trends Programme.
The team produces 2 major publications ‘Global Strategic Trends’ and the ‘Future Operating Environment’. These products are especially useful in the preparation of strategic defence and security reviews and national security strategies.
Beyond its work within the MOD, the Futures Team also contributes to cross government thinking about the future and works closely with international partners.
- Global Strategic Trends out to 2045
- DCDC Strategic Trends Programme Future Operating Environment 2035
- Regional survey: Africa out to 2045
The Concepts Team writes future operating concepts that look beyond current policy and financial horizons at the likely ways defence might operate 20 years from now.
Working with the Futures Team, engaging with academia and a multinational network of allies and partners, these concepts are a basis for capability insights that inform future force development.
Alongside MOD policy makers, the team produces Joint Concept Note (JCN) 1/17, future force concept. This is the authoritative high-level analytical concept, which supports balance of investment decision-making to shape the design and development of the future force out to 2035.
Team members from the single services also produce the maritime, land, and air and space higher level doctrine, describing how defence operates in each of these environments today. All of this, backed up by numerous studies and research papers, serves as a basis for the professional education of the most promising future commanders and staff officers.
The Doctrine Team is responsible for writing and maintaining a range of joint operational level UK and NATO doctrine publications which include thematic, functional and environmental doctrine.
The Doctrine Team works with a range of cross government experts such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, as well as international organisations including the United Nations.
By putting ‘NATO at the heart of UK defence’ we are able to achieve maximum coherence and interoperability with, and between, our closest allies and partners. Where possible, we will adopt NATO doctrine (Allied joint publications) rather than producing national doctrine (joint doctrine publications). Where we cannot, we will make sure that we remain compatible.
UK specific ‘best practice’ will be preserved through a smaller number of remaining joint doctrine publications and supplementary UK elements within NATO publications.
Allied joint publications (AJPs) (doctrine for NATO operations)
Joint doctrine publications (JDPs) (fully endorsed national doctrine)
Joint doctrine notes (JDNs) (raised to either encourage debate, place ‘markers in the sand’ or capture and disseminate best practice. They are not endorsed national doctrine)
We provide support to defence policy and strategy creation as well as developing and promoting strategic thinking and leadership skills. Our main outputs include:
producing a range of short papers and think pieces in support of the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, the chiefs and defence strategy and priorities
providing secretariat support to the Chief of Defence Staff’s (CDS’s) Strategic Advisory Panel which sits 3 times per year
organising CDS’s Strategy Forum, run in partnership with the Oxford University ‘Changing Character of War Programme’
The Strategy Forums bring together hand picked individuals from inside and outside government to tackle pressing strategic and policy issues. Recent events have looked at:
- strategy in defence
- making the most of our people
- deterrence for the 21st century
We are supported by a team of in house lawyers, one from each of the 3 services. They are specialists in international law and have an operational background.
The Legal Team ensures that all DCDC outputs are legally sound and also have a major role in ensuring law of armed conflict training is provided to service personnel.
The team is responsible for some notable legal products, including Joint Service Publication 383, Joint services manual of armed conflict and Joint Doctrine Publication 1-10, Captured persons which is the UK detention doctrine.
Our Legal Team participates in national and international debates concerning developments in, and approaches to, international law. They also provide specialist advice on international weapons law, notably writing the mandatory legal reviews of weapons and methods/means of warfare.
Analysis and research
The Analysis and Research Team provides the empirical evidence and scientific basis for our products. The team ensures that we maintain our status as a professional body of knowledge and that the knowledge built is relevant, retained, maintained and exploited.
Knowledge is gained using current and appropriate developments in the social sciences, science and technology, and by providing analysis and experimentation to support conceptual and doctrinal development.
The team is also responsible for providing analysis advice, engaging in a wide range of experimentation activities, including: red teaming; synthesising operational lessons; identifying trends; developing thought provoking insight; and challenging thinking.
This work is further supported by networks of appropriate experts and academics producing well informed, widely sourced and peer reviewed research. All of this supports our outputs, enabling better decision making for UK defence and security.
Associated publications and papers
Allied administrative publications (AAPs) (NATO administrative instructions)
Allied tactical publications (ATPs) (procedures for NATO publications)
For all general enquiries about DCDC and our publications, you should contact:
Telephone: 01793 314217