‘100 Years of British Intelligence: From Empire to Cold War to Globalisation’, 30 April- 2 May 2009

The conference celebrated the centenary of the founding of a permanent British intelligence service.  The proceedings explored the genesis, establishment and evolution of the intelligence services globally during several critical phases of the last hundred years: notably the two world wars, the Cold War, the years of imperial decline, the rise of transnational organised crime and the ‘war on terror’. Themes included  counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, the organisation of intelligence, civil liberties and human rights, military intelligence, clandestine diplomacy, SIGINT/ HUMINT, and official histories. The conference engaged many leading scholars, former practitioners and PhD in exploring emerging themes and issues in the study and practice of intelligence. A major emphasis of ‘100 Years of British Intelligence’ involved a comparative approach, contrasting the British experience with that of other states. Finally, the conference sought to examine current challenges in light of historical experience, ensuring that the proceedings had a contemporary relevance and specificity.


A major aim of ‘100 Years of British Intelligence’ was to push forward the research agenda of the CIISS and to consolidate our reputation as an international centre of excellence.  This reputation that has been built upon the success of previous conferences held in 2003, 2005 and 2007, each of which generated special issues of Intelligence and National Security that were also published as books in the Routledge Studies in Intelligence series.  A central objective of our agenda is to facilitate links between the academic community on the one hand and intelligence professionals and policy-making officials on the other.  To this end members of the intelligence agencies, the Cabinet Office and other Whitehall departments are always invited to attend proceedings.  The 2009 conference extended and consolidated the international network of scholars and practitioners that has been developed at these events.