A typical event is a seminar at 5.30 pm consisting of a lecture or presentation of 45 minutes followed by 30 minutes Q&A. The optional Senior Common Room dinner after (with a reduced price for students) includes a chaired round table discussion. On the margins there are opportunities for conversations over drinks. All this takes place in the excellent facilities at Nuffield College including accommodation for the speakers.
The seminar it is open to all; what attendees have in common is an interest in intelligence. It attracts academic staff and students, retired practitioners, serving practitioners, those with a need to understand the subject and some for whom it is a serious interest. The academics include many who are active contributors to scholarly publications in the field of intelligence and security. Police and Special Branch attend and, from the armed forces, we attract all ranks from the corporal to the general. Specialists occasionally attending are experts on the law of armed conflict and ethical aspects including interrogation. We are multi-disciplinary ranging from historians to technical specialist on code-breaking or cyber security. Speakers are selected for their expertise and we benefit from the worldwide attraction of Oxford.
The study of intelligence contributes to public policy, to international relations and to strategic studies into deterrence and the causes of conflict. The study of intelligence improves the understanding of events and is relevant to many areas of research by doctoral students, research fellows and senior academics holding Chairs. It is a component in the study of the changing character of war [CCW]. OIG in its programme aims to contribute across this wide spectrum and is unique in the format adopted.
One unique aspect that is regularly commented upon is the opportunity provided by the OIG for practitioners in government service – Whitehall, the military, the police and the agencies - to subject their ideas and practices to critical comment and feedback by our wide constituency. They benefit from the historical perspective and rigorous debate of the international community that attends OIG.
With its support by Nuffield College, the contribution of the OIG to teaching, research and scholarship is not inconsiderable. Easy access is provided to those from the wider University of Oxford with its Centres of Study, its Management School, its School of Government, its Rhodes Scholars and its worldwide student body. Access is also open to other Universities with relevant courses of study; regular attendees include Brunel and Buckingham. It has been said by lecturers on such courses that every OIG meeting provides something that improves their understanding, their writing and their teaching. Equally their contributions benefit others.