Lee Willett

Associate Fellow

Dr Lee Willett headed up RUSI's Maritime Studies from 2000-13. He now serves as Associate Fellow. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Naval Sciences, Sweden, and a visitinglLecturer at the University of Greenwich.

Looking at both the Royal Navy and other navies across the world, his current areas of focus include: policy, strategy, doctrine, acquisition, equipment capability and operational developments. At present, his major areas of research interest include:

  • the contribution of the Royal Navy to British defence and security, with a focus on the Strategic Defence and Security Review and its implications for the Royal Navy
  • global strategic developments in the use of the sea, and the resultant policy, capability and operational developments amongst major navies
  • the role of maritime security operations, with a focus on the contributions of NATO, the European Union and the UN and on issues such as Somali piracy and Arctic security
  • and the future of nuclear deterrence, including deterrence strategy, arms control and disarmament, and the UK debate surrounding the replacement of its independent strategic nuclear deterrent.

Dr Willett has given evidence to Parliamentary defence and security hearings: twice, in 2007, to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence's enquiry into the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent; and, in 2010, to the House of Lords Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on European Security enquiry into the effectiveness the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somali counter-piracy operation.

He also has lectured widely, teaching Ministry of Defence courses at University College, London and the University of Southampton, and a Master's defence and security course at the University of Hull. Dr Willett was previously a member of the publications Editorial Board for the Royal Australian Navy's Sea Power Centre-Australia (SPC-A).

Prior to joining RUSI, Dr Willett was Leverhulme research fellow at the Centre for Security Studies, University of Hull and was seconded to the Naval Staff Directorate in the Ministry of Defence as a research associate. He holds a BA in International Relations from Nottingham Trent University, and an MA in War Studies and a doctorate on Tomahawk's role in US-Soviet strategic arms control from the Department of War Studies, King's College London.

He has published widely, and is a regular commentator in the UK and international media on maritime, naval and nuclear aspects of defence and security.