Master delivers lecture to Royal United Services Institute

by Sally March

Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG OBE, Master of Pembroke College, outlined his personal thoughts on the current threat posed by Islamic terrorism, at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), on Monday 7 July.

In his talk, Terrorism and National Security: Proportion or Distortion?, Sir Richard questioned whether concentrating over 50% of British intelligence resources on Islamic terrorists was the most effective use of its capabilities. As a former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), he contrasted this with the situation at the height of the Cold War, when SIS used around 38% of its resources on the Soviet Union and its allies. This was a period when the UK also had to contend with the threat of Irish terrorism.

Sir Richard suggested that the focus of Islamic terrorism had moved away from primarily targeting US and Western interests. Since the Arab Spring it had switched to Muslim on Muslim conflict, in particular Sunni versus Shia, as evidenced by the current conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Further information is available to view on the RUSI’s website.


Sir Richard Dearlove was Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (or MI6) from August 1999 to July 2004.

The Royal United Services Institute was founded by the Duke of Wellington in 1831. It is an independent think tank that focuses on defence and security research.