Benedict Wilkinson

Benedict Wilkinson
Deputy Director (Defence), RAND Europe
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in war studies, King's College London; M.A. in terrorism and security, King's College London; B.A. and M.Phil. in classics, University of Cambridge


Benedict (Ben) Wilkinson is deputy director (defence) and co-director of the Centre for Defence Economics and Acquisition at RAND Europe.

Wilkinson has more than a decade’s worth of experience leading research projects on a wide range of defence and security challenges for a host of clients including the UK Ministry of Defence (Dstl, DCDC SONAC, DST), the UK Home Office, the UK Commission on Countering Extremism as well as the European Parliament, NATO and the Australian Department of Defense.

His areas of research interest are wide-ranging but include UK defence and security policy; defence acquisition and industry (with a particular interest in defence economics); wider geopolitics and national strategy; counter-terrorism and counter-extremism.

His research has been featured in national and international media including the BBC, the Times, the Independent, RTE and Channel Four. He has published more than 50 journal articles, reports and policy papers, and has written two books. His most recent, on terrorism as a failed strategy, was published by Hurst and Oxford University Press in 2020.

Prior to joining RAND, he was director of research in the Policy Institute at King’s College London. He has previously held posts as head of Security and Counter-Terrorism at RUSI and as a senior directing staff at the Royal College of Defence Studies. He completed his Ph.D in the Department of War Studies at KCL under the supervision of Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman.


  • Counterterrorism

    Defining 'Terrorism' Is the First Step to Defeating It

    Western policy- and decisionmakers continue to grapple with how to define acts of terrorism and when it is appropriate to bring terrorism charges. Establishing a consensus on the definition of terrorism and bringing to center stage the importance of adequately charging acts of terrorism could be more important than ever.

    Nov 8, 2021

    The National Interest