The University of Allahabad took the lead in introducing Defence Studies as a subject in 1940 at the initiative of Dr. A.N. Jha, the then Vice-Chancellor. The department started teaching the subject at postgraduate and research level in 1965. The courses in Defence Studies at this University were drafted and improved from time to time in consultation with Prof. Michael Howard of All Souls College, Oxford, England; Prof. N. Gibbs, distinguished Professor of Military History, Oxford, England; Prof. Headley Bull of Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; Prof. L.W. Martin of Kings College, London; Prof. Sisir Gupta, Prof. M.S. Agwani, Prof. M.S. Venkatramani besides distinguished scholars of Psychology, Economics, International Relations, International Law, Mathematics, Physics and Operational Research and experts from the United Services Institute, National Defence College and Ministry of Defence. Prof. R.B. Singh who was educated at Allahabad and joined the Department in 1971 and is an expert in Military History and Legal Aspects of International Security is presently heading the Department. The other members of the faculty include economists, historians, political scientists and area specialists.
At the initiative of the Department, in order to provide a national forum for the promotion and integrated development of Defence and Strategic Studies, the National Congress for Defence Studies, an academic organisation of national level in the field of Defence and Strategic Studies, was created in 1980 with its headquarters at the University of Allahabad. The Department has made a niche for itself in a short time. The sixth visiting committee of the U.G.C. had observed that "this department has all the potential for development and deserves consideration in the special assistance programme." During the Seventh Plan, the U.G.C. review committee had decided to consider upgrading the department as the Center of Excellence in Strategic Studies. The Department has organised teaching, research, publication and public education in an excellent manner.
The Department has an excellent lab facility for the Under Graduate students there is a practical lab for conducting experiments and exercises related to different types of maps viz. Topographical, Relief & Outline Maps and depiction of battles with the help of models. There is also a Cartography Lab where preparation of maps and charts as per the requirements are undertaken after the field work. The Department also boosts of a Computer Lab, which caters to the needs of the department and the library. Increasingly, computer assisted cartography is also being done. The Department also publishes a journal called "Indian Journal of Strategic Studies (IJSS)". This journal was started in 1968 with the purpose of providing literature and information with regard to Defence & Strategic Studies and current problems related to National and International Security. Prof. R.B. Singh is its present editor. Besides the journal the Department publishes proceedings of national and international seminars and occasional monographs and papers on Arms Control, International Security and Military History. The Department has a well-organised library consisting of about 10,000 volumes. It subscribes to about 25 reputed journals and Magazines from India and abroad. The library is unique in the sense that it has a well classified newspaper clippings section on the pattern of "Indian Council of World Affairs and Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses", New Delhi.