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Security, risk, culture, anthropology, ethnography, defence, business continuity, resilience, behavioural science, qualitative research, applied social science

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Personal profile


Dr Mils Hills is senior lecturer in Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security at the University of Northampton's Faculty of Business and Law, alongside his role as head of the MBA defence pathway ('top-up'), the leading product in the UK for serving and veteran members of the UK armed forces. 

Mils graduated with a PhD (1998) and MA (Hons) (1995) in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. He was the first anthropologist to work in government. He joined the research agency of the Ministry of Defence in 1998. Within a couple of years, he rose from being a contributing researcher in the area of Information Warfare to leading the national research capability in targeting / defending decision-making and business processes (Information Operations). Mils led the first social network analysis (SNA) and open source exploitation activities in the UK. He was later seconded to the Cabinet Office for several years, helping establish the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, building the resilience and security of UK plc. as well as supporting the development of foreign policy, legislation and operational interventions in civilian, defence, intelligence and other activities. Notable firsts included designing new capabilities, testing the COBR national crisis management facility and delivering support to Prime Ministerial Special Representatives.

Using proprietary methods informed by his academic and applied research, Mils worked in sensitive and highly classified commissions to management boards and Permanent Secretaries across all Departments, but notably:

  • 10 Downing Street
  • the intelligence agencies
  • the Governor of the Bank of England
  • the Houses of Parliament, and
  • the Royal Household.

Increasingly, this work also involved co-ordination with private sector partners. During much of this period, he remained the UK research capability head for Information Operations research.

Believing in the market value of his approach, he co-founded the consultancy Analytic Red LLP which worked with both government and commercial clients between 2005-10. Returning to academia in November 2010, he took an interim post at the University of Leicester (reviving a multi-million pound distance-learning MSc) and then a senior lectureship at Coventry University (Global Strategy), before joining Northampton Business School in 2012 as Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management.

At Northampton, Mils has led bids and delivered consultancy.  In September 2013, he was appointed Associate Professor in Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security whilst also being Programme Leader for the distance-learning MBAplus and leader of the Critical Issues module on the MBAplus programme. 

Mils is an external Assessor and examiner for several qualifications and research programmes, as well as leading his own research through secondment via the Institute for Logistics, Infrastructure, Supply and Transport (LIST). Mils is passionate about opening direct access to higher education for the UK armed forces and others, as well as working with media, political, advisory and strategic bodies to deliver distinctive commentary, analysis and services.

Research Interests

Mils has been involved in a wide range of research projects during his civil service, consultancy and academic career, with his main focus in the following subject areas:

  • Information Warfare (IW) / Information Operations (IO)
  • Open Source Intelligence exploitation
  • Cyber-warfare
  • Targeting & defending decision-makers
  • Scenario-planning and scenario-testing for policy, operational and strategic decision-takers


Jacquie Bridgman; Economics, International Development, International Relations and Politics

Doctoral Research Project.


Graham Flood-Hunt; Economics, International Development, International Relations and Politics

Enhancing security risk management training for humanitarian workers, developers and peacekeepers.


Gary Latta; Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour

Developing a sustainable and adaptable model for the process of nationalisation within a business context in a post-conflict environment: Evolving a model from South Iraq.

Teaching Interests

Mils currently teaches across a wide range of Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in Northampton Business School: ranging from BUS1005 (Business in Context) through strategic Management BUS3005 to the Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Mils leads the Programme for the Online MBA.​

External positions

Visiting Professor


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Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or

    Hills, M. & Fassam, L.

    Project: ResearchUK Government (old)

  • Pluswipes

    Hills, M., Atkinson, L. & Teasdale Brown, T.


    Project: Internal FundBig Ideas Fund 2019

  • Catapult Researchers - Holistic Transportation

    Hills, M. & Fassam, L.


    Project: ResearchUK Government (old)