March 30, 2016

David Kilcullen and Robert Manne + David Kilcullen: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror

Title: David Kilcullen and Robert Manne. Source: WheelerCentre. Date Published: August 3, 2015. Description: 
David Kilcullen is one of the world’s most informed voices on military strategy, guerrilla conflict and terror, and the author of the forthcoming June Quarterly Essay on Islamic State. Australian-born, but now based in Washington DC, Kilcullen has twenty-five years of experience as a student and researcher of counter-terrorism and conflict zone ethnography.

After serving as an Australian Army officer, he was a senior counter-insurgency advisor to US General David Petraeus, the chief strategist at the US State Department, and special advisor for counter-insurgency to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He is seen as the architect of the 2007 Iraqi troop surge.

His paper, ‘Twenty-Eight Articles’, began as an email … and now forms part of formal training material for troops in Australia, the US, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kilcullen has laid particular emphasis on the need for more situation-specific, human understanding of conflicts. In one essay, he says: ‘Conflict ethnography is key; to borrow a literary term, there is no substitute for a “close reading” of the environment.’ His recent work has focussed on bringing his expertise to aid agencies and disaster-affected regions.

In his books (he’s written three), he has explored threats to future societies; explained the complex interactions between social groups, geography, urban design and conflict; suggested strategies for dealing with stateless assailants; and argued for the importance of ‘out-governing’ the enemy.

He joins us for an in-depth conversation about the future of conflict, Australia’s role, and the challenges and opportunities of a changing world. With Robert Manne, as part of the La Trobe University Ideas and Society program.

Title: David Kilcullen: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror. Source: RUSI. Date Published: March 2, 2016. Description: 
A lecture by Dr David Kilcullen, Chairman, Caerus Associates
In his lecture, Dr Kilcullen gives an unsparingly honest, self-critical analysis of the collapse of western counterterrorism strategy and the subsequent rise of Islamic State. As a soldier, counterterrorism official and Chief Strategist in the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, he was one of the original architects of US and allied counterterrorism policy.

Dr Kilcullen contends that the strategy he helped design has failed, and that it has not made us safer and has contributed to new threats, including Islamic State. The most startling part of his analysis is that there may be worse dangers than ISIS incubating in various parts of the world.