David Kilcullen

ASU Future of War Senior Fellow

David Kilcullen is an ASU Future of War senior fellow at New America. Kilcullen is Founder and Chairman of Caerus Global Solutions, a strategic research and design firm that helps governments, global institutions, businesses and communities build resiliency in conflict, disaster-affected and post-conflict environments. He is also the Founder and Chairman of First Mile Geo, a tech startup that pioneers open, online cloud-based platforms for collecting, analyzing, sharing, and visualizing social and spatial data. Before joining private industry he served 25 years as an army officer, diplomat and policy advisor for the Australian and United States governments, in command and operational missions (including peacekeeping, counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense) across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. 

In the United States he served as Chief Strategist in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, and served in Iraq as Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus, before becoming Special Advisor for Counterinsurgency to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Kilcullen holds a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales, with a focus on the political anthropology of guerrilla warfare. He was awarded the 1995 Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop Fellowship for his work in Southeast Asia, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1996. Dr. Kilcullen was named one of the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009. His bestselling books, The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One and Counterinsurgency, are used in several universities, as well as by policymakers, the military, intelligence and development agencies worldwide. His third book, Out of the Mountains, which examines conflict in the connected, coastal cities of the future, was awarded the 2013 American Publishers’ Association Prize for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Government and Politics. He most recently developed his 2015 Quarterly Essay Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State into a full-length book. He is currently working on a book examining the future of unconventional warfare.

All Work

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Stalemate emerges as IS wins precious ground

Even before the IS capture of Ramadi, the Australian counter-insurgency expert and former army officer David Kilcullen had written for Quart


INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Islamic State 'look increasingly like a state' warns expert

David Kilcullen is one of the world's foremost experts on IS and he's written a new Quarterly Essay called Blood Year: Terror and the Islami


INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
IS/ISIL/ISIS: State of fear outgrows insurgency label

If ISIS is a state, then what kind of state is it? Pretty clearly, it’s a revolutionary totalitarian state, which seeks to expand by militar


Capitalizing Urbanism: On David Kilcullen’s "Out of the Mountains"

In his book, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla, author David Kilcullen, describes how in 2007, just after “the wors


A provocative investigation on military drones

The downsides, though, are considerable. Drone attacks induce a “siege mentality” in the civilian population, Kilcullen suggested. One triba


INTERNATIONAL SECURITY and RESOURCE SECURITY
What Is the Future of War?

It is with this in mind that New America, a nonpartisan think tank network; Arizona State University, the nation’s largest public university


FELLOWS
Sydney Residents Rally To Head Off Anti-Muslim Violence

Audie Cornish talks to Australian terrorism expert David Kilcullen about the relationship between the Australian government and Muslim commu


Africa: Colombia - From a Political Economy of War to an Inclusive Peace

In one short decade, the country of Colombia moved from being a failed state to almost being the opposite today. This incredible success sto


Interview: Counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen

David Kilcullen: It's different in three major ways. Firstly, it is much bigger and more militarily capable than al-Qaida ever was. It has t


INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Terrorist attack on Australian soil 'a certainty'

David Kilcullen, who has advised Army Generals in Iraq, and was the Chief Counter Terrorism strategist at the US State Department, is convin