Friday, August 24, 2007

Profile: David Kilcullen

David Kilcullen, the Aussie COIN expert advising GEN Petraeus and SecState Rice, is featured in The Australian (hat-tip, SWJ Blog):

Kilcullen is one of the most influential Australian military minds of his generation. He grew up on Sydney's north shore, the son of academics. He studied counterinsurgency as a cadet at Duntroon, served for more than 20 years in the Australian Army and was awarded a PhD in political science from the University fo NSW for a thesis on Indonesian insurgent and terrorist groups and counterinsurgency methods. He has been a military adviser to the Indonesian Special Forces in counterinsurgency, taught counterinsurgency tactics at the British School of Infantry, and served in peacekeeping operations in Cyprus and Bougainville. Kilcullen also commanded an Australian infantry company in counterinsurgency operations in East Timor and trained and led East Timorese forces after the independence vote in 1999. He was a special adviser for irregular warfare to the 2005 US Quadrennial Defence Review and is Rice's chief strategist on counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism, working in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia.


Kilcullen's philosophical approach to counterinsurgency overturned the prevailing orthodoxy. The goal was no longer finding and killing the enemy: it became protecting the population that supports the country's government, winning more and more people to that group and pushing the insurgents to the margins. "If you try to kill the enemy, you end up destroying the haystack to kill the needle," Kilcullen tells Inquirer. "But you can drive the insurgents away, like combing fleas out of a dog. And then you hard-wire them out of the environment."

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