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David Kilcullen

Dr David Kilcullen

Professor of International & Political Studies, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Professor of Practice, Arizona State University; Chief Executive Officer, Cordillera Applications Group; External Contributor

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Dr David Kilcullen is a professor, former diplomat, professional soldier and intelligence officer, founder and CEO of a tech firm and three consulting companies, and author of five prize-winning books on guerrilla warfare, future conflict, terrorism and the future of cities.

He is Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, and CEO of the geopolitical risk analysis firm Cordillera Applications Group. He previously founded and led the global consulting firm Caerus Associates, and the technology firm First Mile Geo (now Native). He is a leading theorist and practitioner of guerrilla and unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, with operational experience over a 25-year career with the Australian and U.S. governments as a light infantry officer, intelligence officer, policy adviser and diplomat. He served in Iraq as senior counterinsurgency advisor to U.S. General David Petraeus, then as a senior counterterrorism advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and has served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and Colombia. He is the author of five books and numerous scholarly papers on terrorism, insurgency, urbanization and future warfare, and was awarded the 2015 Walkley Award (Australia’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) for longform journalism for his war reporting on the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

He heads the Future Operations Research Group at UNSW Canberra, and teaches Masters courses on contemporary strategy, special operations, urban warfare and military innovation at UNSW and ASU. He has led several concept-design teams for U.S. and allied governments, and currently works with national and city-level governments and commercial firms in the United States, Australia, Africa, Latin America and Europe on risk prediction, urban development, public safety, resilience and counterterrorism. He worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Afghanistan, and continues to work with advanced research agencies in the United States, Canada, UK and elsewhere, focused on technology, artificial intelligence and future conflict. He provides geopolitical risk and futures analysis for several of the largest financial institutions and funds in Australia, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Dr. Kilcullen holds a Ph.D in Politics from UNSW, a Masters in Management from the University of Canberra, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics from the ADF School of Languages and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from UNSW. He is a special adviser to the Brenthurst Foundation in Johannesburg, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London, and serves on the boards of several technology start-ups.