Dr David Kilcullen


Dr David Kilcullen is the founding President and CEO of Caerus Associates LLC, a strategic design consultancy with a focus on the overlapping problems of conflict, climate change, energy, health and governance. Caerus operates in challenging environments worldwide, from the field to the policy level, with a presence on four continents, and provides design solutions for NGOs, communities, private industry and government.

Dr Kilcullen also serves as an advisor to NATO and a consultant to the U.S. and allied governments, international institutions, industry and NGOs, in conflict and post-conflict environments and the developing world. Dr Kilcullen is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Before joining private industry, Dr Kilcullen had a distinguished career in the Australian and United States governments, including 22 years as a light infantry officer in the Australian Army, during which he served in counterinsurgency, stability operations, peace operations and military advisory roles in Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East. After leaving the Army, Dr Kilcullen served in Australia’s Office of National Assessments, then with the U.S. State Department, first as Chief Strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, then as Special Adviser for Counterinsurgency to the Secretary of State. He served in the Iraq War as Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser to General David Petraeus during the successful 2007 “surge” and in Afghanistan as counterinsurgency adviser to the NATO International Security Assistance Force during 2009-2010. He was a member of the White House review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy in 2008, and has advised the highest levels of the Bush and Obama administrations.

Dr Kilcullen’s academic background is in the political anthropology of conflict in traditional societies. His doctoral dissertation, completed in 2000, is a study of the impact of insurgency on political development, and draws on extended residential fieldwork with guerrillas, militias and local people in remote parts of Indonesia, New Guinea and East Timor. He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow of the Center for a New American Security, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, regularly teaches and presents at academic institutions and industry conferences worldwide, and is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including The Accidental Guerrilla (2009), Counterinsurgency (2010) and Out of the Mountains (forthcoming in 2011), all from Oxford University Press.