Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Kalev Sepp

Keep an eye out for Kalev Sepp, COIN scholar.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Who's who in the COIN world.


How to win in Iraq


Sunday, 29 November 2009

What Makes a Nation Rich? One Economist's Big Answer

Say you're a world leader and you want your country's economy to prosper. According to this Clark Medal winner from MIT, there's a simple solution: start with free elections.

By Daron Acemoglu



Friday, 20 November 2009

Becoming an aid worker


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Monday, 9 November 2009



"Sharing the best in development policy, practice and research"

Sunday, 8 November 2009

ICISS: International Commission on Intervention

ICISS: International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Friday, 14 August 2009

Think Again: A Marshall Plan for Africa


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Tariq Khan on Pakistan's militants

Tariq Khan on Pakistan's militants

The major-general in charge of Pakistan's Frontier Corps isn't offering any peace deals.

Kilcullen: Tea with the Economist

"Unsuccessful counter-insurgencies tend to take 9-10 years; successful counter-insurgencies tend to take a little longer, about 12-15 years."

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Institute for Effective States



The New Strategy in Afghanistan

Charlie Rose roundtable with Tom Ricks, David Kilcullen, and Lieutenant General David Barno.


Insurgency Research Group


Indigenous Forces and Sanctuary Denial

Indigenous Forces and Sanctuary Denial: Enduring Counterinsurgency Imperatives
LTC Robert M Cassidy
Small Wars Journal

Discussion of two COIN imperatives:

1. Training local forces, especially utilising "nomad" forces
2. The importance of denying sanctuary

and in particular using (1) to accomplish (2).

Some interesting points:

"...insurgents require sanctuary and external support to succeed."

Non-lessons from Sri Lanka

To Catch a Tiger
by Robert D. Kaplan

Sri Lanka's brutal suppression of the Tamil Tigers offers an object lesson in how to defeat an insurgency. Or does it?


Monday, 29 June 2009

Inside the Green Berets

Insight into the Special Forces in Afghanistan.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Linking Doctrine to Action

Linking Doctrine to Action: A New COIN Centre-of-Gravity Analysis
Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, U.S. Army, and Major Mark S. Ulrich, U.S. Army

Paper on COIN centre-of-gravity (COG) analysis.

My thought on concluding my first reading of this paper was that as a counterinsurgent you are not a policeman or an insurgent hunter - you are actually there in competition with the insurgents and you need to engage in politics with policies and programs and means and ways and ends. You need to implement your own agenda and counter the insurgent's agenda and counter his countering of your agenda.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Pakistanis rise against Taliban after mosque blast

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani tribesmen avenging a mosque attack surrounded two militant strongholds and destroyed the homes of some Taliban commanders, an official said Monday as the death toll in the fighting hit 13.

As many as 1,600 tribesmen have joined a citizens' militia in Upper Dir district — an indication of rising anti-Taliban sentiment in Pakistan as the military pursues its offensive against the militant group in the nearby Swat Valley.


This is what democracy is - remember? Whoever is armed is the government. If the people are armed, the people are the government.

We are seeing the unfashionable wisdom of the Second Amendment in action.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

AfPak: Nagl v Bacevich


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Crunch Time in Afghanistan-Pakistan

Posted by Dave Kilcullen on February 9, 2009 12:53 PM

(This is an edited version of my statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan, chaired by Senator John F. Kerry, on 5th February 2009).

Senator Joseph Lieberman made a timely and well-argued call, during his recent speech at the Brookings Institution, for a comprehensive political-military campaign in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AFPAK) region. Seven years into a long war, we need to be honest with ourselves about the harsh strategic choices we face...

Long-Term Strategic Options

We need to do four things – what we might call “essential strategic tasks” – to succeed in Afghanistan. We need to prevent the re-emergence of an Al Qaeda sanctuary that could lead to another 9/11. We need to protect Afghanistan from a range of security threats including the Taliban insurgency, terrorism, narcotics, misrule and corruption. We need to build sustainable and accountable state institutions (at the central, provincial and local level) and a resilient civil society. Then we can begin a phased hand-off to Afghan institutions that can survive without permanent international assistance. We might summarize this approach as “Prevent, Protect, Build, Hand-Off”. Let’s call it “Option A”.


Friday, 22 May 2009

Jacqueline Novogratz wants to transform the world’s approach to development

Face value

The patient capitalist
May 21st 2009
From The Economist print edition

Jacqueline Novogratz wants to transform the world’s approach to development

CHAMPIONS of market forces are a glum lot these days, for the most part. But not Jacqueline Novogratz, a market-minded development expert. The current crisis in capitalism, she believes, strengthens her call for a sweeping change in how the world tackles poverty. “The financial system is broken, yes, but so too is the aid system,” she observes. In her view, “a moment of great innovation” could be at hand.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Saving England By The Pound

How to revive a community.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Can social scientists redefine the “war on terror”?

Knowing the Enemy
Can social scientists redefine the “war on terror”?
by George Packer December 18, 2006

In 1993, a young captain in the Australian Army named David Kilcullen was living among villagers in West Java, as part of an immersion program in the Indonesian language. One day, he visited a local military museum that contained a display about Indonesia’s war, during the nineteen-fifties and sixties, against a separatist Muslim insurgency movement called Darul Islam. “I had never heard of this conflict,” Kilcullen told me recently. “It’s hardly known in the West. The Indonesian government won, hands down. And I was fascinated by how it managed to pull off such a successful counterinsurgency campaign.”


Counterinsurgency Field Manual: Afghanistan Edition

Counterinsurgency Field Manual: Afghanistan Edition
By Nathaniel C. Fick, John A. Nagl

January/February 2009

Two years ago, a controversial military manual rewrote U.S. strategy in Iraq. Now, the doctrine’s simple, powerful—even radical—tenets must be applied to the far different and neglected conflict in Afghanistan. Plus, David Petraeus talks to FP about how to win a losing war.

For the past five years, the fight in Afghanistan has been hobbled by strategic drift, conflicting tactics, and too few troops. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, got it right when he bluntly told the U.S. Congress in 2007, “In Iraq, we do what we must.” Of America’s other war, he said, “In Afghanistan, we do what we can.”

It is time this neglect is replaced with a more creative and aggressive strategy. U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is now headed by Gen. David Petraeus, the architect of the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency strategy widely credited with pulling Iraq from the abyss. Many believe that, under Petraeus’s direction, Afghanistan can similarly pull back from the brink of failure.



'Too few boots on ground'

'Too few boots on ground'
May 04, 2009
The Australian

AUSTRALIA will struggle to lead military operations in the South Pacific, according to analysts who argue the defence white paper has overlooked the crucial role of the army in stabilisation and peacekeeping missions.

Defence experts claim the white paper, which asserts an Australian "leadership role within the South Pacific", underrates the value of "boots on the ground" and focuses too heavily on the navy and airforce.

The head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, Hugh White, said the white paper showed indications of "sloppy drafting".

"The document does not show they have carefully examined whether the land forces we now have can achieve the strategic objectives they've set out," Professor White told The Australian yesterday.

"I think they've switched their attention so strongly to the maritime stuff that they've overlooked the adequacy of the land forces.

"What happens if Fiji goes pear-shaped? What happens if there is widespread violence in the PNG highlands? What happens if East Timor goes pear-shaped? Eight battalions doesn't cut it."

Alan Dupont, director of the Centre for International Security Studies at Sydney University, said most potential operations in the South Pacific would be "manpower-intensive".

"Your submarines are not that much use in those situations, where we need to take a leadership role," Professor Dupont said.

"There'll be all these messy type situations, everything from humanitarian intervention to peacekeeping."

Professor Dupont said there was a "very strong case" for the development of another infantry battalion.

"If you cut back on those numbers in the surface fleet, it frees up a lot of capital for things we use all the time, which is essentially ground-based forces," he said.

"I don't have a problem with acquiring a Collins-class submarine follow-on. But I do have a question mark over whether we need 12." Professor Dupont said there was a fundamental imbalance in defence spending.

"I think there should be some reweighting of the defence budget in the future," he said. "There is no substitute for boots on the ground.

"If you go back, since the early 1990s, in virtually every one of the operations which we have been involved in, it is essentially the ground forces that are doing most of the work. And yet they're getting the least amount of money."

But the former chief of operations of the multinational force in Iraq, retired Australian army general Jim Molan, offered a counter view.

"I would love army to have more resources," he said. "But I'd say that army should not be too disappointed. It was navy and airforce that needed the increase."

General Molan said it was the "overall incoherence" of the white paper that stakeholders should be concerned with.

"The paper promises everything to everyone," he said. "There is no connection between the strategic guidance and any of the numbers. Absolutely none."

The executive director of the Australia Defence Association, Neil James, said the white paper was "good overall" but lacked clarity on the replacement of the ageing armoured personnel carrier fleet.

He flagged the urgent need to replace them with infantry fighting vehicles, which he described as essential to modern armies.

He also said there was no explicit reference to a heavy armoured capability, essential for land forces in conventional warfare scenarios.

"There's one word missing from the paper that you never see: that's 'tank'," Mr James said. "And tanks save lives."