RSIS Seminar by Professor David John Kilcullen, Distinguished Visiting Professor, National Security Studies Programme, RSIS; Professor of International and Political Studies at University of New South Wales, Canberra; and Professor of Practice in Global Security at Arizona State University
A Look at Urban Systems – A Decade on
A decade ago, Professor Kilcullen’s book Out of the Mountains applied concepts from systems theory and urban metabolism to the resiliency of cities in an era of rapid population growth, urbanisation, littoralisation, and exploding connectivity. Some key predictions—the increasing nexus of conflict and urban terrain, the role of irregular armed actors (urban guerrillas and terrorists) and the need to develop adaptive capacity to respond to the pace and scale of growth—have turned out as predicted. But other issues, including the rise of great-power competition, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related supply chain disruptions, the emergence of disruptive technologies and alterations in the patterns of demographic growth, have developed differently from what appeared likely in 2012. This session explores patterns of continuity and change in urban systems, a decade on from the original analysis, and seeks to offer new insights on the future of cities and city-states such as Singapore.
About the Speaker
Dr. David Kilcullen is Professor of International and Political Studies at University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra, Professor of Practice in Global Security at Arizona State University (ASU), and CEO of the analysis firm Cordillera Applications Group.
Professor Kilcullen 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 analyst, policy adviser and diplomat. He served in Iraq as senior counterinsurgency advisor to General David Petraeus, then as senior counterterrorism advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, deploying to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and Colombia.
He is the author of six prize-winning books and numerous scholarly papers on terrorism, insurgency, urbanization and future warfare, and was awarded the 2015 Walkley Award for his reporting on the rise of Islamic State. He heads the Future Operations Research Group at UNSW Canberra, and teaches contemporary strategy, special operations, urban warfare, military innovation and adaptation. He has led several concept-design projects for U.S. and allied governments on risk prediction, resilience and counterterrorism. He works with advanced research agencies in the United States, Canada, and UK on technology, artificial intelligence and future conflict.