Synopses & Reviews
When Americans think of modern warfare, what comes to mind is the US army skirmishing with terrorists and insurgents in the mountains of Afghanistan. But the face of global conflict is ever-changing. In Out of the Mountains
, David Kilcullen, one of the world's leading experts on current and future conflict, offers a groundbreaking look at what may happen after today's wars end. This is a book about future conflicts and future cities, and about the challenges and opportunities that four powerful megatrends--population, urbanization, coastal settlement, and connectedness--are creating across the planet. And it is about what cities, communities and businesses can do to prepare for a future in which all aspects of human society--including, but not limited to, conflict, crime and violence--are changing at an unprecedented pace.
Kilcullen argues that conflict is increasingly likely to occur in sprawling coastal cities, in peri-urban slum settlements that are enveloping many regions of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia, and in highly connected, electronically networked settings. He suggests that cities, rather than countries, are the critical unit of analysis for future conflict and that resiliency, not stability, will be the key objective. Ranging across the globe--from Kingston to Mogadishu to Lagos to Benghazi to Mumbai--he offers a unified theory of "competitive control" that explains how non-state armed groups such as drug cartels, street gangs, and warlords draw their strength from local populations, providing useful ideas for dealing with these groups and with diffuse social conflicts in general. His extensive fieldwork on the ground in a series of urban conflicts suggests that there will be no military solution for many of the struggles we will face in the future. We will need to involve local people deeply to address problems that neither outsiders nor locals alone can solve, drawing on the insight only locals can bring, together with outsider knowledge from fields like urban planning, systems engineering, renewable energy, conflict resolution and mediation.
This deeply researched and compellingly argued book provides an invaluable roadmap to a future that will increasingly be crowded, urban, coastal, connected--and dangerous.
"An iconoclastic new book on future urban conflicts." --David Ignatius, Washington Post
"Out of the Mountains isn't brimming with tactical solutions to such problems. Just as present-day counterinsurgency doctrine didn't materialize overnight, the answers to the questions Mr. Kilcullen poses will evolve over time. But his insistence that it is 'time to drag ourselves -- body and mind -- out of the mountains' serves as a reminder that complacency remains one of the most serious threats to U.S. national security." --Wall Street Journal
"Kilcullen has a rare ability to combine serious theory with the insight of an experienced practitioner." --Foreign Affairs
"Out of the Mountains will appeal to a broad range of readers -- social scientists, security experts and military officers, urban planners and technologists, and a general readership interested in how today's global trends will shape tomorrow's world. Readers who enjoy the work of Robert Kaplan or even Paul Theroux -- the engaging mix of adventure writing with sophisticated social and political analysis -- will find Kilcullen quite appealing." --Washington Monthly
"Although an enemy of the state, I must concede that this is a brilliant book by the most unfettered and analytically acute mind in the military intelligentsia. Kilcullen unflinchingly confronts the nightmare of endless warfare in the slums of the world." --Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
"David Kilcullen brilliantly illuminates a coming dystopian urban world, part Blade Runner and part Minority Report. He cogently argues that we must rapidly find a way to build our own security networks to prepare for the coming age of urban guerrillas. Out of the Mountains crystallizes this sadly probable future in vivid and practical terms." --Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
"Kilcullen delivers a lucid, important study that American leaders should read." --Kirkus Reviews
In Out of the Mountains
, David Kilcullen, one of the world's leading experts on modern warfare, offers a groundbreaking look ahead at what may happen after the war in Afghanistan ends. It is a book about future conflicts and future cities, about the challenges and opportunities that four powerful megatrends are creating across the planet. And it is about what national governments, cities, communities and businesses can do to prepare for a future in which all aspects of human society-including, but not limited to, conflict, crime and violence-are rapidly changing.
Kilcullen analyzes four megatrends--population growth, urbanization, coastal life, and connectedness-and concludes that future conflict is increasingly likely to occur in sprawling coastal cities, in underdeveloped regions of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia, and in highly networked, connected settings. He ranges across the globe, from Kingston to Mogadishu to Honduras to Benghazi to Mumbai. Mumbai exemplifies the trend: a coastal megacity, terrorists based in nearby Karachi exploited new forms of connectivity to direct a horrific terrorist attack. Kilcullen also offers a unified theory of "competitive control" that shows how non-state armed groups, drug cartels, street gangs, warlords--draw their strength from local populations, providing useful ideas for dealing with these groups and with diffuse social conflicts in general. But for many of the struggles we will face, he notes, there will be no military solution. We will need to involve local people deeply to address problems which neither outsiders nor locals alone can solve. These collaborations will interweave the insight only locals can bring, with outsider knowledge from fields such as urban planning, systems engineering, alternative energy technology, conflict resolution and mediation, and other disciplines.
Deeply researched and compellingly argued, Out of the Mountains provides an invaluable roadmap to a future that will increasingly be crowded, urban, coastal, connected-and dangerous.
About the Author
is the author of the highly acclaimed The Accidental Guerrilla
. A former soldier and diplomat, he served as a senior advisor to both General David H. Petraeus and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent years he has focused on fieldwork to support aid agencies, non-government organizations and local communities in conflict and disaster-affected regions, and on developing new ways to think about complex conflicts in highly networked urban environments.
Table of Contents
Preface: Ambush in Afghanistan
1. Out of the Mountains
2. Future Cities, Future Threats
3. The Theory of Competitive Control
4. Conflict in Connected Cities