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The implications of counterinsurgency experience for international development

July 2 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

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A book presentation by Dennis de Tray. 

A seminar of the Social & Environmental TG and Economics TG. 

Drawing on his 2018 book (de Tray, (2018) Why Counterinsurgency Fails, Palgrave and McMillan) the author will present his case for an alternate approach in conflict-affected countries. His book describes a new approach to the “soft” side of a counterinsurgency campaign. The program in question was developed by the 173rd Airborne Brigade with the author’s assistance and tested in Afghanistan’s Logar and Wardak Provinces in 2010. The core element of this program is the use of local governments (districts) to rebuild trust between the Afghan people and their government. Trust between a people and their government is a fundamental element of a modern counterinsurgency campaign. The 173rd pilot was highly successful, suggesting that Afghanistan’s district sub-governors have the will and the capacity to serve their people. This work suggests that the poor outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan – and Vietnam before them – might have stemmed from the fact that the US did not implement its counterinsurgency strategy as set out by David Petraeus and James Amos in The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. The Afghan experience has implication for the way international development agencies work in fragile states.

About the Speaker
Following a 12-year stint at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica California, Dr. de Tray joined the World Bank’s Research Department in 1983. He was appointed the Bank’s Research Administrator in 1987 and moved to the Bank’s Latin American operations complex in 1992. His last assignments at the Bank were as Country Director for Indonesia, 1994-1999, and then Central Asia, 2001-2006. For the past nine years, he has been Adviser to the President, and member of the Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev University, a new English language university in Astana, Kazakhstan. In Astana, he has spent the past 10 years building a world-class University from scratch. He is also a principal with the Results for Development Institute and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) both in Washington D.C. Since leaving the World Bank, his consulting work has included advising: the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan; the governments of Kazakhstan and East Timor; and the Aga Khan Development Network.


July 2
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


MC 4-300