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National Security College presents

Waging insurgent warfare: lessons from the Islamic State

Public seminar


28th July 2016


Molongolo Theatre, Level 2, Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Dr Seth G Jones, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation



Most modern warfare occurs in the form of insurgencies. Since the end of World War II, there have been 181 insurgencies around the world – with more than three dozen violent insurgencies currently taking place today, including in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. However, in spite of their prevalence, we still know relatively little about how insurgencies function.

In this lecture, Seth G Jones will offer new insights into the dynamics of insurgent groups, weaving together examples from current events and recent history to identify the factors that contribute to the rise of an insurgency, the key components involved in conducting an insurgency and the elements that contribute to the end of insurgencies. Through examining the strategies, tactics and campaigns that insurgents have used in the Post-WWII era, this lecture will detail the ways in which insurgent groups operate with a view to informing counter-insurgency tactics and future operations.

Dr Seth G Jones is Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, as well as an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies. He served as the representative for the commander, US Special Operations Command, to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations. Before that, Dr Jones served as a plans officer and advisor to the commanding general, US Special Operations Forces, in Afghanistan (Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan). He specialises in counter insurgency and counter terrorism, including a focus on al Qa’ida and ISIS/ISIL. Dr Jones is the author of Waging Insurgent Warfare (OUP, 2016), Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa’ida after 9/11 (W.W. Norton, 2012) and In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan (W. W. Norton), which won the 2010 Council on Foreign Relations Silver Medal for Best Book of the Year. He received his MA and PhDfrom the University of Chicago.

Registration is essential.

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