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2018 Graduate Education | International Affairs

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Arizona State University,

Center on the Future of War


David Kilcullen, a former senior adviser to U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq and an expert in cutting-edge national security issues, was recently co-teaching a course in Arizona State University’s online Master of Arts in Global Security program. The students were scattered across the globe—one at a command post in Afghanistan, another at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., and others connecting from elsewhere.


Gen. James C. McConville, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, speaking with ASU Professor Peter L. Bergen,  Co-Director, Center on the Future of War, at the Future of War Conference, April 2018.

The topic was the application of artificial intelligence and “big data” on the battlefield and its potentially controversial implications—which had recently figured prominently in the news. The students were working professionals pursuing the online MA, which was created by the Center on the Future of War, a partnership between ASU and New America, a D.C.-based think tank.

“This is the beauty of an online master’s program,” Kilcullen says. “With the technology that we access through ASU, we’re able to get that group together online. The program attracts highly trained, mid-career professionals who bring significant experience and really interesting perspectives to the discussion.” He adds, “What we are trying to do is give them an understanding of the sociology, military elements, and policy angles, as well as a basic understanding of the technical issues and practical applications that they will need to advance their careers.”

“The program attracts highly trained, mid-career professionals who bring significant experience and really interesting perspectives to the discussion.” –David Kilcullen, Senior Fellow, Center on the Future of War, Arizona State University

Kilcullen, a military officer, political anthropologist, and counterinsurgency expert who also served as a special adviser to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is founder and chairman of both a strategic research-and-design firm and a technology start-up. He is the author of widely recognized, classic publications on guerrilla warfare, ISIS, and military strategy, and he is now working on his fifth book.

David Kilcullen

Kilcullen is a prime example of the caliber of national security experts who teach in the online MA in Global Security and form the Center on the Future of War’s core team. Program faculty include top academics, journalists, former government officials, and flag officers who teach courses on cybersecurity, defense planning, humanitarian assistance, and the strategic impact of emerging technologies.

The Center was created four years ago, with Kilcullen as one of the original senior fellows. It operates in the School of Politics and Global Studies within Arizona State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The master’s program is led by three ASU faculty members: Daniel Rothenberg and Peter L. Bergen, co-directors of the Center; and Jeffrey Kubiak, who co-directs the MA program along with Rothenberg.

Kubiak, who co-taught the recent class with Kilcullen, is a retired colonel with a PhD in political science. He previously taught at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies.

Bergen is a vice president of New America and director of its International Security and Future of War programs. He is also a CNN commentator and a leading expert on domestic and international terrorism.

Rothenberg is an expert in international law, human rights, and post-conflict reconstruction. He has designed and managed rule-of-law projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and elsewhere around the world.

“The idea is to have a pool of talent that provides a variety of relevant, niche backgrounds that you don’t usually find in a master’s program,” Kilcullen says. “It provides a broad set of perspectives for students.”

Graduate Degree Program:

• Online MA in Global Security

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