Review: Out of the Mountains – The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla – by David Kilcullen

David Kilcullen is an experienced Australian military professional. He is a senior advisor to the US Military. In this book, Kilcullen describes the recent Western conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as relative anomalies in the progress of future wars and conflict. He focus on the Urban, networked littoral. Giant coastal slum cities will be the most likely theaters for modern warfare. Dramatic population rises in giant coastal urban agglomerations which due to technology such as the internet are fully networked into global systems are where the urban guerrillas will be fighting our armies, navies and airforces. He discusses in depth the theory of competitive control whereby communities and organisations through a variety of coercive and non-coercive means wlll govern areas of nations. A clear example of this could be the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq plus its foreign annexed territories across the globe. In the ISIS run areas, civilian populations may be governed with brute force under strict Sharia Islamic law yet at the same time be the only legitimate government of the inhabitants as they provide cvil services, hospitals and transport infrastructure. The littoral refers to maritime urban areas which provide militaries with difficult logistical problems such as arranging convenient and non dangerous amphibious assaults. The Mumbai attacks by the Islamic militants Lashtar-e-Taiba demonstrated how a successful terrorist attack in a large coastal city can be executed and is so difficult to contain and defeat. Population in the developing world is growing massively and these new coastal supercities provide the most difficult terrains for urban planners, governments and militaries to control and are hotbeds where future potential enemies will congregate.
I found this book to be very well written and detailed and its ideas and theories and future projections are inspiring to the imagination if not shrouded with an element of fear. Providing solutions to the changing global military environment will be the focus of world powers for some time and Kilcullen is undoubtedly and expert in the counter-insurgency tactics that will be needed to fight hostile guerrilla movements that threaten the globe.

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