Writing a book is always a far more collaborative effort than its cover page suggests. We owe debts of gratitude to many people—friends, relatives, colleagues, and practitioners who have over the course of several years assisted us with interviews, advice, critique, and encouragement.
Most of the individuals interviewed for this book wanted to remain anonymous and cannot be credited by name for their rich contributions and generosity with both time and effort. Among those we can thank, we would like to single out Brig. Ben Barry and Col. (ret) Richard Iron for their continuous engagement with us as authors and for commenting on draft chapters. Their help and input have resulted in a final manuscript of far higher quality than what would otherwise have been possible.
Research for this book started in 2008, and over the course of several years many people at many institutions have played key parts in making the final product possible. David Ucko thanks Wade Markell at the RAND Corporation for involving him on a project that led to the initial research into the British campaign in Basra; Mats Berdal at King’s College London for shaping his thinking about war-to-peace transitions and the nature of military intervention; Thomas A. Marks at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University (NDU), for sharing his unique perspectives on insurgency and counterinsurgency and for commenting on (p.xviii) earlier drafts of the manuscript; Frank Hoffman at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, NDU, for the many long conversations about counterinsurgency, both British and otherwise; and Ryan Evans for the many “off site” meetings to discuss the book and the theses underpinning it. Robert Egnell thanks Daniele Riggio at the Public Diplomacy Division at NATO headquarters for providing the opportunity to conduct research in Afghanistan during a Tour of Opinion Leaders; and Stuart Griffin at King’s College London for involving him in a special issue of International Affairs on the impact of Afghanistan on British and US defense thinking.
We extend particular recognition to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, which provided institutional and research support during the preliminary phase of writing this book. Nicholas Redman deserves particular mention for his comments on our work, but we also thank Caitlin Brannan for her help in setting up the conference “British Counterinsurgency: Past, Present, and Future,” which we held at the institute in December 2010. With this conference, we were able to gather in one room many of the key players in the debate on British counterinsurgency and engage them in a full-day discussion of our research. We again want to recognize the key assistance and support of Brig. Ben Barry, without whom the event would have been far smaller and far less rewarding. Of course, the conference would not even have happened had it not been for the support from the Swedish Armed Forces, who agreed to fund the event in full through the Expeditionary Capabilities project and thereby contributed substantively to our research project.
Throughout the writing of the book, we have benefited from the advice and contributions of many academics and practitioners. There are too many to thank by name—and many, again, want to remain anonymous—but we would be remiss if we did not thank those who have played a particularly notable role: Alex Alderson, David Betz, Warren Chin, Christopher Dandeker, Theo Farrell, Stuart Griffin, Frank Ledwidge, Paul Newton, Kenneth Payne, and Matthew Smith. For their comments on previous drafts and research assistance, we also recognize Jillian Anthony, Clement Christensen, and David O’Donnell.
We likewise extend our gratitude to Bruce Hoffman, who not only believed in the project but also saw its potential as a book in the Columbia University Press Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare series. We are (p.xix) also grateful to the excellent team at the press who supported us through the final phases of this project and made sure that the manuscript reached its maximum potential.
Finally, our families have once again provided us with the time and support necessary to complete a book. David thanks his parents, Hans and Agneta; his siblings, Daniel and Hanna; and his brother-in-law, Alexander, for their encouragement, companionship, and sense of humor. Of course, special thanks go to Kate for her love and support—and for taking extra care of our daughter, Magdalena, all those times I was “in the middle of a sentence.” Robert thanks his entire family, but a special thank you goes to Ditte: there is no way of exaggerating the importance of your effort and support to make our wonderful family and busy lives function.
With all this, it remains to be said that all faults and errors in the book are entirely our own. It should also be specified that the views expressed in this book are also our own and do not reflect the official policy or position of our respective employers, be it Georgetown University, the National Defense University, the US Department of Defense, or the US government. (p.xx)