Update on Proposed Counter-Insurgency Roundtable

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 3:00pm

13 June 2018

The roundtable on counter-insurgency proposed by the Program Committee chairs on May 31 will not be proceeding. The relevant correspondence may be viewed below.

Dear Colleagues,

As co-chairs of the 2018 SHAFR Program Committee, we write in response to the two open letters by Amy Offner and Hannah Gurman and by Aaron O’Connell concerning the decision to invite David Petraeus as the keynote speaker.  We make our reply in the form of an open letter in the interests of transparency.*

The two letters offer competing interpretations of the recent historical record concerning counter-insurgency and Petraeus’s role therein.  The response to both letters makes clear that SHAFR members regard the subject as an important one, as do we.  As a point of information, the selection of the keynote speaker belongs to the president of SHAFR, not to the Program Committee. 

 Accordingly, in the spirit of open scholarly inquiry, we propose to organize a new, four-person roundtable exploring the history of counter-insurgency in question.  We will hold the roundtable as a plenary session from 4:30 to 5:45 on Friday, June 22, when it will not be scheduled against other panels.

 We therefore invite the authors of each letter to nominate two panelists apiece to discuss the history of counter-insurgency and Petraeus’s role therein.  We will select a chair to introduce the panelists and to moderate Q&A; there will be no formal commentary. 


Jeffrey A. Engel

Katherine C. Epstein

 *Our letter may be viewed here.