Foreign Affairs LIVE: Waging A Digital Counterinsurgency

Washington, D.C.


6:00 - 6:30pm | Check-In & Welcome

6:30 - 6:40pm | Opening Keynote
Jared Cohen
, Director, Google Ideas and Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations 

6:40 - 8:00pm | Plenary Session: Waging A Digital Counterinsurgency
Jared CohenDirector, Google Ideas and Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations 
Kimberly Kagan, President, The Institute for the Study of War
Graeme Wood, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic; Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations 
Moderator: David Ignatius, New York Times Bestselling author and Columnist, The Washington Post 

8:00 - 9:00pm | Networking Reception




Jared Cohen is the founder and director of Google Ideas and an advisor to the executive chairman at Alphabet Inc. He is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a New York Times bestselling author. Previously he served as a member of the secretary of state's Policy Planning Staff and as a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Jared is the author of four books, the most recent of which is the New York Times and international bestseller (in both hardcover and paperback) The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Business, and our Lives (Knopf, 2013), which he co-authored with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. His other books include Children of Jihad (Gotham, 2007), One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and the forthcoming The Accidental Presidents (Simon & Schuster). He is also coauthor with Eric Schmidt of “The Digital Disruption: Connectivity and the Diffusion of Power,” which appeared in Foreign Affairs just a few months before the Arab Spring. Among his additional publications are “The Future of Internet Freedom” (New York Times), “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution” (Wall Street Journal), “Harnessing the Power of Technology to Fight Drug Cartels in Mexico” (Washington Post), “Diverting the Radicalization Track” (Policy Review), 


David Ignatius, the best-selling author of Body of Lies and The Increment, among others, and prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Washington, DC.


Kimberly Kagan is the founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. She is a military historian who has taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Yale, Georgetown, and American University. She is the author of The Eye of Command (2006) and The Surge: a Military History (2009), and editor of The Imperial Moment (2010).  Dr. Kagan has published numerous essays in outlets such as the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington Post ("The Fall of Ramadi was Avoidable"), Los Angeles TimesWeekly Standard, and Foreign Policy.  She co-produced The Surge: The Whole Story, an hour-long oral history and documentary film on the campaign in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.

Dr. Kagan served in Kabul for seventeen months from 2010 to 2012 working for commanders of the International Security Assistance Force, General David H. Petraeus and subsequently General John Allen. Admiral Mike Mullen, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recognized Dr. Kagan for this deployment as a volunteer with the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the Chairman can present to civilians who do not work for the Department of Defense.

Dr. Kagan previously served as a member of General Stanley McChrystal’s strategic assessment team, comprised of civilian experts, during his campaign review in June and July 2009.   Dr. Kagan also served on the Academic Advisory Board at the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at CENTCOM.  She conducted many regular battlefield circulations of Iraq between May 2007 and April 2010 while General Petraeus and General Raymond T. Odierno served as the MNF-I Commanding General. She participated formally on the Joint Campaign Plan Assessment Team for Multi-National Force-Iraq - U.S. Mission- Iraq in October 2008 and October 2009, and as part of the Civilian Advisory Team for the CENTCOM strategic review in January 2009.

Dr. Kagan held an Olin Postdoctoral Fellowship in Military History at Yale International Security Studies in 2004 to 2005 and was a National Security Fellow at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies in 2002 to 2003. She received a B.A. in Classical Civilization and a Ph.D. in History from Yale University.


Graeme Wood has been a writer and a contributing editor for the Atlantic since 2006. He has written for the magazine from every continent and on many topics, including wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the Central African Republic. He has also written for other various publications, including the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy. He is a graduate of Deep Springs College, Harvard, and the American University in Cairo.


In the wake of the Paris attacks, renewed pledges to defeat ISIS intensify. Beyond debate over airstrikes and ground troops, formulating strategy can seem hopelessly difficult given the sheer scale of ISIS' digital propaganda and recruiting machine. However, some recent thinking and research indicates that coordinated efforts to wage a broad-scale digital counterinsurgency may be as urgent as military confrontation when it comes to disabling ISIS and preventing future threats.

You are invited to a special event to explore this topic with a panel of experts including Jared Cohen, David Ignatius, Kimberly Kagan, and Graeme Wood.

To read Jared Cohen's article, Digital Counterinsurgency: How to Marginalize the Islamic State Online, click here.

About Our Partners

Google Ideas is a team of engineers, researchers and geopolitical experts who build products to support free expression and access to information, especially in repressive societies. We focus on the problems faced by people who live in unstable, isolated, or oppressive environments, including the billions of people who are coming online for the first time.

With the right tools, we can make the internet more free and open. Many of us take the internet for granted, but for human rights activists, journalists, and artists living under censorship, a free and open internet can be a matter of life and death.

We believe that technology can profoundly expand access to information for people who need it most.

About Us

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