David Kilcullen, the former Australian military officer who became a key architect of the "surge" strategy in Iraq, is among the most respected counterinsurgency gurus in Washington, a senior advisor to generals and officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations and a prolific author and speaker on the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan.
So his announcement to a private, off-the-record meeting of foreign-policy wonks last month that he was quitting his main consulting gig left many in the room scratching their heads.
Kilcullen almost missed his planned appointment to speak with the group that Saturday morning in late January, explaining that he had just spent several hours suddenly resigning from the Crumpton Group, the consulting firm headed by former State Department and CIA official Henry "Hank" Crumpton, over "a matter of principle."
Contacted by The Cable, Kilcullen confirmed his remarks but said he couldn't discuss the reasons for his split with the Crumpton Group because he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
"What I can say is that I'm still very heavily involved in work in Afghanistan and in support of foreign assistance, humanitarian work, governance and development worldwide, and have formed my own company to work in that space."