General David H Petraeus on Major Global Developments and Strategic Trends

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RUSI hosted an off-the-record conversation with General (Ret) David H. Petraeus, Senior Vice President of RUSI, moderated by Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI and former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. 

In this wide ranging discussion, General Petraeus reflected on the lessons of the post-Arab Spring Middle East, the fight against ISIS (including the situations in Iraq and Syria), the effort in Afghanistan, other challenges to international security (Ukraine, the South China Sea), the state of the global economy and what he describes as the ‘North American Decades’.

Speaker Bio

General (Ret) David H. Petraeus joined the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in 2013 as Chairman of the KKR Global Institute. He was made a Partner in late 2014. The KKR Global Institute is heavily involved in the KKR investment process and oversees the firm’s thought leadership platform focussed on geopolitical and macro-economic situations, as well as environmental, social, and governance issues. General Petraeus is also a Visiting Professor Public Policy at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, Senior Fellow at Harvard University and Senior Vice President of RUSI. Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over thirty seven years in the US military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat – including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of US Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military, he served as the Director of the CIA, leading the Agency during a period of significant achievements in the Global War on Terror. General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the US Military Academy and subsequently earned MPA and PhD degrees in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has received numerous US military, State Department, NATO and United Nations medals and awards, and he has been decorated by thirteen foreign countries.  He also has been a runner-up for Time’s Person of the Year, one of US News and World Report’s Top 25 leaders in America, the Daily Telegraph Man of the year, a Time 100 selectee, and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals. On 10 June 2013, RUSI presented the 35th Chesney Gold Medal to General Petraeus in recognition of his lifetime service and contribution to international defence and security.

Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE served as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) from 2004 to 2009. Sir John joined the SIS in 1971 and over the next twenty years served in Nairobi, Paris and twice in Moscow, as well as several assignments in London covering the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. His second time in Moscow (1991 to 1994) coincided with the end of the USSR and the early years of the Russian Federation. In early September 2001, he retired from SIS on appointment as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in the Cabinet Office. Sir John took up the appointment at the JIC six days before 9/11. During the following three years he was responsible for the co-ordination and presentation of intelligence advice to the Prime Minister and senior members of the Government. On 1 August 2004 Sir John rejoined SIS as its Chief. As head of the service he was responsible for the management of resources, the conduct of operations, and advice to the Government during a period of significant global uncertainty and risk from international terrorism, regional instability and potential conflict; and major shifts in the global balance of power. Sir John retired on 31 October 2009 after thirty eight years in Government service. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, in 1970, he was awarded First Class Honours in Modern History. Since leaving SIS, he has become a Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Sir John is Chairman of the Strategy Advisory Council at Statoil, an adviser to Swiss Re and Chairman of SC Strategy Ltd. He is a Director of Times Newspaper Holdings, a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI and a member of the Global Advisory Council at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC. He is Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust and a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum.

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