RUSI Book: Victory Among People: Lessons from Countering Insurgency and Stabilising Fragile States

Victory Among People coverMany defence establishments have not yet fully adapted to the security realities of the post-Cold War world and this complex, and dangerous, new century, despite insurgency and instability continuing to trouble a host of states worldwide.


Victory Among People: Lessons from Countering Insurgency and Stabilising Fragile States, a major new compendium co-published by The Brenthurst Foundation and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), sets out the latest thinking from across the globe on countering insurgencies and conducting stabilisation operations.

Including contributions from the UK Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards; Alan Doss, former UN Special Representative and Head of Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and a foreword by former Commander of ISAF and US Forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, the new book outlines what the international community must do to address future conflict.

Offering a soldier's perspective on countering insurgency, General Sir David Richards writes:

'The British armed forces continue to adapt to the challenges of war in Afghanistan. Self-critically however, this 'transformation in contact' is still too localised and not yet fully in our bloodstream. While certainly a great deal of work is under way, the population-focused, often subtle and certainly hi-tech ways of fighting that we now take for granted in places like Helmand are still to be taken into the core of the armed forces, as we train and equip for generic operations. Understanding the vital role of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in such conflict is taking too long.'

General Richards adds:

'In many ways, Afghanistan is a signpost to the future: it is a testing ground for us and our enemies. How we deal with the threat posed by violent extremism more generally, often embedded in dangerously radicalised states, is an issue that will dominate politicians and military officers for the foreseeable future.'

Praise for Victory Among People:

'No recent study of counter-insurgency can claim the same breadth and diversity of cases and perspectives as this volume. Victory Among People shall remain a vital reference for practitioners well into the future.' General Stanley McChrystal

'Victory Among People is a major and exceptional contribution to the literature on countering insurgencies and stabilising states in jeopardy.' Juan Manuel Santos, President of  Colombia

'Victory Among People rightly identifies the population as the vital prize. Without winning them over to your cause, you stand no chance of success... This is only one of many invaluable insights found in this book, making it a must-read for anyone interested in global peace and security.' John A Kufuor, Former President of Ghana

Victory Among People is co-edited by General Sir David Richards and Dr Greg Mills. This major new book co-published by RUSI and The Brenthurst Foundation, covers current and past stabilisation operations from Afghanistan to Liberia and is an invaluable guide for militaries, donors and multilateral agencies on the front line of today's insurgencies.

Victory Among People is available for sale via the RUSI website, please visit


  1. Any enquiries, please contact Daniel Sherman +44(0) 20 7747 2617 / +44(0)7917 373 069 /
  2. A copy of the Table of Contents, Introduction (by co-editors, General Sir David Richards and Dr Greg Mills) and Chapter 1 'A Soldier's Perspective on Countering Insurgency' can be viewed at
  3. About the editors: Dr Greg Mills is the Director of The Brenthurst Foundation and previously served under General Richards as Head of the Prism Group during ISAF IX (2006-7) in Afghanistan. He returned to Afghanistan in a similar role for RC South (Kandahar) in 2010. General Sir David Richards is the UK Chief of Defence Staff.
  4. The Brenthurst Foundation is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was established in October 2004 and today is on the frontier of innovative thinking on issues affecting Africa's development and economic growth, including lessons learned from other countries or regions emerging from conflict or in the process of diversifying their economic activities.
  5. RUSI is an independent think-tank for defence and security. RUSI is a unique institution; founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, it embodies nearly two centuries of forward thinking, free discussion and careful reflection on defence and security matters.


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