Seminars in Peace and Conflict Studies: “Insurgency’s Third Wave” – Prof Steven Metz

  • Date:
  • Time: 5pm

The Centre for Global Security Challenges (CGSC) are delighted to welcome renowned author Dr Steven Metz, Professor of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and Nonresident Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, for a “Seminars in Peace and Conflict Studies” guest lecture on Tuesday 18 May, 1700. Link for zoom registration.

In this lecture titled “Insurgency’s Third Wave,” Dr Metz will discuss his current project on the future of insurgency. An abstract is provided below:


Insurgency is best understood as a form of strategy, not as a type of organization or a form of war. Like war, though, it has an enduring nature and a changing character. This change can be  conceptualized as a series of waves. The first, which was politically focused, ran from the 1920s to 1990s and was dominated by Maoist “people’s war.” The second, which was economically focused, ran from the early 1990s until the past decade. It was characterized by ideologies based on religion, sect, or ethnicity; reliance on terrorism; the merging of insurgency and crime, and some degree of transnationalization. The third, which is psychologically and identity focused, is still unfolding. It is characterized by increasing fluidity and transnationalization; polyglot coalitions and alliances; network-and-node organizational forms; and informational, tactical, operational, and strategic swarming. While it is too early to predict the key features of fourth wave with precision, it is beginning to coalesce. 

Dr. Metz is the author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy and several hundred other publications on future war, the emerging security environment, insurgency, military strategy, defense policy, international relations and world politics. Between 2012 and 2019 he wrote a weekly column on defense and national security for World Politics Review. He is currently at work on a book entitled Insurgency’s Three Waves: How Insurgent Innovation Is Changing Contemporary Warfare.

Prior to his current position Dr. Metz was with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute serving as Senior Research Professor, Director of Research, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Military Studies, chairman of the Regional Strategy Department, research director for the Joint Strategic Landpower Task Force, director of the Future of American Strategy Project, project director for the Army Iraq Stabilization Strategic Assessment, director of the Strategic Studies Institute/ Defense Threat Reduction Agency Future Landpower Environment Project, and co-organizer of the Harvard-U.S. Army War College Symposia on Security Transformation.

Dr. Metz has also been on the faculty of the Air War College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and several universities. He has been an advisor to political campaigns; testified in both houses of Congress; and spoken on military and security issues around the world. He served on the blue ribbon advisory panel for the Secretary of Defense Strategic Portfolio Review for Close Combat Capabilities, the RAND Insurgency Board, the Board of Advisors for the U.S. Army history of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Senior Advisory Panel on Special Forces—Conventional Forces Interdependence, the Atlantic Council’s Defense Austerity Task Force, the Central Intelligence Agency’s External Advisory Panel for the Iraq Working Group, the Board of Advisers for the American Enterprise Institute’s Defense Review, the Center for Strategic and International Studies Defense Reform For a New Era Task Force the Lexington Institute’s Grading Government Performance on Homeland Security Task Force, and as a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute.

Metz holds a B.A. in philosophy and M.A. in international studies from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. in political science from the Johns Hopkins University.