A Conversation with General David Petraeus

February 4, 2024

Wars that the United States is not officially part of – Ukraine and Gaza – are still taking up much of the national conversation. People have all sorts of opinions and questions about wars. Some wonder whether Russia and Israel are fighting fairly; others whether the US should be more aggressive with China and Iran. What are the rules of armed conflict? What is the meaning of counterinsurgency warfare?  Have the rules changed in a world of terrorism, where enemy combatants surround themselves with civilians and don’t wear uniforms? And is national security even possible in a world of cyber warfare and disinformation?

On February 4, FOLCS hosted a Conversation on these urgent questions, as well as other timely issues, with retired US Army General and former CIA Director, David Petraeus.

General David Petraeus
Retired United States Army General, Public Official

General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.) is one of the leading battlefield commanders and strategists of our time. He served over 37 years in the US military culminating his career with six consecutive commands as a general officer, five of which were in combat, including command of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and NATO/US Forces in Afghanistan.  He subsequently served as Director of the CIA, following confirmation by the Senate by a vote of 94-0, during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror. General Petraeus is now a Partner with the global investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in 2013. He also serves on corporate boards, is the Kissinger Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson School, and is the co-author, with Andrew Roberts, of Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine. General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the US Military Academy, earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University, and has held academic appointments at 5 universities in addition to his current position at Yale. He is also Co-Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Advisory Council, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and a member of the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, and Aspen Strategy Group. His awards include four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Combat Action Badge, the anger tab, and master parachutist wings. He has also been decorated by 14 foreign countries and is believed to be the only person in uniform to throw out the first pitch of a World Series game and do the coin toss for a Super Bowl. He was runner-up to Vladimir Putin for Time Person of the Year in 2007, the Daily Telegraph Man of the Year, twice a Time 100 selectee, three times a Foreign Policy top public intellectual, Prospect magazine’s Public Intellectual of the Year, one of US News and World Report’s Top 25 Leaders, and sanctioned by Russia (in 2022).

Click here to view a full list of our past Conversations.