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Ret. Col. Derek Harvey

Citizenship Initiative makes impressive hire

TAMPA, Fla. -- Retired Army Col. Derek Harvey, an internationally renowned analyst of social, cultural, political and conflict issues, has joined the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences Citizenship Initiative (CI) as Professor of Practice and Director of Research and Strategy.

Most recently, Harvey set up and directed the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence (COE) after being appointed by the Central Command Commander, Gen. David Petraeus, in 2009. But his experience goes much deeper than that, having practically single-handedly re-shaped intelligence analysis, from policy to the tactical levels, for the contemporary challenges of modern conflict.

“I am absolutely delighted that Derek has joined us,” said David Jacobson, the director of the Citizenship Initiative. “In all my nearly 25 years of work as a social scientist, I have simply not met anyone who so brilliantly can understand, holistically, the dynamics of human life, from the broad, global trends to the level of personal interaction. Further he fluidly and effectively moves from theoretical analysis to practical applications, from policy to implementation.

“Our main focus in the Citizenship Initiative has been on the dynamics of civil society and conflict. It is hard to think of anyone as well situated for such an area than Derek Harvey.”

Harvey was credited for sounding the alarm on the growing insurgency in Iraq in 2003, despite optimistic assessments by U.S. government officials at the most senior levels; Many have credited him developing the strategy and being the architect behind the Sunni Awakening and the defeat of Al Qaida in Iraq.

Deeply independent in his analysis, Harvey is respected across the political spectrum. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said Harvey is “unusually thoughtful…He is somebody who works very, very hard to untangle all the nuances, and is always in my view prepared to step back and examine the assumptions, a critical feature for an analyst.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich-R, described Harvey’s work as “simply stunning.”

Harvey is something of the hero of Bob Woodward’s book “The War Within.” Woodward described how Harvey had effectively moved among the tribes of Iraq, and developed the deep cultural and social understanding so lacking in much of government and even academic disciplines.

Woodward wrote, “In the late 1980s, Harvey traveled throughout Iraq by taxicab -- 500 miles, village to village -- interviewing locals, sleeping on mud floors with a shower curtain for a door. He [was] full of questions, intensely curious and entirely nonthreatening. After the 1991 Gulf War, when the CIA was predicting the inevitable fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Harvey, then a major, insisted that Hussein would survive because members of the Sunni community knew their fortunes were tied to his. He was right. Months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Harvey wrote an intelligence paper declaring that al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan posed a strategic threat to the United States.”

Harvey also developed new techniques of analysis, useful not only for government but also for the social sciences. Gen. Petraeus likened his “favorite intelligence officer” to a homicide detective, sifting through evidence from multiple sources, but on a much larger stage. He has implemented innovative, change-oriented practices to redesign, re-orient and re-tool analytical approaches to leverage technology and databases, to improve the capacity to exploit open domain knowledge, and collaborate with academia and think tanks. In speaking of Harvey, Maj. Gen. (Ret) Barbara Fast said, “…the best strategic intelligence officer in the U.S. military.” She went on to say that he led “…the most effective ‘Red Cell’ effort that has ever been conducted in a major theater of war.”

Harvey briefed at the highest levels of government up to and including the president, not hesitating to be an independent voice, and speaking to the evidence on issues whether it represented favored narratives or not. He also has shown great courage personally, for example entering Fallujah at the height of the uprising there and spending the day and night talking with leaders in the insurgency. But he showed how the uprising was being powered by in good part former Ba’athists and the old Sunni oligarchy using religious nationalism and grievances as a motivating force not, primarily, Al Qaeda forces. Woodward would later quote Harvey telling the president about one “Salafist insurgent,” “We label him a religious extremist [but he is] a Baathist who’s very angry, has lost family members…Drinks Johnnie Walker Black Label.”

According to the St Louis Post Dispatch April 7, 2008 issue, “Derek Harvey has operated beneath the public radar for the entire Iraq war yet is regarded by many as the single most-informed American on military developments in Iraq. For the past 15 months, as Petraeus’ senior civilian adviser, Harvey has been a prime advocate -- and architect -- of the troop surge and altered policies credited with reducing violence in Iraq. “Harvey is hands down the very best intelligence analyst that the United States government has on Iraq,” said former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane. “He has been right from late ’03 all the way…up to the present. Not everybody has listened to Harvey, but Gen. Petraeus has, and so he’s making a difference,” said Keane, who retired but is now a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel.

Harvey’s experience and skills go well beyond that which has been written about in media and books. He has extensive experience in policy development, strategic planning, designing analytical studies and writing estimates and key policy papers for inter-agency planning and national-level decision-makers. He has engaged U.S. Congress and Executive Branch on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a range of Middle East issues and briefed the president and NSC principals.

Harvey provided analytical and policy counsel to both the Multi-National Forces-Iraq and to commanders and staffs in 2003-04 and from late 2006 to mid-2009. He routinely participated in senior level consultative discussions, assisted in shaping strategy, provided threat and political assessments, prescriptive analysis, options and policy advice. He represented the commander in engagements/liaison with a range of Iraqi officials and civilian leaders to include tribal leaders, business leaders and insurgents.

He retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel in 2006 after serving primarily as a Middle East Foreign Area Officer and intelligence officer. Prior to joining the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2006, he was the Iraq Senior Analyst, Joint Staff, Pentagon, in late 2004 to early 2006. Previously, he was Chief, Commander’s Assessments and Initiatives Group, Senior Intelligence Analyst for the Intelligence Fusion Center, and “Red Cell” Team Chief for Combined Joint Task Force-7 and Multi-National Force-Iraq. He supported policy development and strategic planning. He briefed the president and NSC principals; supported the Joint Chiefs Chairman’s Iraq Strategic Review; consulted for the Iraq Study Group; and completed a Multi-National Corps campaign review.

While assigned to the United States Forces Korea from 1992-1996, he worked in a number of positions to include Chief, Combined Intelligence Operations Center; Chief, Ground Force Analysis Division, and Chief, Estimates and Plans Branch. While assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency and Joint Staff J2 from 1989 to 1993, he worked in the Iraq Task Force and the Middle East Branch. Previously, he served in the Army Defense Attache Office, U.S. Embassy, Rabat, Morocco.

A native of Elmhurst, Ill., Harvey undertook doctoral level work in Middle East studies at the University of Utah. Harvey was the Army Senior Fellow to the U.S. State Department, and also attended the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Intelligence & Policy Program. He is a graduate of the L’Ecole d’Etat Majeur, the Moroccan Staff College. His U.S. Military education includes the Military Attache Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Foreign Area Officer Course-Middle East/North Africa, Armor Advance Course, Infantry Officer Basic Course and Airborne/Ranger Schools.

Harvey has been a presenter at symposiums and academic oriented panels to include Council of Foreign Relations, Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Center Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Rand, Institute for the Study of War, Center for New American Security and other organizations.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Research    
Author: Staff Report