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Professor David Kirkpatrick is an Associate Fellow at RUSI. He trained as an aeronautical engineer and later as an economist.
During his career in the Scientific Civil Service, he undertook aeronautical research (in aerodynamics and aircraft design) in the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, military operational analysis and project cost forecasting in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and attaché duties on the British Defence Staff in Washington DC.
Later he worked in the Defence Engineering Group (DEG) at University College London, which then was MoD's designated centre of excellence for education and research in defence equipment acquisition. In 1999 he was awarded a Personal Chair of Defence Analysis, and was later appointed Head of the DEG.
Since 1995 he has been an independent member of the Defence Science Advisory Council, and has been a specialist advisor to successive House of Commons Defence Committees since 1998.
He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has written many published papers, on various aspects of aeronautics, defence acquisition, defence economics and military history, and is one of the principal authors of the book Conquering Complexity - Lessons for Defence Systems Acquisition.