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War on the Rocks

English, News media, 1 season, 269 episodes, 13 hours, 3 minutes
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Discussions over drinks with security, defense, and foreign policy insiders and experts. The original War on the Rocks podcast series.
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Is Russia's Window for Gains this Summer Narrowing?

Michael Kofman dropped into WOTR HQ to chat with Ryan about the war in Ukraine. From Russia's culminated offensive on Kharkiv, to battlefields of the Donbas, to ongoing fighting in the south, to Russia's displaced Black Sea Fleet, Mike parses through the data to try and assess where the war is heading next. 
6/14/202423 minutes, 47 seconds
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CTOing in the Defense Department with Schuyler Moore and Justin Fanelli

It's become more and more common for organizations in the Defense Department, from the military services to geographic combatant commands and beyond, to have chief technology officers. What do they do? What challenges do they tackle? Why are they becoming increasingly important as the U.S. military tries to maintain its technological edge over China and other shrewd and savvy rivals using tech to create asymmetries? To help grapple with these questions, I sat down with Schuyler Moore, the CTO of U.S. Central Command, and Justin Fanelli, the CTO of the U.S. Department of the Navy.
6/10/202440 minutes, 38 seconds
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A Conversation with Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall was kind enough to spend some time with Ryan talking about the reorganization of the Department of the Air Force and modernization. They also discussed the challenges new entrants have breaking into working with the Defense Department. And they closed with a brief discussion about resistance to plans to move some Air National Guard members from six states into the Space Force.
5/22/202435 minutes, 13 seconds
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From Polar Presence to Port Security: A Conversation with the Coast Guard Commandant

Nick sat down with United States Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan to discuss the Coast Guard’s global activities, from the Arctic to the Indo-Pacific to the growing digital security challenges to America’s ports.
5/10/202430 minutes, 13 seconds
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What Will Ukraine Do To Stay in the Fight this Year?

The U.S. Congress finally passed the security supplement, authorizing a large amount of funding and support to keep Ukraine in the fight. This package buys Ukraine another year of time. What will Ukraine do with that time? What is the situation at the front? Michael Kofman answers these questions and more.
5/6/202418 minutes, 2 seconds
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Ukraine and a Fractured World

Ryan sat down with three friends to talk about the war in Ukraine through the lens of a new edited volume on the topic. Enjoy this conversation with Andrea Kendall-Taylor (former CIA), Hal Brands, and Alexander Bick (former National Security Council staff), which surfaces some important disagreements and debates about the war and international order. Oh, and also buy War in Ukraine: Conflict, Strategy, and the Return of a Fractured World (https://www.amazon.com/War-Ukraine-Conflict-Strategy-Fractured/dp/1421449846). Please note this was recorded shortly before the U.S. Congress passed the security supplemental, which included aid for Ukraine.
5/1/202441 minutes, 47 seconds
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Crossing the Threshold

Nick sat down with Eric Brewer, Dana Stroul, and Gavin Clough to discuss how the conventional, proxy, and nuclear threats Iran poses are evolving. Who was deterred and who wasn't by the latest Iranian and Israeli strikes? What did we learn about Iranian capabilities? And how will this affect Iran's thinking about a bomb?
4/26/202435 minutes, 53 seconds
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Spacepower and the Private Sector

On the sidelines of the National Space Symposium, we threw a little party and recorded a podcast, because why not? Our special guest was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb and the main focus of the conversation was the Defense Department's new strategy on space commercial integration.
4/19/202420 minutes, 5 seconds
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Mike Kofman and Rob Lee on Drones in Ukraine

This deep and fascinating conversation is one of a two-part discussion that you can listen to on the Russia Contingency, a members-only podcast hosted by Michael Kofman. Become a member here: https://warontherocks.com/membership
4/10/202458 minutes, 19 seconds
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Ammunition, Energy and a Sense of History: The Czech Ambassador on Ukraine and More

Nick sat down with Czech Ambassador to the United States Miloslav Stašek for a geographically wide-ranging conversation that moved from Munich to the Middle East to the Texas automotive industry. Amb. Stašek discussed the progress of his government’s ammunition initiative for Ukraine, relations within the Visegrád Group and the expanding scope of U.S.-Czech ties.
4/8/202430 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Laboratory Building the Future of the Army

Ryan popped into Austin to see what the Army Applications Laboratory was getting up to. Its director, Dr. Casey Perley, was kind enough to sit down with Ryan and break it down for him. If you care about military innovation, defense tech, and the future of the Army, this episode is for you.
4/3/202427 minutes, 49 seconds
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Spotlight on Moldova: Chisinau’s Ambassador Talks Democracy, Security and Wine

Nick Danforth sat down with Moldovan Ambassador to the United States Viorel Ursu last week to discuss democracy, energy and Russian hybrid warfare, not to mention Black Sea security and the post-conflict politics of wine exports.  
3/22/202436 minutes, 54 seconds
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Fortifications, Manpower, and Munitions in Ukraine's Daunting Year Ahead

Mike Kofman, fresh back from a research trip to Ukraine, spoke with Ryan about Ukraine's main challenges in facing down Russia this year.
3/17/202429 minutes, 52 seconds
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Warsaw's Man in Washington on European Security and Poland's Defense Buildup

Ryan visited Ambassador Marek Magierowski at the Polish Embassy in Washington. They spoke about Poland's military build-up and the challenges posed by Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine. Much of their conversation focused on defense industrial issues, which sit at the heart of NATO's most difficult hurdles.
3/11/202433 minutes, 40 seconds
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Gen. Brito of Training & Doctrine Command Talks Army Professionalism

Ryan sat down at the Pentagon with Gen. Gary Brito, who leads U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, to talk about strengthening Army professionalism, which Gen. Randy George, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, has identified as one of his key priorities. Whether you're a solider, Department of the Army civilian, a contractor supporting the Army, or just someone interested in the future of America's Army, this episode is for you.
3/5/202433 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Russo-Ukrainian War at Two

On the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Ryan and Mike Kofman sit down to chat about where the war stands today and where things are heading. It is, to be candid, a pessimistic conversation. They cover the fall of Avdiivka, military leadership changes, Ukraine's mobilization challenges, Congressional dysfunction, European defense spending, and more. 
2/24/202436 minutes, 17 seconds
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Iraq Between Suits and Fatigues

Last week, Nick Danforth sat down with Denise Natali, Doug Ollivant and Bilal Wahab to discuss the latest in Iraqi politics? They debated what Iraq was like on Oc. 6th, how it has been impacted by the war in Gaza, and where the country will be five years from now.
2/19/202435 minutes, 20 seconds
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Security in the Indo-Pacific with Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner

Ryan and Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, chatted about, well, it's in his job title. They discussed North Korean intentions, American military posture, deepening cooperation between South Korea and Japan, Chinese military modernization, corruption in the Chinese military, and deterring an attack on Taiwan.
2/13/202445 minutes, 3 seconds
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The End of the Golden Era of Arms Control

As the world grapples again with the dangers of nuclear weapons use, Aaron sat down with Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Heather Williams, the director of the project on nuclear issues and a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss new nuclear dynamics, the meaning of deterrence, and debate about the future of U.S. nuclear weapons strategy. PS: We are hiring a membership editor. If you want to play a critical role in driving conversations and debates about national security, you should consider applying: https://apply.workable.com/war-on-the-rocks/j/2F3A361BCE/
2/8/202431 minutes, 5 seconds
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A Conversation with Gen. Randy George, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army

As the largest war in Europe since World War II rages and as China rises, the U.S. Army is preparing for an evermore dangerous world with an ambitious vision. To learn more about this vision, Ryan paid a visit to Gen. Randy George, who has been serving as the Army's chief of staff since last September. They tackled a range of topics, from warfighting and professionalism in the Army, to modernizing training and acquisitions, and to lessons learned versus lessons identified. Gen. George reveals his thoughts on how the Army is learning from the war in Ukraine. And they also discussed a new Army initiative called "transforming in contact."   PS: We are hiring a membership editor. If you want to play a critical role in driving conversations and debates about national security, you should consider applying: https://apply.workable.com/war-on-the-rocks/j/2F3A361BCE/
2/5/202432 minutes, 59 seconds
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Ukraine at War, From Avdiivka to Zaluzhny

As Putin throws his forces relentlessly into the meat-grinder of Avdiivka, Mike and Ryan sort through the state of Russia's offensive there, Moscow's efforts to bleed Ukrainian air defense, and Kyiv's success on the Black Sea. They also discuss how Ukraine can defend and rebuild in 2024 so that it can go on the offensive again next year. Ryan and Mike also return to Europe's ongoing failure to muster the political will and resources needed to do its part. And listeners will be treated to a rant from Ryan on the turmoil over President Zelenksy's reported decision to fire Gen. Zaluzhny.
1/30/202422 minutes, 15 seconds
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A Very Nerdy Podcast Episode about the Navy

What is the value of a U.S. aircraft carrier? How are the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy held to financial account? And why does the Department of Defense keep failing its audit? Ryan sat down with Russell Rumbaugh, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller), to discuss the budget, its relationship with the comprehensive ship building review, the ongoing challenges with building more ships and submarines, and the need to ramp up munition production.
1/25/202428 minutes, 28 seconds
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A Conversation with Gen. David Allvin, Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Should the tragedy of war with China occur, the Air Force will play a critical role in ensuring America is able to meet the challenges of conflict in the vast stretches of the Indo-Pacific. Gen. David W. Allvin, the 23rd chief of staff of the Air Force, joined the show to talk with Ryan about his priorities and how he is directing the Air Force to meet America's evolving national security needs by following through on the work of his predecessors. Listen to learn more about how Gen. Allvin views the future of training, logistics and refueling in contested airspace, the lessons from Ukraine, why he admires George C. Marshall, and more.
1/22/202435 minutes, 29 seconds
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Ukraine Prepares for 2024

Nick sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss where the Russo-Ukrainian conflict stands at the start of 2024. They talked through the situation on the front lines, naval developments in the Black Sea and Russia’s cynical diplomacy, as well as Moscow’s growing munitions advantage and what went wrong with the Ukrainian offensive. Don't forget to listen to "All Quiet on the Second Front," an amazing new show that supported this episode to receive a promo code for a limited number of free War on the Rocks memberships.
1/5/202428 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Case for Seizing $300 Billion in Russian State Assets

In the last few days of 2023, the United States proposed that working groups from the G7 explore ways to seize $300 billion of Russian state assets. Given the news, we are re-releasing a members-only podcast with Philip Zelikow, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, which was recorded and released on Dec. 19, 2023.  Aaron and Philip discussed the legal grounds to seize Russian assets held in Western banks, Moscow's potential retaliatory options, and whether a seizure would be escalatory. Consider joining our membership program today to listen to our slew of members-only podcasts and gain access to our daily newsletters.
1/4/202421 minutes, 13 seconds
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Gaza and the Gulf

Nick Danforth sat down with Steven Cook, Joyce Karam, and Faysal Itani to discuss how the war in Gaza will impact Israel’s relations with the Gulf and American interests in the Middle East. Among other topics, they debated the future of the Abraham Accords and what options, if any, exist for governing post-war Gaza.
12/22/202339 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Defense Department and the Rise of Commercial Spacepower

TechCrunch Disrupt hosted Ryan and a top-notch panel for a conversation on the increasing importance of commercial stakeholders in the exercise of military power in and from space. It features John Plumb, the first assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Mandy Vaughn, the CEO and founder of GXO, Inc.; and Gen. James H. Dickinson, the commander of U.S. Space Command. Listen to their discussion, which was recorded in September. Thanks to TechCrunch for allowing us to use this recording.  
11/30/202326 minutes, 46 seconds
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Adaptation at the Front and the Big Picture in Ukraine

Ryan and Mike Kofman discuss the state of the war before turning to various other issues including important tactical adaptations since the start of summer, why Washington's theory of its involvement in this war is fundamentally "unworkable" due to a lack of military observers in country, the various meanings of "stalemate," and the big picture for next year.
11/21/202340 minutes, 47 seconds
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Japan Re-evaluates Regional Threats

Nick sat down in Tokyo last week with Satoru Mori and Yasuhiro Izumikawa to discuss the evolution of Japan’s threat perceptions and defense planning. They also shared their thoughts on how Japan views the challenge posed by China, a potential Taiwan scenario, and the current conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.
11/20/202339 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Net Assessment Crew Sits Down with Ryan

The title says it all! If you missed episodes of our show "Net Assessment" over the summer and fall, you aren't alone. Zack Cooper, Melanie Marlow, and Christopher Preble join Ryan for a discussion about the show, about what's happening in the world, and what we can expect from Net when it comes back next month.
11/14/202340 minutes, 48 seconds
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Some Preliminary Thoughts on Ukraine's Position in the War

Now that the offensive launched by Ukrainian forces is possibly in the process of petering out,  Mike Kofman shares some of his exploratory thoughts on where Ukraine stands and what 2024 might look like.
11/6/202320 minutes, 29 seconds
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Defense and Capital: A Conversation with Raj Shah of Shield Capital

Continuing our series of conversations about issues at the intersection of defense and capital, Ryan chatted with Raj Shah of Shield Capital last month in San Francisco. From his service in the Air Force flying F-16s to his time as an entrepreneur to the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental to his current work in venture capital, Shah has been a critical player in trying to maintain and grow the U.S. military's technological advantages.
10/31/202323 minutes, 51 seconds
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A Conversation with the Commandant, Gen. Eric Smith

Ryan spoke with the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, about a range of issues from his forthcoming planning guidance to the future of force design to personnel and safety and beyond.
10/25/202340 minutes, 5 seconds
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Looking Beyond the Offensive in Ukraine

Ryan sat down with Mike to discuss the Russo-Ukrainian war, Russia’s effort to seize the initiative before winter begins, Moscow’s turn to North Korea for artillery shells, the challenges the Ukrainian military may face next year, the Biden administration’s failure to provide certain weapons to Ukraine quickly, and the state of the Russian military. Mike and Ryan close with a conversation about the need to be forward-looking about the conflict, given that the Russian defense industry has increased its rate of production, which will require the United States, its European allies, and Ukraine to plan for continued combat in the future.
10/18/202330 minutes, 10 seconds
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Tech, Ethics, and the City in Israel's Looming Urban Battlefield

Ryan sat down with John Amble of the Modern War Institute to unpack the challenges Israel is likely to face in Gaza; Israel's world-renowned urban warfare training facilities; comparisons with other battles in cities such as those that took place in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Mosul; and how the initial Hamas attack overwhelmed Israel's preparations to defend itself. John and Ryan close by reflecting on how three Islamist militant groups have shocked the world and armies that were, on paper, better prepared than they were: the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State in Iraq, and now Hamas in Israel and Gaza.
10/13/202330 minutes, 35 seconds
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Introducing Thinking the Unthinkable

Welcome to a sneak peek of Thinking the Unthinkable, our newest members-only podcast. We are previewing this members-only podcast on this feed for free.  This members-only show features in-depth analysis and insight on the perils of a new nuclear age and is hosted by Ankit Panda. Expect Ankit to challenge views on nuclear weapons, deterrence, and explore the future of arms control. This show will come out bi-weekly for War on the Rocks members. If you like what you hear, consider joining War on the Rocks Platinum, where you can hear all of Ankit's future podcasts, along with the Russia Contingency with Michael Kofman and a slew of other podcasts and newsletters focused on national security. Join our tribe today to gain access to War on the Rocks Platinum.  
10/11/202324 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Meaning of the Attack on Israel

Ryan sat down with Bruce Hoffman, the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations, to discuss Hamas' terror attack over the weekend. The conversation touched on the intelligence failure before the attack, Hamas' history of terror attacks in the region, the role of Iran, and the likelihood of a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. This conversation was recorded on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
10/9/202332 minutes, 39 seconds
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Finding the Floor: Can the U.S. and China Stabilize Their Relationship?

Nick sat down with Evan Medeiros, Thomas Shugart and Emily Weinstein to take stock of where U.S.-Chinese relations stand today and where they might be going. Can President Biden’s diplomatic push pay off? How will Taiwan’s elections and Beijing’s internal shakeup change the equation? What lessons is President Xi Jinping actually learning from the invasion of Ukraine? And can the U.S. and China ultimately find a stable floor for their bilateral relationship or are they headed toward conflict?
10/5/202335 minutes, 34 seconds
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One Tree Line at a Time: Breaching Russian Defenses in Ukraine

Nick and Mike sat down for an in-depth discussion of what it would take for Ukraine to achieve a true breakthrough against Russian forces. Mike also evaluated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to Washington, D.C., Ukraine’s strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters and the potential impact of ATACMS.  
9/28/202331 minutes, 13 seconds
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Dueling Generals on Training and Readiness

Ryan was happy to welcome back Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson and Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos onto the show. These Air Force leaders lead Air Education and Training Command and Air University, respectively, the latter of which is a major component of the former. As such, they work together all the time (and aren't dueling, but fun title right?). In this episode, they speak to Ryan about what they and their teams are doing to ensure the U.S. Air Force is trained at the highest level possible in order to ensure readiness. Robinson was on the show last year about related topics. And this is Tullos' third appearance on the show, and she has also appeared on Unspent Rounds.
9/27/202340 minutes, 27 seconds
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A Chat with Britain's Top Officer, Adm. Radakin

Ryan sat down at the War on the Rocks office with Adm. Sir Antony Radakin, the professional head of the United Kingdom's military. The two discussed the United Kingdom's support for the Ukrainian military, the lessons learned from the conflict and the challenges Russia is now facing. The conversation then pivoted to the future of the British military, the plans for global force presence and Adm. Radakin's perspective on the status of AUKUS.
9/18/202336 minutes, 2 seconds
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Ukrainian Progress: A Breach or a Breakthrough of Russian Lines?

Nick Danforth sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the state of the Ukrainain offensive three months in, as well as the challenges of assessing it. Mike also explained why he, as an analyst, was particularly pleased to have Yevgeny Prigozhin out of the picture. The two discussed Mike's recent co-authored piece with Rob Lee, "Perseverance and Adaptation: Ukraine's Counteroffensive at Three Months," and how the findings were similar to Jack Watling and  Nick Reynold's latest report for RUSI, Stormbreak: Fighting Through Russian Defences in Ukraine’s 2023 Offensive.
9/8/202328 minutes, 13 seconds
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Debating FISA Section 702

On this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, deputy assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden, Joshua Geltzer, sat down with Nicholas Danforth to discuss the administration’s case for the reauthorization of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They discussed the act's role in a changing threat environment, challenges in Congress and potential avenues to mitigate civil liberties concerns.
8/31/202322 minutes, 17 seconds
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How Ukraine Can Win the Peace: A Conversation with Stephen Kotkin

On this special preview of the Russia Contingency, Mike sat down with Stephen Kotkin, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The conversation touched on the latest news from the Ukrainian offensive, examined lessons learned from observing the conflict and explored the Ukrainian definition of victory in the war. Parts two and three of this conversation are available exclusively on the Russia Contingency. Sign up today.
8/25/202347 minutes, 21 seconds
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A Contest of Wills: Ukraine's Summer Offensive

On this episode, Nick sits down with Mike to discuss Ukraine's ongoing offensive. The conversation discussed the latest from Ukraine's three axes of advance. The two also covered the latest reports from both the Washington Post and the New York Times focused on the U.S. government's growing pessimism about the offensive, as well as how to judge Ukrainian military action. Mike also examined the latest news from the Black Sea, Russia's recent boarding of a ship operating in the area, and the feasibility of Russia using its Navy to interdict civilian ships there.
8/22/202335 minutes, 36 seconds
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Zooming Out on Ukraine's Offensive

Ryan and Mike finally found themselves in the same locale after heavy travel and sat down for a in-depth conversation on Ukraine's offensive, how we got here, and what might be coming next.
8/3/202329 minutes, 53 seconds
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An Inflection Point in Ukraine’s Counteroffensive

Aaron sat down with Mike to discuss the Ukrainian counteroffensive and where things stand along the three axes of advance. The two discussed the state of the Ukrainian armed forces, the units committed to the fight, Russia's well-prepared defense and whether the offensive is at an inflection point. 
7/27/202335 minutes, 53 seconds
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Ryan Evans on 10 Years of War on the Rocks

To mark the tenth anniversary of War on the Rocks, Philip D. Zelikow did us the honor of interviewing Ryan on the origin story of War on the Rocks, where it's gone from there, and where it is going next. 
7/21/202330 minutes, 44 seconds
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Ukraine Struggles to Scale Offensive Combat Operations

On this special sneak peak of the Russia Contingency, Mike sat down with Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, to discuss the findings from their recent research trip to Ukraine. The conversation covered Russian defensive lines, the role that mines have played in stymying Ukraine's counteroffensive, and the broader challenges the Ukrainian military has with scaling offensive operations. To listen to part 2 of this episode, as well as a series of conversations about the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the Russian military, sign up today to become a member of War on The Rocks.
7/20/202330 minutes, 41 seconds
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Assessing Ukraine's Three Axes of Advance

On this sneak-peak episode of the Russia Contingency, Aaron sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the state of the Ukrainian military's offensive, the different axes of advance and what the offensive may be able to tell observers about the direction of the conflict. Listeners will get to hear the first 20 minutes of the conversation. To hear the rest, which examined the recent debates in Russia about nuclear weapons use and looked back at Yevgeny Prighozin's mutiny, please consider becoming a War on the Rocks member.  
7/11/202323 minutes, 9 seconds
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Understanding Risk and Redefining Readiness

Aaron sat down recently with Kimberly Jackson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force readiness and Gen. David Berger, who is handing over the reins as commandant of the Marine Corps on the day that this podcast is published. The conversation focused on the article "Readiness Redefined: Now What?," which was published on the site on June 12th. The three discussed how to think about readiness and how to fuse data to answer tough questions about where and when to take risks  
7/10/202329 minutes, 28 seconds
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Ukraine and Lessons Learned for Airpower and Spacepower

This episode comes to you from Ramstein Air Base, where Ryan spoke with Gen. James Hecker of the U.S. Air Force and Air Marshall Johnny Stringer of the Royal Air Force about what we can learn from airpower and spacepower almost a year and a half into the war in Ukraine.
6/29/202344 minutes, 27 seconds
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Defense and Capital: Venture and Debt

In the first of a series of conversations on the topic of the defense industrial base and capital, Ryan is joined by Dan Gwak of Point72 and James Parker of Leonid. If you're a policymaker, founder, technologist, in finance, or a defense acquisitions professional this is a must-listen episode.
6/27/202336 minutes, 59 seconds
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Ukraine's Offensive and Russia's Localized Counterattacks

In today's episode, Mike looks at the slow progress of the Ukrainian offensive and what, if anything, it means for the course of the war. He also discusses Russia's defensive strategy and how grateful he is not to be in Yevgeny Prigozhin's head. Mike and Nick recorded this show on Friday, June 23rd before the Wagner insurrection began to escalate. We will have more podcasts and articles on the recent events in Russia in the coming days and weeks.
6/24/202324 minutes, 32 seconds
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Managing Chaos: The 2021 Kabul Airlift

On this special edition podcast, listeners will get to hear the first 20 minutes of Unspent Rounds, a members-only War on the Rocks podcast that features interesting conversations with interesting people. On this episode, Aaron Stein spoke with Capt. Adam "AI" Solomon, an airfield operations flight commander. Adam was in charge of airfield operations and oversaw almost all aspects of flight operations during the evacuation from Kabul. The conversation explored the withdrawal, how it all went down, how challenging it was to coordinate flight operations, how Adam dealt with logistical challenges when evacuating people from the country, and the tragic killing of 13 Marines guarding the airport. To listen to the show in its entirety, and to other episodes of Unspent Rounds, sign up to become a War on the Rocks member.  
6/21/202320 minutes, 24 seconds
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Ukraine's Multiple Axes of Attack

On Monday, Nick Danforth sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the latest from the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive. In this episode, Mike details the advances of Ukrainian forces to date, as well as their challenges and potential objectives. He also weighs in on the value and limitations of ongoing Western military support and warns against the dangers of excessive and unfounded optimism.
6/14/202333 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Ebb and Flow of Russian Military Power

On this special edition podcast, listeners will get to hear the first 20 minutes of Mike Kofman's members-only podcast, The Russia Contingency. Mike spoke last week with William C. Wohlforth, a faculty member in Dartmouth College’s department of government about Russia, its role in the world and American power in Europe. The 45-minute conversation explored in-depth the challenges of forecasting, analyzed Russian revisionism and explored the future of great power competition. To listen to the show in its entirety, and to other episodes of The Russia Contingency, sign up to become a War on the Rocks Member.  
6/2/202320 minutes, 20 seconds
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Ukraine's Offensive and its Meaning for the War

Following Russia's failed winter offensive, Ukraine appears to be preparing for its planned counter-offensive. Ryan sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the state of Russia's armed forces, the current state of the Western-led effort to train and equip Ukrainian forces and the latest from the battle for Bakhmut. The conversation also touched on the role of the British-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missile, Ukraine's ability to absorb the F-16, what exactly happened during the recent cross-border attack on Belgorod and revisited concerns about nuclear escalation.
5/30/202341 minutes, 21 seconds
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Why Erdogan Wins

This week, Ryan sat down at a cafe in Washington, D.C., with Hümeyra Pamuk and Nicholas Danforth to discuss the results of Turkey's May 14 election. They talked about the nature of President Erdogan's rule, the roots of his political longevity and what these elections mean for Turkey's future.
5/19/202340 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Calm Before the Storm: Waiting for Ukraine's Offensive

Ryan sat down with Mike Kofman at WOTR HQ in Washington, DC to talk about Ukraine's coming offensive; the manpower, materiel, and politics behind it; and lingering questions about Team Biden's theory of success. Are you a War on the Rocks member yet? If not, why not? Check it out at warontherocks.com/membership
4/27/202318 minutes, 15 seconds
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A Conversation with Gen. CQ Brown, Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Ryan recently tagged along on a little trip to Alabama with Gen. CQ Brown, the chief of staff of the Air Force. They recorded this episode on the flight back to Washington. Gen. Brown discussed basing and posture in the Indo-Pacific, what the Air Force might be learning from the war in Ukraine, his vision for the Air Force as expressed in Accelerate Change or Lose, artificial intelligence, books that have influenced him, and his passion for leadership. 
4/25/202341 minutes, 3 seconds
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China, France, and the Shadow of History

Ryan sat down at 1789 in Georgetown with Justin Vaïsse, a French historian and director general of the Paris Peace Forum, an independent NGO he started at the urging of French President Emmanuel Macron. Justin recently returned from China where he was traveling with Macron. They discussed Macron's recent remarks about China that were so poorly received in Washington, the work of his organization, and what he learned from the Cold War.
4/20/202322 minutes
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Powering American Renewal with Innovation

Ryan sat down with two old friends for a rich conversation on wielding innovation and smart policies to create an American renewal. Listen to his conversation with Dave McCormick, author of Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America (along with James Cunningham) and Chris Brose of Anduril Industries. The first 15 people that email editor (at) warontherocks (dot) com with a personal story about how you participated in innovation in some way will get a free hardcopy of Superpower in Peril.
4/13/202342 minutes, 26 seconds
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Russia Will Soon Be on the Defense, But Then What?

Mike Kofman joins the show yet again. This time, he explains why the debate over the wisdom of the Battle for Bahkmut is so important while still overshadowing other important debates. As Ukrainian forces are being pressed out of the city of Bahkmut, they preparing to go back on the offensive, which will put Russia on the defense. The critical issue in Mike's view is what happens after the Ukrainian offensive. Listen to understand why. Do you want to listen to more Mike? Become a member and you get access to his show, the "Russia Contingency."  
4/3/202328 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Military and Great Powers: The Latest From Latin America, Part 2

Nicholas Danforth recently sat down with Agustina Giraudy, Adam Isacson and Anya Prusa to discuss the latest political developments in Latin America. This the second installment of our two-part podcast. The conversation began with an overview of the role of the military in different Latin American countries, before pivoting to an examination of regional views of great powers. The conversation concluded with a discussion about U.S. policy in the region, and how different governments view the Biden administration.
3/23/202329 minutes, 50 seconds
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Central Command's Big Technology Bets

On this episode, Ryan sat down with Schuyler Moore, the chief technology officer for U.S. Central Command, to discuss how it is planning to fight and win the next war with new and exciting technology.
3/21/202320 minutes, 1 second
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The Latest From Latin America, Part 1

Nicholas Danforth recently sat down with Agustina Giraudy, Adam Isacson and Anya Prusa to discuss the latest political developments in Latin America. This two-part podcast covers the rise of the Left in the region as well as its implications for relations with Washington, Moscow and Beijing.  
3/16/202325 minutes, 51 seconds
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How to Think About Bakhmut and a Ukrainian Spring Offensive

Fresh back from his research trip to Ukraine, Mike Kofman joins Ryan for a discussion about what he learned. They discuss the battle for Bakhmut, munitions shortages and force structure, artillery and attrition, Russia's unimpressive offensive, and what else the West could be doing to set Ukraine up for success in a widely anticipated spring offensive.
3/14/202336 minutes, 23 seconds
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Backing Ukraine Against Russia, With Colin Kahl and Derek Chollet

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Counselor to the Secretary of State Derek Chollet join the show to reflect on the war on year after Russia's brutal invasion and the commencement of Ukraine's monumental resistance. In a wide-ranging, hour-long conversation, the two respond to Ryan's questions about the arming of Ukraine, sanctions, choices about certain platforms and munitions, China, India, America's staying power, and much more.
2/24/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 34 seconds
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Russia's Winter Offensive

Mike Kofman sat down with Nicholas Danforth to discuss Russia's latest offensive, it’s focus, and why it has been underwhelming so far. The conversation analyzes the current state of the conflict, where it may be headed, the constraints each side may face in the coming months, and whether this year could see decisive turning points in the war.
2/18/202318 minutes, 28 seconds
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Unfolding Offensives and Counter-Offensives in Ukraine

Mike Kofman and Ryan Evans cover a lot of ground in this episode about the war in Ukraine: Russian goals in the Donbass, the coming Russian counter-offensive, the state of Russian and Ukrainian forces, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, cluster and sensor-fuzed munitions, fourth-generation fighter aircraft, a warm winter, nuclear risk, and more. If you are interested in what's happening in and around Ukraine, this is another must-listen episode.
2/7/202335 minutes, 6 seconds
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Talking Strategy with Assistant Secretary of Defense Mara Karlin

Ryan sat down with Dr. Mara Karlin, who serves as assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities. They discussed the making of the new National Defense Strategy, the critical topic of implementation, integrated deterrence, how Russia's fumbles in Ukraine have changed the way the Pentagon thinks about Moscow as an adversary, and a whole lot more.
1/31/202327 minutes, 42 seconds
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Manpower, Materiel, and the Coming Decisive Phase in Ukraine

In his latest discussion with Ryan on the war in Ukraine, Mike Kofman explains why the coming spring and summer will be strategically decisive. He also offers his analysis on the Russian command reshuffle, new Western kit, and the grinding battle for Bakhmut.
1/23/202328 minutes, 29 seconds
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A Disquieting Winter at War in Ukraine

Michael Kofman joins Ryan for their first discussion of the new year on the war in Ukraine. They cover the state of play at the various fronts, manpower and materiel, the Russian strike campaign, and more. 
1/5/202330 minutes, 41 seconds
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Nukes, Negotiations, and Lessons From the War in Ukraine

Ryan recently traveled to Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base where he was joined by three of the many big thinkers teaching servicemembers down there: Andy Akins, Anna Batta, and Mark Conversino. They covered the risk of nuclear war over Ukraine, the prospects for negotiations, why so many struggle with strategic empathy, and efforts to learn lessons from this war, which often stumble when we fail to learn lessons about ourselves.
12/28/202243 minutes, 57 seconds
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Localized Offensives: The Direction of the Conflict

Mike Kofman and Nick Danforth start this episode by analyzing the latest events in the war and the fighting in and around Bakhmut. Mike offers his thoughts on Russia and Ukraine's stockpiles of artillery, and what that may mean for the fighting this winter and beyond. The conversation concludes with a discussion about foreign support for the war effort, and the implications of this for the future of the conflict.
12/22/202234 minutes, 43 seconds
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Winter and Beyond: An Inflection Point in the War Over Ukraine

Mike Kofman and Ryan Evans start this episode by taking a step back to the beginning to put this stage of the war in context. Mike offers possible scenarios on the next few months of the war, discusses Ukraine's recent strikes on Russian bases deep in Russian territory, and assesses the state of forces, munitions, and kit on both sides. 
12/9/202235 minutes, 48 seconds
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Cognition and Curiosity: A Conversation with Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson

War on the Rocks threw a party for almost 200 people on the sidelines of I/ITSEC, the premier modeling and simulations conference held every year in Orlando. At this party, we had a special guest for a live podcast recording: Lt. Gen. Brian "Smokey" Robinson, the commander of Air Education and Training Command. In a chat with Ryan, he laid out his objectives, the future of education and immersive training for airman, and the centrality of data. Robinson emphasized this is not just about pilots — as pilot training is only 10 percent of what his command does — but all airmen. In forging ahead, he echoed former Assistant Secretary James Geurts, saying "We have to demand curiosity." The two also chatted about his career, why he joined the Air Force, and why squadron command was his favorite job. They also took some questions from the audience on professional military education, the T-7A program, his tentative 2023 pilot training goal, and his favorite superhero. For a transcript of this episode, visit: https://warontherocks.com/2022/12/cognition-and-curiosity-a-conversation-with-lt-gen-brian-robinson
12/8/202239 minutes, 49 seconds
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Josh Wolfe on Investing in American Defense

Ryan sat down with Josh Wolfe, co-founder of Lux Capital, in his New York office earlier this month to talk about why he is drawn to invest in companies working on national security challenges. But the conversation covered much more than that. They covered everything from the major defense industry primes to why anger is an important driver of innovation to what he looks for in founders, and beyond.
11/30/202227 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Liberation of Kherson and the Next Phase of the War

On this episode, Ryan and Mike discuss the liberation of Kherson, the Russian military's strategy before the start of the winter, and Ukraine's efforts to retain the initiative once the weather improves in the spring. We also offer a sample from Mike's latest members-onlypodcast, the Russia Contingency, which features an in-depth conversation with RUSI senior research fellows, Justin Bronk and Jack Watling, about the Russian air performance during the war.
11/17/202220 minutes, 11 seconds
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A Conversation with Ukraine's Special Operations Commander

While in Ukraine, Ryan sat down with Brig. Gen. Viktor Khorenko, the commander of Ukraine's Special Operations Forces. They discussed the roles and missions of Ukraine's special operators in this war, from its opening days to the present, as well as how their Russian enemies have operated. We hope you enjoy this discussion, which marks the first time Khorenko has been interviewed. 
11/14/202211 minutes, 18 seconds
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Southward and Eastward Pressure on Russian Forces

Mike Kofman and Ryan Evans recorded this episode on the war as they return home from their week-long research trip to Ukraine. They cover the fight for Kherson, Russian failures in the east, Russia's attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, and dirty bomb threats. If you're interested in hearing more from Mike, we are launching a members-only podcast that he hosts called "The Russia Contingency." We offer a sample of one of the early episodes of that show, which features Mike chatting with Konrad Muzyka about the current and future threat to Ukraine from Belarus. Become a member to get access.
10/31/202222 minutes, 21 seconds
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A Chat With Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos of Air University

During a visit to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ryan had a chance to visit with Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos, the president and commander of Air University. We spoke about her career, how she ended up commanding the lead agent for Air Force education, producing practitioners in the art and science of air-minded warfare, the addition of more wargaming at Air University, and preparing the Air Force for an era of strategic competition. She ends with a call for military personnel to engage in professional and public debate.
10/13/202229 minutes, 48 seconds
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What Will Be Ukraine's Pre-Winter Gains?

A blown up bridge, progressing Ukrainian operations in the east and south, and an unimpressive Russian mobilization effort. How should these be understood? Michael Kofman updates us on the war in Ukraine.
10/10/202219 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Kremlin in Command, Part II: Syria and the First Assault on Ukraine

Lawrence Freedman and Michael Kofman walk us through the post-Cold War history of the Kremlin as commander. In the second episode of this multi-part series, they focus on Russia's intervention in the Syrian Civil War and its first assault on Ukraine in the aftermath of Euromaidan. In Syria in particular, Moscow thinks it makes major progress on command and high-tech targeting, but that later proves to be something of a mirage. The Western intervention in Libya is also an important part of this period, informing how Vladimir Putin views threats to his own power and influence. Ukraine soon reveals itself to be an unresolved issue for Moscow. Don't miss the first part of this discussion, which focuses on the First and Second Chechen Wars as well as the Russo-Georgian War of 2008. In these episodes, Freedman draws on his new book, Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine.
9/28/202227 minutes, 21 seconds
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Russia's Plan to Stay in the War

After Ukraine's stunning Kharkiv counter-offensive, Vladimir Putin has doubled down on his war against Ukraine, announcing a large military mobilization, threatening nuclear use, and pressing ahead with referenda in territories Russia has seized from Urkaine. Can Putin salvage his campaign? Michael Kofman helps us understand these issues and more, encouraging people to think more temporally about Russia's mobilization pipeline and delivering a warning: We are in uncharted territory.
9/26/202235 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Kremlin in Command, Part I: The Chechen Wars and Georgia

Vladimir Putin's role as supreme commander has been center stage, offering a floundering and frightful performance. To understand the present, we reach back to the past. In the first of a multi-part series of episodes, Lawrence Freedman and Michael Kofman walk us through the post-Cold War history of the Kremlin and especially Putin as commander, starting with the First Chechen War through the short Russo-Georgian War (2008). In doing so, Freedman draws on his new book, Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine (https://amzn.to/3qYxPEF).   
9/21/202218 minutes, 42 seconds
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Ukraine's Kharkhiv Operation and the Russian Military's Black Week

On a foggy morning in August 1918, Allied forces commenced the Battle of Amiens and the Hundred Days Offensive that ended the Great War. A German general later called it "the black day of the German Army." The Russian military has had a black week ever since Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast. Whether this heralds the last phase of this war is still unknown. Regardless, recent events have been a massive setback for Russia. We had Mike Kofman on the show to discuss.
9/12/202242 minutes, 33 seconds
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Into the Breach: Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive Begins

Join us for another discussion with Michael Kofman on the war in Ukraine. The main focus of this episode is the southern counter-offensive launched by Ukrainian forces early this week. Mike explains what has happened so far in this operation, centered around Kherson, and how observers should think about it as it unfolds. The two also discuss what Ukrainian combined arms warfare looks like, manpower challenges on both sides, the airpower picture, and how the counter-offensive is affecting the war in different parts of the country. Also, what is happening in Belarus as far as this war is concerned? And is either side prepared for how long this war is likely to last?
9/1/202231 minutes
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Awaiting a Ukrainian Counter-Offensive

Mike Kofman joins Ryan once again to update us all on the war in Ukraine. The big thing that everyone is watching for is evidence of an impending Ukrainian counter-offensive. Mike explains that we don't see that yet. He also discusses fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, some events that surprised him, Ukrainian strikes on Russian-occupied Crimea, the expenditure of munitions, and the possibility that Russia might hold referenda in the territories it currently occupies in the east and south of Ukraine. Ryan and Mike also discuss slowing aid from Europe and whether European backers of Ukraine will hold through the winter. The big takeaway, however, is the Russia seems to have lost the momentum at this stage of the war and appears to be waiting to see what Ukraine does next. 
8/20/202220 minutes, 7 seconds
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Troubled Waters Around Taiwan

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit was met with fury and condemnation in Beijing, as well as new Chinese military exercises in the seas surrounding Taiwan. In the aftermath of the visit, Ryan invited three experts to talk about relations between the United States, Taiwan, and China. They discuss why the visit generated such a fierce reaction from the People's Republic of China, the role of legislative visits to Taiwan, the Taiwan Policy Act being considered on Capitol Hill, domestic politics in all three countries, and how Beijing tries to move the goal posts. Ryan banged on about discussions over Taiwan's security ought not be separated from debates over the size of the U.S. Navy. The guests called for a new policy review on Taiwan, the first in decades. And all three recommended some essential reading on this topic (episode reading: https://warontherocks.com/2022/08/troubled-waters-around-taiwan/).
8/17/202248 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Task Force at the Bleeding Edge of the Marine Corps

Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan of the U.S. Marine Corps sat down with Ryan to discuss the recent mission and exercises of Task Force 61/2, from Greece and Turkey to the Baltic Sea. Aside from playing an important role during a delicate moment in European security affairs, this task force was kicking the tires on Force Design 2030, the future vision for the Marine Corps, which we've previously discussed with the commandant, Gen. David Berger.
8/11/202225 minutes, 57 seconds
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Great Expectations? The Next Phase of the Russo-Ukrainian War

Michael Kofman joined Ryan for yet another conversation about the unfolding tragedy of the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this episode, they focus largely on the potential for a Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kherson. They also discuss Russia's repositioning of forces, continued (albeit smaller) Russian offensives in the east, the role of HIMARS, Russia's personnel strategy, and whether we can know if a Ukrainian victory is truly possible.
8/8/202222 minutes, 53 seconds
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Shinzo Abe's Legacy in Japan and on the World Stage

Shinzo Abe, Japan's former prime minister, was gunned down by an assassin earlier this summer. He is credited with having paved the road to his country's far more more prominent role in global affairs. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution and Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations discuss Abe's story and legacy in this episode.
8/5/202246 minutes, 2 seconds
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Ukraine's Window of Opportunity?

With military circles abuzz that Ukraine might be preparing to launch a counter-offensive against Russian-held Kherson, Michael Kofman of CNA's Russia team helps us parse the facts. What has been happening on the battlefield since our last episode? How are the two forces faring as they struggle with various problems in mobilizing manpower and equipment to the front? What are the four means by which Russia is trying to squeeze more military power out of its population short of a total mobilization? What of the Turkish-brokered grain export deal? If you want to know the answers to these questions and more, listen to this episode.
7/28/202223 minutes, 11 seconds
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Is the Most Important Battle of the War Coming?

Michael Kofman joins Ryan once again to discuss the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this episode, he discusses the looming battle for Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, two small cities near each other that are likely Russia's next effort after the fall of Severodonestk. He also revisits the idea of a Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake Kherson and the prospects for when, whether, and how that could unfold. Mike and Ryan also talk about Ukraine's challenges in mobilizing enough trained manpower at the front and keeping a diverse "petting zoo" of equipment from Western backers in the fight. 
7/11/202225 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ukraine and Russia Grapple with Relentless Battle and Attrition

Mike Kofman joins the show again to update us on the war in Ukraine. In this episode (which was recorded shortly before Russian forces withdrew from Snake Island), he explains that by focusing on the limited territorial exchanges in the Donbass, we might be missing the bigger strategic picture. Kofman argues that the Donbass is not the territory of greatest significance in this war. Instead, he points to Kherson, which he views as much more important in terms of future battles as well as its larger strategic and economic value. Mike and Ryan also tackle a host of other topics from Russian withdrawals of ammunition from stocks in Belarus, to Russian and Ukrainian struggles in mobilizing personnel, to the mirage of capabilities-based analysis. He closes with some thoughts on what defeat could look like for Ukraine.
6/30/202223 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Most Dangerous Phase for Ukraine?

This is not an optimistic episode. Michael Kofman speculates that the war might be in its most dangerous phase. Why is that? Ukraine's casualties and shortages in munitions are beginning to show as Russia is gaining some operational advantages in the Donbass. Further, Russia's efforts to fill its manpower gaps have been partially successful without relying primarily on conscripts and conducting a large mobilization. Ryan and Mike speculate that, in the end, this war will be decided by the country that can endure the longest, in terms of their economies, logistics, materiel, and political will. And Ukraine's endurance is tied up closely with the will of the West to continue backing Ukraine with arms and other supplies in a war that could continue to drag on for months, if not years.
6/13/202219 minutes, 43 seconds
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What the Experts Got Wrong (and Right) About Russian Military Power

It is now widely understood that many observers, in advance of this war, over-estimated Russian military performance and underestimated Ukrainian military performance. Prominent among those observers are those who specialize in analyzing the Russian military. To better understand what they got right and wrong, Ryan put two of those specialists — Dara Massicot of RAND and Michael Kofman of CNA — into conversation with two people who approach this conflict as generalists — Chris Dougherty of the Center for a New American Security and Gian Gentile of RAND. Do not miss this vivid discussion.
5/30/20221 hour, 15 seconds
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The Battlefields of the Donbass and Beyond

Michael Kofman sat down with Ryan again to sort through how the war in Ukraine is proceeding, with a focus on the Donbass, where Ukraine and Russia are concentrating their forces. Beyond the battlefields, Kofman ponders the future of the Russian armed forces and reports what he learned at a recent conference in Poland.
5/24/202219 minutes, 31 seconds
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Counter-Attacks and Can-Kicking in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Russia's stumbling war was launched almost three months ago. As Russian and Ukrainian forces battle on, how should we understand the state of play? Michael Kofman joins Ryan again to discuss the war on the ground, in the air, and at sea; Ukraine's ability to get Western weaponry into the fight; the crushing economic realities on both sides; how Vladimir Putin's Victory Day speech was the dog that didn't bark; Russia's stark mobilization constraints; and why a sliver of an island named after a snake has played such a prominent role in the conflict. Ryan puts an important question to Michael as Russia faces the real possibility of defeat: Under what circumstance would Putin use nuclear weapons?
5/14/202236 minutes, 7 seconds
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The U.S. Military Might Be More Like Russia's Military Than You Think

Did that title get your attention? It got Ryan's attention too when it came out of Steve Blank's mouth. If you're a War on the Rocks reader/listener, you've probably heard of him before. A successful entrepreneur, businessman, and veteran, Steve was one of the key architects of Hacking for Defense and, most recently, the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation. And he is decidedly not optimistic about the state of U.S. defense innovation. In fact, he worries that the Defense Department's inability to innovate quickly and at scale might lead to defeat in a war against China.  What about all these new entrants into the defense marketplace? Can the U.S. Defense Department be reformed before a catastrophe? And what are the stakes? Our guest answers these questions and more. And don't miss his tour de force presentation, "The Secret History of Silicon Valley."
5/12/202218 minutes, 31 seconds
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Ukraine's Military Advantage and Russia's Stark Choices

Our friend Michael Kofman popped in for another conversation with Ryan about where things stand in the Russo-Ukrainian War. He gives a wide-ranging assessment of Russia's unfavorable position as it musters an offensive in the Donbass that might be the last one that the Russian military is capable of launching before it is a spent force. From Ukraine's advanced Western kit to holdouts in Mariupol to the naval state of play to Russia's dire manpower shortages, Mike and Ryan discuss it all. Mike also gets into the nitty gritty on Russian infantry manning levels. 
4/27/202238 minutes, 36 seconds
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From Ukraine and Beyond: Unpacking the Sino-Russian Relationship

This is the national security podcast crossover of the century! Or at least of the year...ok maybe of Spring 2022! For this special episode, Doyle Hodges of TNSR and “Horns of a Dilemma” hosts Zack Cooper, Melanie Marlowe, and Chris Preble of “Net Assessment.” They try to sort through relations between Moscow and Beijing in this time of war, as well as a whole bunch of related issues. And yes, they engage in the airing of grievances, a “Net Assessment” tradition. Make sure you subscribe to their podcasts, which are a part of the War on the Rocks family.
4/22/202250 minutes, 47 seconds
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A Conversation with the Counselor: Derek Chollet on Navigating the World

A veteran State Department official and scholar, Derek Chollet is serving as counselor to the secretary of state. He sat down with Ryan to discuss the various challenges facing U.S. foreign policy. Don't miss their wide-ranging conversation on the diplomacy that preceded the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the diplomacy that continues to keep Western allies on the same page, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the difficulties of balancing an increasingly competitive strategy in the Indo-Pacific while dealing with a brutal war in Europe.
4/13/202243 minutes, 1 second
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Russia Downscales Its War, But Not in Brutality

Michael Kofman joined Ryan once more to update us all on the war in Ukraine. In this episode, Kofman explains how and why Russia is refocusing on the east of Ukraine, what the war in Syria revealed about shortcomings in Russian air force, and what Ukrainian forces need in terms of weaponry and supply to win this war. The two also discuss Russian war crimes and their relation to the Russian military’s internal culture of violence and hazing as well as Vladimir Putin’s framing of this war of “de-nazification.” The conversation ended with Kofman explaining Moscow’s big military manpower decision, which you may have missed, and how it connects to Putin’s difficult strategic position.
4/11/202227 minutes, 14 seconds
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Is India “Shaky” on Ukraine? It's Complicated

President Joe Biden recently made headlines when he described India as being “somewhat shaky” on the issue of punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution sat down with Ryan to explain why India is taking a quieter and less aggressive tact as it navigates this international crisis. The answers to the question in the title are far more interesting and complicated than you might think. Join Ryan and Tanvi for this wide-ranging conversation, which touches not only on India’s relations with Russia, but how this all fits in with its relations with China and Ukraine.
3/31/202234 minutes, 37 seconds
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A New Phase of the Russo-Ukrainian War Begins

With Moscow’s announcement that the core aim of its invasion of Ukraine is now just to secure the Donbass, the conflict has entered a new phase. Michael Kofman of CNA joins Ryan once again, for the fifth week in a row, to help us parse through events on the battlefield. They discuss the resilience of Ukrainian society, stalled fronts, the air war, tactical adaptations, the effects of Western armaments, drones, the maritime picture, where Russian munitions are falling short, why Michael doesn't think Russia will use chemical weapons, why the Battle of Kyiv is not likely to happen, the emergence of the suburban guerrilla, and the ability of Ukrainian forces to continue to turn back Russian offenses and possibly even go on the offensive themselves.   Are you a War on the Rocks member? https://warontherocks.com/membership
3/27/202233 minutes, 41 seconds
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In the Fourth Week, Is Russia Revising its War Aims Amidst Attrition?

Michael Kofman joins Ryan once again to help us understand the Russo-Ukrainian War as its fourth week unfolds. They cover a lot of ground: Mike updates us on the three fronts — where Russian forces are making progress and where they are not — and how the stalling campaign might drive Moscow to dramatically change its war aims. He also explains why it’s hard to gauge the condition of Ukrainian forces, how Putin’s stated aim of Ukraine’s ‘demilitarization’ is playing out in terms of strikes against Ukraine’s industrial base, and what role Belarusian forces might (but probably won’t) play in the conflict. Mike and Ryan also discuss the effects of sanctions on the Russian military industrial base, detentions of senior Russian security officials, how long Russian military manpower can last, the role of elite infantry units in this campaign, and the chilling repressive apparatus that seems to be taking shape in Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine. Kofman provides a bracing warning: this war can still get worse in terms of the human cost as it transforms into war of attrition.
3/21/202236 minutes, 13 seconds
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Into the Third Week: Will Russian Forces Need to Pause?

Michael Kofman joins Ryan for the third week in a row to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine. He breaks down the state-of-play on three fronts — southern, eastern, and northern — as well as the air war. When will Russian forces become exhausted and require a pause? How does this relate to negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow? How should we understand the risks of war under the nuclear shadow and under what scenarios might Putin turn to his nuclear arsenal? Kofman tackles these questions and more.
3/14/202230 minutes, 20 seconds
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11 Days In: Russia's Invasion Stumbles Forward

Russia bungled its invasion plan but is nonetheless making progress in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance. But can the Russian military stay combat effective? What lessons can we learn from the war so far? What role is urban warfare playing in this fight? What do the troubles faced by the Russian military and security services in Ukraine portend for the regime of Vladimir Putin? And what exactly is going on with that long column of Russian forces north of Kyiv? In our last episode, Michael Kofman sat down with Ryan to break down the first few days of the war. In this episode, he brings us up to speed and breaks down the state-of-play.
3/7/202239 minutes, 59 seconds
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Interpreting the First Few Days of the Russo-Ukrainian War

People all over the world are watching Russia's assault on Ukraine unfold in real time through social media, giving us a gritty and vivid view of 21st-century combat. But how complete of a picture does this give us? How is the war actually unfolding? Why has Russia seemingly stumbled in the first few days of its invasion? Does this mean Ukraine can hold out? Michael Kofman of CNA sat down with Ryan to give some preliminary answers to these questions. Keep in mind this was recorded on the evening of Sunday, Feb. 27, and events are changing quickly. Some of what Kofman predicted in terms of more Russian forces entering the fight already seemed to already be underway as we completed post-production for this episode.
2/28/202225 minutes, 7 seconds
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People At the Center: Talent, Education, and Modernization

The armed services are modernizing across the board, perhaps most importantly in the closely related areas of talent development, education, and data. Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos of the U.S. Air Force, Brig. Gen. Charles Lombardo of the U.S. Army, and former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Al Schaffer joined Ryan to discuss how these changes might unfold. Special thanks to iFest and Sae Schatz for making this event possible.
2/1/202249 minutes, 56 seconds
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Gen. David H. Berger on the Marine Corps of the Future

Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, had Ryan Evans over for a discussion on the service he leads. As rising great powers and transformative technologies reshape warfare, presenting marines with new challenges, how should the Marine Corps adapt? From talent management to force transformation, listen to their wide-ranging conversation about what the service needs to become in order remain a top-tier fighting force. You can find a full transcript for this episode, as well as reading and listening here: https://warontherocks.com/2022/01/general-berger-on-the-marine-corps-of-the-future
1/4/202259 minutes, 6 seconds
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Oh My, AI

Eric Schmidt of Google fame and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work join the show to talk about their work leading the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which released its final report earlier this year. They tackle a huge range of questions, to include when Ryan can finally replace his editors with an algorithm.    Enjoy the show! And read the Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
5/12/202137 minutes, 27 seconds
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Great Power Cyber Party

Will we remember early 2021 as a key escalatory moment in offensive cyber operations? Three top experts join us to unpack the implications of two major recent cyber operations — the SolarWinds hack attributed to Russia and the Microsoft Exchange hack by China. What does it all mean? What should the United States do? What should it have done differently? Dmitri Alperovitch, Erica Borghard, and Jason Healey tackle these questions and more.   Further reading:  Dmitri Alperovitch and Ian Ward, "How Should the U.S. Respond to the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange Hacks?" Lawfare Erica Borghard and Jacquelyn Schneider, "Want to tell Russia to stop hacking U.S. systems? Here’s what works — and what doesn’t," Monkey Cage Jason Healey and Robert Jervis, "The Escalation Inversion and Other Oddities of Situational Cyber Stability," Texas National Security Review Michael Poznansky, "Covert Action, Espionage, and the Intelligence Contest in Cyberspace," War on the Rocks
4/19/202146 minutes, 17 seconds
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Intelligence and the Biden Administration

After four...strange years, what can we expect from the Biden administration on the intelligence front? From key appointments to the strategic context, from insurrection to counter-intelligence, our guests have you covered. Carmen Medina, David Priess, and Mark Stout join Ryan for this episode
1/20/202136 minutes, 57 seconds
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Lost at Sea

For many people, terms like “piracy,” “stowaway,” and “kidnapped” conjure up romantic visions influenced by the literature of Robert Louis Stevenson or C.S. Forester. But as this episode’s guests tell us, these terms actually have deadly serious meanings without much romance and with a great deal of grim reality to them.   Doyle Hodges, executive editor of the Texas National Security Review, sits down with Ian Urbina, investigative reporter for the New York Times and author of, The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier, and Martina Vandenberg, president of the Human Trafficking Legal Center, to discuss issues related to piracy, kidnapping, and stowaways on the high seas.
11/23/202047 minutes, 13 seconds
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A Whole New World (Order)

Rebecca Lissner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, and Stephen Wertheim join Doyle Hodges, executive editor of the Texas National Security Review, to share their views on American foreign policy and international order. They have recently published two books on the subject: An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty First Century Order, by Rebecca and Mira, and Stephen’s Tomorrow the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy.
11/16/202054 minutes, 55 seconds
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Change or Die

The successful military is the one that adapts and innovates. Dave Barno, Nora Benhahel, and Frank Hoffman join Ryan to talk about how the U.S. military changes, or fails to do so. They have two new books on the subject between them: Adaptation under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime, by Dave and Nora is out now. And Mars Adapting: Military Change During War, by Frank, will be out soon.   (This was recorded before the election results were projected)
11/10/202041 minutes, 17 seconds
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Banks and Moulton on Military Might and the American Future

In this episode, two members of Congress from two sides of the aisle came together to deliver a message of consensus on the future of the American military. And they did so on the eve of the most contentious presidential election in living memory. Looking for an escape from the drama? Interested in the revolutionary steps the United States needs to take to maintain its military edge? Listen to this episode with Rep. Jim Banks and Rep. Seth Moulton, who c0-chaired the Future of Defense Task Force. You can read the task force's final report (pdf) as well. 
11/2/202032 minutes, 41 seconds
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Introducing "A Most Terrible Weapon"

A Most Terrible Weapon is a podcast about the dawn of the nuclear age, hosted by Usha Sahay and produced by War on the Rocks, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In each episode, Usha takes listeners on a journey into the early years of the Cold War, telling stories about the dilemmas nuclear weapons posed for American and Soviet leaders, and introducing a fascinating cast of characters who were all trying to prevent Armageddon in different ways. Along the way, Usha interviews scholars and other nuclear experts to help make sense of the many atomic mysteries that have yet to be solved.   How do you plan for the most destructive war the world has never seen before? After the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, American leaders had to figure out how - or whether - nuclear weapons would be used in the wars of the future. In the pilot episode of A Most Terrible Weapon, Usha looks at the very first nuclear war plans, the debates inside the Truman administration about whether the bomb could ever be used again, and a terrifying new development - the arrival of the hydrogen bomb.    Featuring: Dr. Lynn Eden, Dr. Marc Trachtenberg, Dr. Alex Wellerstein
10/30/202035 minutes, 35 seconds
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Airmen, Sailors, and the Schoolhouse

As a part of our exploration of national security learning, we had Joan Johnson-Freese of the Naval War College and Mark Conversino of Air University on the show. Tune into this rich and wide-ranging conversation on what's right and wrong with professional military education in the Navy and Air Force. 
8/24/202054 minutes, 31 seconds
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Learn Like a Marine

Soon-to-be retired Maj. Gen. William Mullen drops in on the pod to talk about the making of the Marine Corps' newest doctrine, Learning, and how he hopes it will change his beloved Corps. It's all about two words: lifelong learning.
8/18/202030 minutes, 11 seconds
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Gearing up for Economic Statecraft

David McCormick, the CEO of Bridgewater Associates — the world's largest hedge fund, dropped in on the pod to talk about how the United States can prepare itself to compete in a new era in which, more than ever, economic security is national security. Speaking from decades of experience at the highest levels of industry and government, McCormick lays out what America needs to do from policy to innovation to government reorganization to immigration to talent management and beyond. He also discusses the state of the global economy, the impact of COVID-19, and how America's economy could be reshaped to realize equality of opportunity. Want more? Don't miss his essay in the Texas National Security Review with co-authors Charles Luftig and James Cunningham: "Economic Might, National Security, and the Future of American Statecraft."
8/10/202041 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Army Grapples with Modernization and COVID-19: A Conversation with Jim McPherson

Undersecretary of the Army James E. McPherson chats with Ryan about how the Army is coping with COVID-19 — starting with the recruitment pipeline — and the challenges of modernization. He also tells us about his military journey: Jim started as a young man in the Army then later joined the Navy, and he retired as judge advocate general of that service. In the last few years, he was called back into public service as a civilian as Army general counsel. In March he was confirmed as and promoted to undersecretary of the Army. He then served briefly as acting secretary of the Navy. Listen to this episode and learn, among other things, why he thought a request to speak to Secretary of Defense James Mattis was a prank and why his first CO in the Navy (a certain John Allen Williams) left a plant in his bed. 
8/4/202026 minutes, 55 seconds
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Lies Through Which We Tell the Truth

In this episode, Doyle Hodges, executive editor of the Texas National Security Review, chats wth three authors of recent fiction related to military security that explores questions of how technology, society, and the distance between people and violence affects our conception of war and security. Hodges is joined by Linda Nagata, author of The Last Good Man, a near-future science fiction novel that explores a private military company and what they are capable of doing when they use autonomous weaponry combined with surveillance; August Cole, co-author of Burn-In, a counter-terrorism story that looks at the way American society is going to be transformed by everyday automation and robotics; and Matt Gallagher, author of Empire City, which is an alternate dystopian history set in a contemporary America that won the Vietnam War.
7/13/202052 minutes, 7 seconds
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Are Good Allies Hard to Find?

Well, are they? Mira Rapp-Hooper, Paul Miller, and Emma Ashford dazzle us with a wide-ranging debate on America's alliances, in part through the lens of Mira's new book -- Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances.
6/24/202046 minutes, 47 seconds
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Scoping the Future of Education in National Security and Beyond

There's a revolution coming in education that promises to empower lifelong learners in the national security space. In the first of a series of special episodes, pick apart the technological, organizational, and -- most importantly -- cultural issues at play. What does it all boil down to? What kind of learning should count and how can you make sure it counts? To understand all this, Ryan spoke with Sae Schatz, the Director of the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative; retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Frank Kelley, vice president of Defense Acquisitions University; and Jason Tyzsko, the vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
5/14/202032 minutes, 17 seconds
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Is Cyber Half the Battle?

How do Russia and China view cyber operations? How is the American view of cyber operations changing and is it changing fast enough? What do advances in scholarship have to tell us about how and why cyber operations matter? What cocktails do we miss the most? This conversation with Erica Borghard, Ben Buchanan, and Fiona Cunningham has something for everyone.
5/12/202045 minutes, 40 seconds
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Disarming Disinformation

In this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, Doyle Hodges, executive editor of the Texas National Security Review, sits down with Jessica Brandt, head of policy and research for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, and Camille Francois, chief innovation officer at Graphika, to discuss disinformation.   Disinformation has been prominent in the minds of many Americans since the 2016 election. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report on April 21 confirming Russian interference in both the 2016 and 2018 elections, in part through the use of disinformation campaigns. With the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a new growth in disinformation campaigns and a new set of challenges.
5/7/202049 minutes, 54 seconds
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Gen. (ret.) Martin E. Dempsey on Following and Leading

Long-time listeners might remember that Martin E. Dempsey, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a guest on our humble show back in early 2014. In the next phase of his career, Dempsey has become a writer or, as he prefers it, a storyteller. He has a book out — his second — called No Time For Spectators: The Lessons That Mattered Most From West Point To The West Wing. From its stories about Cold War Germany to working for President Obama, Ryan enjoyed the book a great deal. He spoke to Dempsey about the book and all sorts of other things in an extended conversation. 
4/13/20201 hour, 2 minutes, 59 seconds
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A Chat with the Commandant: Gen. David H. Berger on the Marine Corps' New Direction

As listeners of this podcast know, the Marine Corps is taking a new direction. The latest document to lay out this vision is Force Design 2030. The commandant, Gen. David H. Berger, aims to cut the size of the Marine Corps and let go of some legacy systems (most notably tanks) in order to -- in the words of a recent article in the Economist --- turn the Corps into "a commando-like infantry force with nimbler weapons: drone squadrons will double in number and rocket batteries will triple." In Berger's view, the Marine Corps must make these changes in order to work with the other armed services to deter the People's Republic of China, if necessary, or win a war against it.   Ryan spoke with Berger to get the inside story of these reforms, which he describes as being in their earliest phase. "This is not the end of the journey" he said, "but rather the beginning." And he calls upon more voices to chime in with criticism to ensure the Marine Corps is ready for the future of war.    Further reading and listening: Force Design 2030 David H. Berger, "Notes on Designing the Marine Corps of the Future," War on the Rocks "Send the Marines" The Economist David Barno and Nora Bensahel, "A Striking New Vision for the Marines, and a Wakeup Call for the Other Services," War on the Rocks Chris Brose and Ryan Evans, "Your Ideas Matter: The Making of Marine Strategic Planning and the Future of War," War on the Rocks podcast Chris Brose, Rep. Mike Gallagher, and Ryan Evans, "The Fleet, the Fight, and the Future," War on the Rocks podcast Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age(Berrett-Koehler Publishers) Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy(Portfolio)
4/6/202036 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Plague and the Peloponnesian War

As the world endures a pandemic, we look to a plague of the past: that which struck Athens early in the Peloponnesian War. And we do so with the aid of Neville Morley, professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Exeter. Where did the plague come from? How did it affect the war? How did it change Athenian society? We explore these questions and more in a fascinating extended conversation. Neville is the perfect guide for these matters, having written many books and articles on different aspects of ancient history and its modern influence, including Roman imperialism, ancient trade, and the ancient Greek historian Thucydides.    Further reading:  Neville Morley, A User's Guide to Thucydides, Parts One and Two Thucydides (trans. Jeremy Mynott), The War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians Thucydides (trans. Martin Hammond), The Peloponnesian War
3/23/202048 minutes, 34 seconds
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Are the Forever Wars Really Forever?

America has been at war since the fall of 2001. There is no end in sight in Afghanistan, Mesopotamia and the Levant, and beyond. What political and strategic disincentives have stalled Washington's ability to responsibly end its involvement in these wars under Republican and Democratic administrations? After spraying down our studio with grain alcohol to kill the virus afflicting the world (Everclear is the unofficial sponsor of this episode, as is an excellent northern Italian vineyard called Paltrinieri), we convened a great group to grapple with the forever wars: Paul Miller of Georgetown, Sarah Kreps of Cornell, and Will Ruger of the Charles Koch Institute and Foundation.    Further reading: Paul Miller, Withdrawal Deadlines in War (Atlantic Council, 2020) Sarah Kreps, Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018) Will Ruger, "With U.S. Strategy on the Rocks, We Are Supporting Fresh Perspectives Fresh Perspectives in Foreign Policy," War on the Rocks Paul Miller, "How Does Jihadism End? Choosing Between Forever War and Nation Building," War on the Rocks John Kaag and Sarah Kreps, Drone Warfare (Polity, 2014) Sarah Kreps, Coalitions of Convenience: United States Military Interventions after the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2011)
3/16/202041 minutes, 23 seconds
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Can America Jaw-Jaw its Way Out of Afghanistan?

Devour this deep dive into the dash to drop America's drawn-out duel in the domain of the Durrani (and different dynasties): Afghanistan. To help us understand what's transpired and the meaning of the new deal between the United States and the Taliban, Ryan was joined by Orzala Nemat, Laurel Miller, and Vikram J. Singh -- all of whom have many years of experience with America's longest war.   For members, we have some bonus material (posted in the War Hall): Dr. Nemat tells us what a certain Hamid Karzai has been up to. Want to become a member? Click: https://warontherocks.com/membership/   Further reading and listening:   Barnett Rubin, "Fighting and Talking with the Taliban During the Obama Years," War on the Rocks Laurel Miller, "The Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Policy," Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Vikram Signh, "Behind The U.S.-Taliban Ceasefire Agreement In Afghanistan," NPR, interview by Ari Shapiro Chris Brose, Melanie Marlow, Christopher Preble, "Why is America Leaving Afghanistan Now?" Net Assessment John Bew, Ryan Evans, Peter Neumann, and Marisa Porgest, Talking to the Taliban: Hope over History (ICSR: 2013)
3/9/202059 minutes, 48 seconds
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A Military Straining Against Civilian Control?

In front of a live audience and with red wine in hand, the War on the Rocks podcast closed out an important conference on civil-military affairs hosted by the Strategic Studies shop over at the School of Advanced International Studies. The guests of this awesome episode include Mara Karlin, Paula Thornhill, Loren DoJonge Shulman, and Nora Bensahel. Further Reading and Watching: Watch the conference Paula Thornhill, Demystifying the American Military: Institutions Evolution and Challenges Since 1789 (Naval Institute Press, 2019) David Barno and Nora Bensahel, Adaptation under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime (Oxford University Press, 2020)
2/24/202035 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Fleet, the Fight, and the Future

Is the U.S. military built and positioned to stop or — if necessary — win the next big war? What should the Navy and Marine Corps of the future look like? What's standing in the way? How can the United States step back from the Middle East and focus on the Pacific? What does The Wire have to teach us about Washington? Why does a member of Congress have a sword, a pull-up bar, and a bottle of Lagavulin 16 in his office? Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Chris Brose of Anduril Industries join Ryan for a wide-ranging conversation that tackles these questions and more.    Further Reading, Listening, and Watching: Mike Gallagher, "To Deter China, the Naval Services Must Integrate," War on the Rocks Frank Hoffman, "No Strategic Success Without 21st Century Seapower: Forward Partnering," War on the Rocks Alice Hunt Friend, Melanie Marlowe, and Christopher Preble, "Net Assessment: Debating the AUMFs" "Everybody Stays Friends," The Wire Chris Brose and Ryan Evans, "Your Ideas Matter," War on the Rocks
2/17/202055 minutes, 54 seconds
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Who Needs Landmines?

The Trump administration made big news recently — and it wasn’t about impeachment. On Jan. 31, the White House announced that it was cancelling the policy that prohibited using anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean peninsula. The subject has been a fraught issue since the early 1990s, when civil society began to respond to the tragic consequences — particularly in the developing world — of the proliferation of landmines. The Clinton administration was a motivating force behind the Ottawa Convention, which banned the use of anti-personnel landmines worldwide, although it didn’t sign the treaty. The Bush administration argued that developing and deploying “smart mines,” that self-destruct after a period time, was consistent with U.S. national interests and humanitarian concerns. Under President Barack Obama, however, the United States committed to implement all of the elements of the Ottawa Convention except on the Korean peninsula, which poses a unique challenge to American defense planners. To discuss the issue, Ryan Evans was joined by David E. Johnson of the RAND Corporation, Stephen Pomper of the International Crisis Group and formerly of the Obama administration, Luke O’Brien of War on the Rocks, and Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch.
2/11/202040 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Method (or Madness) of Counting the Seconds to Doomsday

Many of you have heard of the Doomsday Clock — a decades-old analogue clock meant to symbolize how close we are to nuclear catastrophe. However far we are from midnight, we are told, is how close we are to disaster. More recently, it is also meant to incorporate the risks of catastrophic climate change. It was started by many of the scientists responsible for the creation of the nuclear weapon. And it is, and has always been, run by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin just set the clock to 100 seconds to midnight — the closest it’s ever been. On Twitter, Ryan remarked that he didn’t think this exercise added much in the way of value. And so, a debate began. Ryan assembled a group to debate the Doomsday Clock (over Manhattans, appropriately). On one side, Miles Pomper of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Benjamin H. Friedman of Defense Priorities. On the other, Jon Wolfsthal and Sharon Squassoni, both of whom sit on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board. And Ryan served as an admittedly biased moderator.
2/3/202049 minutes, 1 second
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No, Man: It’s an Island

Islands have taken on a greater prominence when we talk about the risk of war, especially in Asia. In the Indo-Pacific, islands, reefs, and rocky outcroppings are increasingly an organizing principle for considering security issues. In this episode, Doyle Hodges hosts a conversation on the sidelines of the Bridging the Straits II conference held in Tokyo. Professor Michishita Narushige of the Japanese National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Professor Terry Roehrig of the US Naval War College, Darshana Baruah, a pre-doctoral researcher at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and Dr. Euan Graham, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, discuss how the unique nature of islands influences Asia-Pacific security, ranging from the security concerns of small island nations in the Indian Ocean to China’s construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea, to territorial disputes between Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China over the possession of small--often uninhabitable or marginally economically viable--islands.
1/13/202047 minutes, 9 seconds
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Fission in Hamburg

As the world changes, is the nuclear strategy landscape changing or staying remarkably consistent? We had a nice chat about such in lovely Hamburg, courtesy of the Nuclear Studies Research Initiative (NSRI). Don't miss this episode, featuring Fiona Cunningham of George Washington University, Francis Gavin of Johns Hopkins, Ulrich Kühn of the University of Hamburg, and Jane Vaynman of Temple University.
12/30/201947 minutes, 50 seconds
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Veterans in Congress Come Together 'For Country'

Have you heard of the 'For Country' caucus? In a political moment defined by acrimony above all else, this caucus brings together members of Congress who have served in the military — Democrats and Republicans. They meet regularly and work together on interests of common concern, including defense, but also beyond. And shortly after the president was impeached, on a week that might be the peak of partisan peevishness, four members of the caucus — Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Michael Waltz (R-FL) — sat down with Ryan to explain why they are still friends and what unites them.
12/23/201921 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Army's New Approach to People

How could symphonies inspire the Army to change the way it selects leaders? The answer might surprise you. Gen. James C. McConville, the Army's 40th chief of staff, has given his marching orders: The Army's top priority is people — more specifically, overhauling talent management. How will future leaders be assessed, selected, and promoted? To understand the huge changes underway, Ryan spoke with Maj. Gen. J.P. McGee, who leads the Army's Talent Management Task Force. McGee gives us a deep look inside his team's efforts, to include a new battalion commander selection process that could lead to a cascade of personnel reforms. If you're in the Army, know anyone in the Army, or are interested in the power of personnel policies, you won't want to miss this. For a transcript of this episode, please click here. 
12/16/201941 minutes, 8 seconds
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The (War)Games We Play

If you read War on the Rocks, you've noticed there's a lively debate over the state of wargaming in the Department of Defense. After senior leaders pushed for a renewed emphasis on wargaming several years ago, are these games any good? Are they doing what they need to be doing for the U.S. military? If not, who is at fault — the gaming community or the customers sitting in the five-sided building? To tackle these questions and more, we gathered a gifted group of gamesome and gallant gamers. Join Ryan's conversation with Ellie Bartels, ED McGrady, and Peter Perla.   Links Jon Compton, "The Obstacles on the Road to Better Analytical Wargaming" Phillip Pournelle, "Can the Cycle of Research Save American Military Strategy?" Peter Perla, Web Ewell, Christopher Ma, Justin Peachy, Jeremy Sepinksy, and Basil Tripsas, "Rolling the Iron Dice: From Analytical Wargaming to the Cycle of Research" ED McGrady, "Getting the Story Right About Wargaming" Elizabeth Bartels, "Getting the Most Out of Your Wargame: Practical Advice for Decision-Makers" Robert Work and Paul Selva, "Revitalizing Wargaming is Necessary to be Prepared for Future Wars"
12/2/201950 minutes, 46 seconds
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Max Brooks: The Unreleased Interview

A few years ago, Ryan recorded a boozy interview with Max Brooks...and then never released it. Who knows why, but it's a fun conversation that you're sure to enjoy during this holiday week. Max is most famous as the author of World War Z, but he has a remarkably diverse collection of works, from The Harlem Hellfighters to some unusual episodes of GI Joe. This episode covers a lot of ground, from his body of work, his collaborations with the U.S. military, rum, and being a part of a famous family. Since this episode was first recorded, Max has been a busy guy. He is one of the editors of Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict and has a new horror novel coming out next year called Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, which is available for pre-order.
11/25/201932 minutes, 17 seconds
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A Conversation with Sen. Tom Udall about War Powers

Ryan sat down for a conversation Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico to talk about an issue that matters a lot to them and should matter a lot to you: war powers. In her contribution to a new roundtable on war powers, Oona Hathaway has a perfect lede: “The U.S. Congress has not approved a use of force since 2002. And yet the United States certainly has not been at peace in the years since.” Military operations all across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa are ongoing and expanding. As Hathaway writes elegantly they are all “grounded in capacious readings of Congress’ 2001 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force.” Edward Corwin described the way foreign relations powers are divvied up in the constitution as an “invitation to struggle”. But — as the years since these aging authorizations have demonstrated — it’s not a fair fight, is it? Don’t miss this episode, which pairs well with the new war powers roundtable in the Texas National Security Review. 
11/18/201926 minutes, 20 seconds
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The (Four) Stars and the State: Civil-Military Affairs in 2019

What is the proper role of retired general and flag officers in American politics? This is a question that has been debated for a long time, but things have heated up since the 2016 elections due to the prominent role of retired generals in that presidential campaign and in the Trump administration. Even more recently, retired Adm. Bill McRaven penned an op-ed that attracted the attention of many, but especially those who study civil-military relations. The premiere scholarly society focused on civil-military relations was in town over the weekend, so Ryan decided to have a few people over to War on the Rocks headquarters to sort through it all. He was joined by Risa Brooks, Peter Feaver, Jim Golby, and Alice Hunt Friend.
11/11/201956 minutes, 51 seconds
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Kings, Presidents, Editors, and People with Tapeworms

“Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we.’” This line, often attributed to Mark Twain (it wasn’t him) speaks to the thorny feelings that writers associate with those who shape their prose. Now that the War on the Rocks editorial team has grown so much, we thought this was a good opportunity for you to get to know our Washington-based editors a bit better: Doyle Hodges, Shane Mason, and Rebecca Zimmerman. This team combines career experience in the U.S. Navy, various think tanks, in the fields and headquarters of Afghanistan, to low-budget music tour vans. If you’re interested in their career trajectories, mentors who made a difference, how to be a civilian in a military dominated environment (or vice versa), the books and plays they love, hard-earned professional lessons, or just better knowing the people who wield the red pen, you’ll enjoy this one.
11/4/201946 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Sense in Syria's Senselessness

President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. special operations forces in advance of a Turkish offensive into northeastern Syria continues to roil the region. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations, Nick Danforth of the German Marshall Fund, and Sam Heller of the International Crisis Group join the show to help us understand why this happened, how it affected people on the ground, and what happens next in this long-running civil war. We also preview a WarCast with Aaron Stein of the Foreign Policy Research Institute on the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.   Further reading and listening: Aaron Stein, "U.S. Officials Ignored Trump on Syria and Now We're All Paying the Price" Sam Heller, "America In Search of an Un-Geneva for Syria" Nick Danforth, Doug Ollivant, Elizabeth Saunders, and Ryan Evans, "Mayhem and Misadventures in the Middle East"
10/27/201957 minutes, 25 seconds
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Your Ideas Matter: The Making of Marine Strategic Planning and the Future of War

Maybe you've already heard about the Marine commandant's new planning guidance. Maybe you haven't. If you care about how strategy at the service level can work at its best, then you should take a close look. This episode digs into how tough questions from Congress, hard-hitting and public writing by servicemembers, and bold thinking by senior leaders all interacted to create an important document that will chart the way ahead for the Marine Corps.    The core of this episode is a conversation with Chris Brose, the former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the current head of strategy of Anduril Industries. Chris breaks down what's special about this document, what it gets right about the future of warfare and the rise of the defensive, and what the Army, Navy, and Air Force can learn from the Marine Corp's example. We also include a long segment from the last big speech by Gen. Robert Neller, the last commandant of the Marine Corps, which hinted where the service was going to go under Gen. David Berger, his successor. We also feature a clip from a recent episode of "Net Assessment," one of our other podcasts. And, finally, we close with some thoughts from Brose about life in the Senate, moving to the private sector, ethics and autonomy, and what Anduril -- a most interesting company -- is up to.    
8/7/201959 minutes, 17 seconds
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Ask Me No Questions, and I'll Tell You No Lies

Every summer, the War on the Rocks crew travels to Beaver Creek, Colorado, where the Clements Center hosts its summer seminar -- an intimate gathering for PhD students, senior scholars, former policymakers, and a misanthropic editor and podcast host. In this episode, Alexandra Evans, Jim Goldgeier, Tanvi Madan, Doyle Hodges, and aforementioned misanthrope -- Ryan Evans -- fielded questions on international security from the junior scholars in attendance that they considered oft-ignored or ill-explored.  
7/29/201934 minutes, 39 seconds
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How is the Air Force Adapting to Great Power Competition?

Ryan caught a flight with Gen. David Goldfein, the chief of the Air Force, who broke down how his service is preparing for a new era of great power competition. What is the Air Force of today doing to get ready? What will the Air Force of the future look like? With support from two bright Air Force officers studying at Maxwell Air Force Base -Lynn Haack and Stephen Bressett- he puts some meat on the bones of "multi-domain operations," where the U.S. military is ending up on Space Force, and how military power can enable and reinforce diplomacy. The chief closes with some kind words about War on the Rocks and the importance of public engagement by Air Force personnel.   
6/3/201931 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Unmasking of Ned Stark and the Future of Air Force Leadership

Almost exactly one year ago, an Air Force colonel using a pseudonym -- 'Ned Stark' -- penned an article for War on the Rocks . This cri de coeur -- a call for major reforms to how the Air Force selects and promotes leaders -- quickly burned across the author's service. It fueled an important debate and even elicited a supportive response and job offer from none other than Gen. David L. Goldfein, the chief of staff of the Air Force. 'Stark' penned more articles for War on the Rocks and the Air Force Times in the year that followed. And now he is choosing to come out into the open and reveal his identity. Listen to his conversation with Ryan Evans on why he chose to join the public debate, the benefits and costs to using a pseudonym, the difficulties of hiding his identity, and the fundamentally important personnel and leadership issues at stake in the U.S. Air Force. Ned also talks about his future, the role of faith in his professional ethics, and what books have most influenced him.  
5/13/201949 minutes, 13 seconds
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Fresh Voices on Grand Strategy

It's time to rejuvenate America's national debate on grand strategy. And that's just what we try to do in this latest episode, which was recorded at the Michael J. Zak lecture series hosted by the Center for a New American Security. The debate got spirited! So who are these fresh voices? If you're an avid War on the Rocks listener and reader, you might already know some of them (because we are the freshest national security publication out there, amirite?): Rebecca Lissner (U.S. Naval War College, yes her opinions are hers and hers alone), Josh Shifrinson (Boston University), Kate Kizer (Win Without War), and Emma Ashford (Cato Institute).    
4/17/201939 minutes, 57 seconds
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Civil-Military Relations Gone Wild?

Debates over civil-military relations have reached a fever pitch since the 2016 presidential campaign and the beginning of the Trump administration. Many have focused on the top-down questions: What role should retired generals play in our political system? What are the consequences of having so many former military leaders at the upper-most ranks of a presidential administration? Should we be worried about the state of civilian leadership in the Pentagon? But to put those in their right context, it is important to look at civil-military relations from the bottom-up. How are ethics taught to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines? What is the state of the profession of arms? What does it really mean for the American people to honor their troops? In this episode, we tackle many of these questions from the top-down and the bottom-up with a terrific panel of experts: Loren DeJonge Schulman of the Center for a New American Security, Alice Hunt Friend of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Steven Foster of the U.S. Army and one of the contributors to Redefining the Modern Military: The Intersection of Profession and Ethics.
3/18/201949 minutes, 43 seconds
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With the Caliphate Crushed, What's Next?

With the last slivers of Syrian territory being wrested from the grasp of the Islamic State, where does the war against this tenacious terrorist organization go next? To understand where we came and where we are heading, we assembled a fantastic cast of experts that co-hosts Usha Sahay and Ryan Evans did their best to wrangle: Rasha al-Aqeedi of FRPI, Ryan Fishel of the U.S. Air Force, Hassan Hassan of the Tahrir Institute, Haroro Ingram of Program on Extremism at GWU, Brett Reichert of the U.S. Army, and Aaron Stein of FPRI.   Our guests in this episode range from people who fought the self-proclaimed Caliphate on the ground and in the air to scholars, think tankers, and analysts.    
2/25/201959 minutes, 27 seconds
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Mayhem and Misadventures in the Middle East

The Middle East is the region that keeps on giving, and taking away. How has the American approach to the use of force evolved in Syria and Iraq? And what is the relationship between U.S. politics and these policies? How is Turkey preparing for the possible withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria? What is Iraq's view of the region's conflicts? Is the Trump administration really taking the fight to Iran somehow? What of other great powers interests? Our guests tackle these questions and many more. We were joined -- over drinks of course -- by Doug Ollivant of New America and Mantid International,* Elizabeth Saunders of Georgetown University, and Nicholas Danforth of the Bipartisan Policy Center.   Don't forget to check out the War on the Rocks membership program: https://warontherocks.com/membership   *Mantid does business in Iraq
2/11/201955 minutes, 27 seconds
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Ready to Compete? America's Military and Technological Edge

About a year after the National Defense Strategy was launched, what progress has been made when it comes to America's edge against its great power rivals? And what role do great power partners, like India, have to play? Over drinks at the Jefferson Hotel's Quill Bar (our old school recording location, as longtime listeners of the show will remember) Elbridge Colby, Tanvi Madan, Roger Zakheim, and Nina Kollars debate these questions and more.  
2/4/201950 minutes, 45 seconds
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No Good, Very Bad Ideas in National Security

Bad ideas. How much trouble do they cause in national security? How do they disrupt or hinder the protection and advancement of American interests? Where do they come from? How do they gain traction? Our friends at the Center for Strategic and International Studies decided to delve more deeply into these questions and more with their project, “Bad Ideas in National Security.” It features short articles from various thinkers on recently considered and not too obvious bad ideas in the defense and foreign policy space. In this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, we dig into a selection of them with a stellar panel of experts. Also, Zack Cooper and I continue our self-indulgent feud on the great wargame controversy of 2016, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to our last episode. You can read all the articles in the “Bad Ideas” series at the CSIS website.  
1/17/201952 minutes, 9 seconds
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Full Steam Ahead: Naval Competition with China

With a new era of great power competition upon us, the U.S. Navy is in the midst of developing its future fleet. The good people up at the U.S. Naval War College are chipping in to help their service figure out the answers to big strategic and operational questions. This episode was recorded on the sidelines of the college's "Bridging the Straits" conference and focuses on the dynamics of maritime competition with the People's Republic of China.   We have a very special guest host for this episode: Zack Cooper of AEI and a contributing editor at War on the Rocks. Zack was joined by Ketian Zhang, Jonathan Caverely, Michael O'Hara, and Fiona Cunningham. You don't want to miss this!
12/20/201849 minutes, 59 seconds
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Jaw-Jaw: Will Xi's Third Revolution Last?

What is Xi Jinping’s “revolution” in Chinese politics? How did he amass the power to enact his ambitious agenda? Is he in danger of being toppled? Or is he effectively a dictator for life? In the second episode of “Jaw-Jaw,” Liz Economy of the Council on Foreign Relations and our host Brad Carson discuss the future of China and its powerful leader, Xi Jinping. Please enjoy the newest addition to the War on the Rocks family of podcasts. You can subscribe to “Jaw-Jaw” by clicking here or simply by searching for it on your podcast app of choice. If you’d like to read a full-transcript of this episode, click here. Biographies Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In June 2018, Dr. Economy was named one of the “10 Names That Matter on China Policy” by Politico Magazine. Her most recent book is The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (2018). Brad Carson is a professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2005 and was Undersecretary of the Army and acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness in the Obama Administration. Feel free to write him at [email protected] to share any feedback you have. Links Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (Touchstone, 2003). David Shambaugh, China Goes Global: The Partial Power (Oxford University Press, 2013). John Pomfret, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (Picador, 2017).
11/27/201846 minutes, 41 seconds
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Jaw Jaw: China is a Funny Sort of Revisionist Power — A Conversation with Dean Cheng

What is the future of U.S.-Chinese relations? Will a rising China seek to overturn the U.S.-led international order? What is China doing inside the first island chain? In cyberspace? Orbital space? Is China more like Imperial Germany or is it more like France in the late 19th century? Dean Cheng and Brad Carson explore these questions and many more in the inaugural episode of “Jaw-Jaw,” the newest addition to the War on the Rocks family of podcasts. Dean even recommends some of his favorite books on China – which will be a regular “Jaw-Jaw” feature. You can read the entire transcript of this episode at War on the Rocks. And, more importantly, you can subscribe to the "Jaw-Jaw" feed right here! Biographies Dean Cheng is Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at the Heritage Foundation. He specializes in China’s military and foreign policy, in particular China’s relationship with its Asian neighbors and with the United States. His most recent book is Cyber Dragon: Inside China’s Information Warfare and Cyber Operations (2016). Cheng is a frequent media commentator on China-related issues. Brad Carson is a professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2005 and was Undersecretary of the Army and acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in the Obama Administration. He welcomes comments at [email protected]. Links Richard E. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why (Free Press, 2004). Alfred Wilhelm, The Chinese at the Negotiating Table: Style & Characteristics (Diane Publishing Co., 1994). David Finkelstein and James Mulvenon (Eds), China's Revolution in Doctrinal Affairs: Emerging Trends in the Operational Art of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Center for Naval Analyses, 2005)  
11/13/201852 minutes, 38 seconds
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Net Assessment: The China Hand

This week’s Net Assessment podcast featured a deep-dive into the Vice President’s early October speech on the competition with China. Largely drowned out by the Kavanaugh SCOTUS controversy, Melanie, Chris, and Bryan give this important speech due consideration, to include administration views on Taiwan, China’s defense buildup, and its growing global influence.  The crew also discussed foreign aid, the F-35, the deficit, the alleged assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and the resignation of Nikki Haley. All of this while celebrating Melanie’s birthday.   Vice President’s Speech Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration's Policy Toward China Ethan Epstein, “How China Infiltrated US Classrooms,” Politico, January 16, 2018. Glenn Thrush, “Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China’s Global Influence,” New York Times, October 14, 2018. Jim DeBrosse, “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward,” Cincinnati Magazine, May 4, 2017. Alan Rappeport, “In New Slap at China, US Expands Power to Block Foreign Investments,” New York Times, October 10, 2018. Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang, “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order,” New York Times, May 13, 2017. Adva Saldinger, "A New US Development Finance Agency Takes Flight," Devex, October 4, 2018 Glenn Thrush, "Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China's Global Influence," The New York Times, October 14, 2018   Airing of Grievances https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna920191 https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2018/09/exclusive-f-35-program-facing-another-setback/ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/16/trumps-tax-cut-didnt-reduce-the-deficit--despite-his-many-promises.html   Attaboys https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/12/western-walkout-saudi-davos-desert-conference-over-jamal-khashoggi-undermines-kingdoms-modernization-plans/ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/16/trumps-tax-cut-didnt-reduce-the-deficit--despite-his-many-promises.html https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/politics/nikki-haley-resignation/index.html    
10/18/201848 minutes, 26 seconds
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Two Editors Go Nuclear on Each Other: A Conversation with Gideon Rose

Can two great power publications peacefully co-exist? Or are they fated to clash? And what if you throw nuclear weapons into the mix? Gideon Rose and Ryan Evans, the benevolent editorial autocrats of Foreign Affairs and War on the Rocks seek to answer these questions and more. They dive deep into a new special issue of Foreign Affairs: “Do Nuclear Weapons Matter?” The issue features a diverse range of thinkers on nuke – some of whom have also written for WOTR – including Elbridge Colby, John Mueller, Olga Oliker, Scott Sagan, Caitlin Talmadge, and Nina Tannenwald. Gideon and Ryan also dish about editing, dealing with different kinds of authors, and whether wordsmithing drives them to drink. After this display of inter-publication generosity, Ryan demands the unconditional surrender of Foreign Affairs.  
10/16/20181 hour, 17 seconds
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Introducing Net Assessment

What happens when a libertarian, a conservative hawk, and a constitutional powers specialist walk into a podcast studio? 'Net Assessment' happens. Welcome to the hottest new national security podcast hosted by Melanie Marlowe, Christopher Preble, and Bryan McGrath. This is a show about competing visions of America's role in the world. In each episode, they will be discussing a featured article, airing their grievances, and giving attaboys.  In the first episode of this bi-weekly series, our hosts introduce themselves and their hopes for this podcast. They tackle this episode's featured article, Adrian Lewis' "The Ivory Tower and Academic Ignorance of What the Armed Forces Actually Do," published by Task & Purpose. They also discuss the role of American seapower and, of course, Twitter feuds. Don't forget to subscribe to Net Assessment on your podcast app of choice.    Adrian Lewis, “The Ivory Tower And Academic Ignorance Of What The Armed Forces Actually Do,” Task and Purpose, September 20, 2018. Ken Buck, “Congress, Take Your War Powers Back,” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2018. Dion Nissenbaum, “Top U.S. Diplomat Backed Continuing Support for Saudi War in Yemen Over Objections of Staff,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2018. Nicholas Kristof, “Be Outraged by America’s Role in Yemen’s Misery,” New York Times, September 26, 2018. Claudia Grisales and Corey Dickstein, “Vice Adm. Faller: 'I Was Cleared of All Wrongdoing' in 'Fat Leonard' Case,” Stars and Stripes, September 25, 2018. Chico Harlan, “Vatican and China Reach ‘Provisional’ Deal on Appointment of Bishops,” Washington Post, September 22, 2018. Corey Dickstein, "House Lawmakers Confused over US Military’s Goals in Syria as Pentagon Maintains Focus on ISIS," Stars and Stripes, September 26, 2018. Joshua Keating, “Why John Bolton is So Obsessed with the International Criminal Court," Slate, September 10, 2018 Base Redevelopment Forum, Association of Defense Communities, Portland, Maine, October 8-10, 2018. The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy by Stephen M. Walt, Book Forum with the author, Cato Institute, October 17, 2018.
10/4/201840 minutes, 14 seconds
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Horns of a Dilemma: Vietnam's Indelible Legacy: How the War Changed National Security Policymaking

Half a century later, the Vietnam War continues to shape U.S. foreign policy, from its debates over foreign intervention to the institutions of its military. Why does the war remain such a poignant influence, and what lessons have policymakers, scholars, and the public learned (or failed to learn) from America's disastrous campaign in Southeast Asia? WOTR Managing Editor Usha Sahay had the chance to discuss the legacy of Vietnam with an all-star cast in Austin, Texas.
9/21/201848 minutes, 25 seconds
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Training the Military for the Next War

How should the U.S. military prepare for the conflicts of the future? Military threats in the cyber, digital, and information domains present new training challenges. Synthetic training” seeks to address these obstacles - but what is it, anyway, how does it work in practice, and is the military trying to throw too much new tech at the problem? Managing Editor Usha Sahay discussed the future of military training with three experts in the perfect setting: over cocktails in a seaside mansion-turned-bar in Newport, Rhode Island.
9/13/201843 minutes, 49 seconds
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A Chat with the Chief: Gen. David Goldfein on the People and Future of the U.S. Air Force

In this episode, Ryan sat down with Gen. David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. We had an in-depth, candid conversation about his service's personnel challenges, the selection and education of leaders, as well as strategy, warfighting, and the books that have influenced him. Goldfein also explained why he engaged with the pseudonymous Col. 'Ned Stark' and why it is so important for people in the Air Force to write and publicly engage. Many of the questions I asked came from War on the Rocks members in our members only forum, the War Hall. You can become a member too.
8/29/201856 minutes, 15 seconds
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The 100th Episode: Is a Major War Coming?

The War on the Rocks podcast celebrates its 100th episode with a blockbuster group of close friends of the site. The entire episode is an attempt to answer a straightforward, but devilishly complex question: Is a major inter-state war likely in the next several years? Join Ryan Evans as he corrals Kori Schake, Frank Gavin, Colin Kahl, William Inboden, and Hal Brands to sort through the scenarios, opportunities, and possibilities (over drinks, of course). This question and discussion started in the War Hall, our members-only forum that you can sign up for right here.   
7/31/20181 hour, 2 minutes, 55 seconds
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A Soldier Showing Us the Hidden Face of War

While on a recent visit to Copenhagen, Ryan sat down with his old friend Martin Tamm Anderson. Martin, who recently left the Danish Army, met Ryan in Helmand Province years ago. In the years since, Martin has been busy. After working as a military advisor for the Oscar-nominated film, "A War," he created a new television show with his colleagues at Drive Studios called "The Hidden Face of War" (DR3). In the show, Martin visits active warzones and speaks to people on all sides of the conflict.    In this episode, Martin spoke with Ryan over smørrebrød about his journey from infantryman to television host and the exciting and often dangerous challenges of his new show.  
7/19/201820 minutes, 33 seconds
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A Conversation With Clint Watts on Influence and Information in the Social Media Era

How has our understanding of Russian influence operations evolved since the 2016 election? Just a few days before Trump was elected president, Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger sounded the alarm in a War on the Rocks article about the Kremlin's efforts to undermine American democracy. Since then, the world has learned a lot more about how Russia influenced the election and, more generally, the continued dangers of influence campaigns and information warfare. Clint's new book, Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, is an effort to help us think through these issues. He recently spoke with Usha about his efforts to track and understand Russian social media trolling, what studying jihadi terrorists taught him about online propaganda, and what the government, tech companies, and the public can do to deal with this difficult problem.   Read the November 2016 War on the Rocks article here: https://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/   Order Clint's book here: https://amzn.to/2I4NKbt Image: powtac/Flickr  
6/19/201843 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Muslim Brotherhood's Convoluted Relationship with the West

Martyn Frampton (@FramptonM) of Queen Mary University, is one of the most talented historians of his generation. He recently sat down with Ryan in Washington to speak about his new book, The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement. Since its founding in Egypt in the 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood has been animated by hatred for the West, but has also vigorously engaged with Western nations -- especially Britain and America -- in pursuit of its goals. Martyn walks us through this alternatively harrowing and fascinating story. In his telling, the Muslim Brotherhood is the perfect example of a movement that is intensely ideological yet deeply pragmatic and flexible. And the United States and Britain have a habit of getting led into the same cul-de-sacs with the Brotherhood over and over again, hoping -- in Martyn's words -- that they could achieve certain things by engaging with the Brotherhood, only to be left disappointed. This tale does not just have major implications for foreign relations, but also for integrating Muslim communities at home in the West. For you aspiring historians out there, he also discusses the process of writing the book, including learning a new language and conducting archival research on three continents.     
6/14/201836 minutes, 49 seconds
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Counterterrorism With Partner Countries: Promise or Peril?

Partner cooperation is crucial when it comes to fighting terrorism, but it's also complex. Stephen Tankel, assistant professor at American University -- most importantly -- a senior editor here at War on the Rocks, examines U.S. counterterrorism cooperation in his new book With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror. He and Ryan chatted about troublesome partners like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, how young academics can be more policy-engaged, and what Stephen drank to celebrate reaching major academic milestones.   Be sure to check out Stephen's book: https://amzn.to/2JyufwJ    
6/7/201833 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Future of Force

Recently, two enterprising young scholars spearheaded a major conference that ended up being sponsored and hosted by CSIS and the Kissinger Center at SAIS. The topic was the future of force and it will hopefully be the first in a series under a program called the Future of Strategy Forum that aims to feature women doing important work in national and international security. At the end of this day long event, Usha Sahay and Ryan Evans sat down with the people responsible for making it happen -- Sara Plana, Rachel Tecott, Alex Bick, Alice Friend, and Kath Hicks. We had a fascinating conversation about how this conference came to be, the challenges of gender diversity, and -- of course -- the future of force.  
6/4/201833 minutes, 19 seconds
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American Exceptionalism, Transatlantic Ties, and European Autonomy in the Age of Trump

How does America's role in the world look from across the Atlantic? Usha had an illuminating discussion in Paris with three French experts on U.S. foreign policy and European security issues. Among the questions they discussed: How much of an anomaly is Trump? How should France and Europe respond to the Trump administration's 'America First' policy? And how will America's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (which happened just a day before we recorded this podcast) impact its relationship with Europe and the future of multilateralism? Don't miss this special Parisian edition of the War on the Rocks podcast.      
5/24/201850 minutes, 8 seconds
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Pakistan Beyond 70: Rivalries, its Neighbors, and the Great Powers

Pakistan is 70 years old. To make the anniversary, Joshua White of SAIS foolishly asked Ryan Evans to moderate an esteemed panel of experts to discuss Pakistan's role in Asia, its relationships with the great powers, and its future. Have a listen as Sameer Lalwani, Tanvi Madan, Daniel Markey, Olga Oliker, and Rasul Bakhsh Rais share their knowledge and wisdom.     
5/21/201856 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ain't No Party Like a World Order Party

Three talented scholars join Ryan in this episode to tackle questions about the future of the international order. ​ Conversations about this topic can often be insufferably dry, but this one definitely isn't -- and not just because of the adult beverages being imbibed as the episode unfolded. Join Mira Rapp-Hooper, Rebecca Friedman Lissner, and Stephen Wertheim for a meaty, fascinating, and historically informed jam session on the future of U.S. power and influence. 
5/14/201852 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Making of a Career Intelligence Official: A Conversation with Michael P. Dempsey

Ryan dropped in on Michael P. Dempsey late last week in New York City. He is a career intelligence official who served as the acting director of national intelligence. From 2014-2017, he served as the deputy director of national intelligence and President Barack Obama’s primary intelligence briefer. After decades of work in the intelligence community, Dempsey is taking a year out of government at the Council on Foreign Relations. And for the first time in years, he is allowed to speak his mind freely (for the most part) about all sorts of things. Naturally, we had to have him on the War on the Rocks podcast. In this episode, Dempsey starts with the story of his career, from his work as a Latin America analyst all the way up to finalizing the President's Daily Brief and, yes, briefing it to the president of the United States. He also walks us through how to understand negotiations in North Korea as well as the ever-worsening civil war in Syria.     
5/7/201835 minutes, 54 seconds
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Strikes on Syria: The View From Paris

A special dispatch from France: On Friday, April 13, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France launched punitive strikes on Syria following the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. Managing Editor Usha Sahay spoke with Bruno Tertrais, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research and an expert on French defense policy, about France's perspective on the conflict in Syria, Emmanuel Macron's views on military intervention, and the falling out between France and the United States after the aborted strikes in the summer of 2013.    Read Bruno's new paper on the subject, co-authored with Jeffrey Lewis, "Beyond the Red Line: The United States, France, and Chemical Weapons in the Syrian War, 2013-2018." https://www.frstrategie.org/en/publications/recherches-et-documents/beyond-the-red-line-the-united-states-france-and-chemical-weapons-in-the-syrian-war-2013-2018-06-2018    
4/24/201829 minutes, 33 seconds
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Horns of a Dilemma: Even Cybersecurity is Bigger in Texas

This is Horns of a Dilemma, the podcast partner to that journal, which features the thinkers and leaders resident at the various institutions of the University of Texas and those who stop in to share their wisdom.  On the latest episode of Horns of a Dilemma, we have Amy Zegart, who was hosted at the University of Texas as a part of the Strauss Center's Brumley Speaker Series. You should know who Amy is already, but if you don’t she is co-director of the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. To call this a talk about cybersecurity would be accurate, but it wouldn’t do this wide-ranging and fascinating episode justice.  
3/30/201843 minutes, 23 seconds
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A Big Debate About a Little Nuke

Why are so many people at odds over low-yield nuclear weapons? Well, it turns out, this debate touches on a megaton of interesting questions, including how Russia sees its own nuclear arsenal, how it envisions nuclear strategy, how the Kremlin understands the deterrence, and how we might prevent a nuclear war. So if you care about any of those things, you might want to listen in on this fierce debate between Frank Miller - a long-suffering veteran of the Pentagon and nuclear strategy, Dr. Olga Oliker of CSIS and a longtime observer and scholar of Russian nuclear and military doctrine, and Vipin Narang - a professor at MIT and, most importantly, a War on the Rocks senior editor.    Co-hosts Ryan Evans and Usha Sahay did their best to moderate this high-yield debate about low-yield nukes. Get ready for the fallout.     
3/14/201849 minutes, 24 seconds
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Horns of a Dilemma: The Last Republicans?

In the second episode of our new podcast series, "Horns of a Dilemma," William Inboden interviews Mark Updegrove, president and chief Executive of the LBJ Foundation, and author of the new book The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (Harper 2017). This new book draws on interviews with both Bush presidents to explore their formative experiences as well as their perspectives on public service, America’s role in the world, Donald Trump, and the transmutation of the Republican Party that has transfixed the United States and turned its politics upside-down.   
3/8/201848 minutes, 53 seconds
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Introducing "Horns of a Dilemma" with a Conversation on National Security

This is the first episode of “Horns of a Dilemma,” a new series brought to you by the Texas National Security Review, featuring the leaders and thinkers based at the University of Texas or who stop in to share their wisdom. Fittingly, we are kicking this off with a conversation on leadership, mostly in the national security context. This session is moderated by William Inboden, the director of the Clements Center. The guests are all based at the University of Texas: Adm. (ret.) Bill McRaven, former CIA Director John Brennan, former NSA Director Adm. (ret.) Bobby Inman, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Have a listen and don’t forget to subscribe to this new show’s feed!
3/2/201847 minutes, 22 seconds
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Fear Not the Blue-Haired Soldier?

Does the future of warfare demand the U.S. military change its standards for everything from fitness to personal appearance? This question opened up a major debate in the electronic pages of War on the Rocks. So Ryan Evans invited the participants in that debate -- Jacqueline Schneider, Mark Cancian, and Crispin Burke -- to join him on the show and work out everything from why military standards exist to what the wars of the future will look like, along with the warriors who fight them.    
2/19/201836 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Big Cyber Spectacular

In our latest episode, Usha Sahay and Ryan Evans were joined by Thomas Rid, Michael Sulmeyer, and a mystery guest (ok, ok, it's Corinna Fehst) to talk about cyber-security, election meddling, reports about U.S. intel agencies buying back pilfered hacking tools, going dark, legislatures as the vulnerable soft cyber underbelly of democracies, and the different threats posed by Russia and China.   Also, "Password1" is not a good password according to our guests. So you should probably change that.   
2/14/201848 minutes, 42 seconds
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To Compete with China, Can America Get Out of Its Own Way?

Two key strategy documents released by the Trump administration signal the United States is finally gearing up for a new era of great power competition. And China is the most daunting competitor on the horizon. Is this the right move? Is the president on board? Are America's allies up for it? What would a war of choice in North Korea do to a Sino-American competition? How can and should America compete politically, economically, and militarily? Was it naive to expect China to become a responsible stakeholder to begin with?   To answer these questions and more, Kelly Magsamen of the Center for American Progress and Ely Ratner of the Council on Foreign Relations sat down with Ryan at WOTR HQ with the aid of three kinds of whisk(e)y. Both Kelly and Ely drew on their experiences in the Obama administration, in which they both served in senior capacities.    
2/7/201849 minutes, 39 seconds
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Grand Strategy from Obama to Trump

How did President Barack Obama leave America's strategic position when he left office? How is President Donald Trump doing so far? What is the role of the historian in sorting through these questions? Hal Brands and Francis Gavin — both of the Kissinger Center at SAIS — join Ryan Evans to debate these questions and many more over beers and through the lens of Hal's new book, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump. 
1/31/201855 minutes, 41 seconds
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Satire and Terror: A Conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo

Ryan spent a week in France earlier this year and was fortunate to meet with Gérard Biard, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, the ever-irreverent French satirical magazine that made international headlines almost three years ago when jihadist terrorists attacked their office in Paris. Gérard spoke with Ryan about everything from the impact of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, how the ideal of French secularism contrasts with its American counterpart, the nature of the satire they do better than anyone, and why some people still don’t get it. They discussed why satirizing Islam and other religions when they the political arena is not just fair game, but even important. And they close with Charlie Hebdo’s origins (Did you know the name in part comes from the fact that its predecessor magazine was the first to publish Charlie Brown in France?) and the challenges of satirizing Trump (“What could we write that would be funnier than a tweet from Donald Trump?”). Special thanks to Iskander Rehman, for doing the translation and voiceover, and Jamie McGuire, the sound engineer who worked with him on it.  If you're a French speaker and want a version without an English voiceover, then click here, where you can download that as an mp3.  
12/19/201743 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Adventures of Intel in Trumpland

Weeks before Donald Trump took office, Ryan convened a group of professionals from in and around the intelligence community to talk about the incoming president's approach to intel ("He's Just Not That Into You: Trump, Intel, and the American Presidency"). In today's episode, Ryan brought the same group of people together (minus one). Tune in to hear Carmen Medina, Mark Stout, and Mark Zaid chat (over drinks, of course) about how the president has done so far. 
11/22/201754 minutes, 51 seconds
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Storming Rome with Mike Duncan

History podcasting mastermind Mike Duncan joined Ryan for a few drinks in Washington for our latest episode. Rome is what brought them together — more specifically his New York Times best-selling book, The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic. The book tells the story of Rome from 146 to 78 BC. In this wide-ranging conversation, they cover the challenges of writing ancient vs. modern history, going from fishmongering to podcasting (and making a living at it!), his show Revolutions, and why those of us living at this particular time in history should be eager to understand what happened to the Roman Republic.   
11/8/201752 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Hard Human Realities that Follow the War

The bottom line of this episode is this: If you can identify with the experience of coming home from war or you want to better understand that experience, you should see the new film "Thank You For Your Service." When you go, be prepared for something powerful and heartbreaking, but also something necessary. In this episode, we hear from Jason Hall, the writer and director of the film, and Adam Schumann, the Army veteran played in the film by Miles Teller. The movie is based on the book of the same name by David Finkel and it tells the story of members of an Army unit once they’ve come home and left the military, only to do battle with the memories of their combat and the trauma of their experiences.
10/31/201720 minutes, 49 seconds
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Must the War Go On? Let's Talk About Iraq and the Kurds

The Kurds of Northern Iraq held an independence referendum, Iraqi federal forces seized Kirkuk, and the world wondered if we were on the precipice of another round of what could be described as one long-running Iraqi civil war involving the state, jihadists, tribes, sectarian militias, various Kurdish factions, and - of course - a bevy of outside powers. We haven't seen a descent into a new round of violence, at least yet. But what does the future hold for Iraq? Can the Kurds and Baghdad come to some sort of agreement? What do we mean when we say "the Kurds" anyway? What does this mean for Iraq and Iraqi nationalism now that the war to take back territory from the self-proclaimed Islamic State is winding its way to an end? What about the Shia militias raised for that fight? What place do they now hold in Iraq? To help him figure out these questions and more, Ryan Evans invited Rasha al-Aqeedi, Denise Natali, and Doug Ollivant on the show. And of course, there was whisk(e)y. 
10/23/201756 minutes, 30 seconds
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Nothing New Under the Sun? Ethics and Service in the Age of Trump

Since Donald Trump began to close in on the Republican nomination for the race for the White House, people have been debating the ethical implications of a Trump administration. And those discussions became more urgent and, in some cases, heated with Trump assuming office this year. Much of the focus has been on the ethics of public service during this presidency. Nine months have not delivered any sort of consensus. Is it ethical to serve this administration? Is it different for political appointees than civil servants? What about members of the military? Does President Trump force any new ethical questions?  Ryan Evans turned to Pauline Shanks Kaurin and Shannon French, two philosophers who focus on military ethics, to help us parse these questions.   
10/11/201742 minutes, 55 seconds
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Outlawing War: Did it Work Better Than We Thought?

Ryan Evans had the pleasure to sit down with Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, authors of the new book The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World. Remember that treaty you learned about in school that outlawed war after World War I - the Kellogg-Briand Pact? That's right, the one you laughed at.  Well Oona and Scott -- both of Yale Law School -- make a pretty strong argument that it actually worked far better than we all thought. And, in doing so, they make a good case that international relations scholars should take the power of the law more seriously. 
10/2/201721 minutes, 55 seconds
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Trump and Counter-Terrorism, Sixteen Years After 9/11

It’s been 16 years since the 9/11 attacks. We thought a good way to commemorate the anniversary would be to take stock of the terrorist threats facing the United States today and to evaluate how the Trump administration is responding. Guest host Stephen Tankel tackles these issues with an all-star cast of experts, including Victor Asal, Tricia Bacon, Mia Bloom, Dan Byman, Julia Ebner, John Horgan, Gary LaFree, Phil Potter, Jake Shapiro, and Joe Young. This wide-ranging discussion touches on radicalization, allies in the fight against terrorism, intelligence gathering, the travel ban, Trump's inflammatory religious rhetoric, the relationship between far-right and Islamist violence, and more.
9/10/201725 minutes, 53 seconds
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Our Big Texas Launch Party: UT and WOTR Join Forces

You've read a bit about our alliance with the Texas National Security Network, brought to you by the University of Texas. Now you get to be a guest at our launch party in DC, where we ate Blue Bell ice cream, drank Shiner Bock (and scotch, of course), and held an awesome panel with the hosts of Bombshell -- Radha Iyengar, Loren DeJonge Schulman, and Erin Simpson -- alongside Jim Goldgeier of American University's School of International Service as well as William Inboden and Paul Miller of the Clements Center at the University of Texas. Ryan Evans tried to keep this rowdy crew in line as they talked about the push and pull between academics and policymakers.
8/14/201729 minutes, 37 seconds
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So, Does the National Security Strategy Matter?

The War on the Rocks podcast is back with a big episode and an all-star cast. Hal Brands and Alex Bick of SAIS, Will Inboden of the Clements Center at the University of Texas, Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution, Colin Kahl of Georgetown, and Peter Feaver of Duke dish about the U..S. National Security Strategy, a report required by Congress meant to basically lay out how the president views America's role in the world and how he plans to exercise power. And having a bipartisan group of national security leaders around the table, Ryan Evans couldn't resist asking how they all felt the Iran deal was playing out at age two (yes, Ryan misspoke and says it's one year old in the intro - please forgive him).
8/7/201757 minutes, 13 seconds
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In Defense of the Blob

"The blob" — an unflattering nickname for the U.S. foreign policy establishment coined by a senior Obama official — gets a bad rap these days. From Obama to Trump, Washington's foreign policy elite are blamed for being too hawkish, relying on tired conventional wisdom, and generally weakening America's foreign policy position. In this episode, two members of the blob (along with a mystery guest) push back...over drinks, of course. Listen to Jim Steinberg, a former Deputy Secretary of the State Dept, and Frank Gavin, the director of the Kissinger Center at SAIS, defend the blob. Their argument? You don't know how good you have it. As a bonus, we also nerd out on George Kennan a bit.
3/9/20171 hour, 1 minute, 39 seconds
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Bombshell: Rage Against Alcibiades

This week, Loren, Radha, and Erin discuss the North Korean assassination (beware the perfume lady) and take questions from listeners (what is inter-service rivalry anyway?). Kori Schake joins to dissect the defense budget, H.R. McMaster's challenges at the National Security Council, Thucydides, and why she hates Moneyball.
3/1/201749 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Promise and Peril of Cyber Operations

In this special episode, Ryan Evans sat down with Ben Buchanan of the Belfer Center at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and in front of an audience! Ben and Ryan chatted about his new book with Oxford University Press, The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations. There were some great questions from members of the audience. Enjoy!
2/28/201748 minutes, 48 seconds
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Counter-Terrorism from Bush to Obama to Trump

How has counter-terrorism changed from 9/11 to today over three presidencies? To answer that question, Ryan Evans sat down with two guests with deep perspective on counter-terrorism: Colin Kahl was the national security adviser to Vice President Biden and, earlier in the Obama administration, was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East. He is now associate professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS, and a senior editor at War on the Rocks. He previously served as a senior adviser for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense. Stephen is the author of the forthcoming book, With Us and Against Us: America's Partners in the War on Terror.
2/22/201750 minutes, 8 seconds
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Is the Winston Churchill Bust Weeping?

In this episode, WOTR's Ryan Evans interviews John Bew about the state of the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom as the presidency of Donald Trump unfolds. How is Prime Minister Theresa May trying to manage British relations with the United States? Is Parliament making it easier or harder for her? What does Brexit mean for British power? Will Britain start to more seriously commit to a higher defense budget? Is the Winston Churchill bust in the White House a useful symbol of the special relationship (spoiler: no)? John tackles these questions and more, ending on a note of optimism on this most resilient of alliances. But that's not all! There's also a dash of Asia in this episode. Ryan called up Van Jackson, the host of Pacific Pundit, about the grand American presidential tradition of ignoring North Korea. About our guests: John Bew is Professor of History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He is the author of Realpolitik: A History and, most recently, Clement Attlee: The Man Who Made Modern Britain. John is leading a project on Britain’s place in the world for the think tank Policy Exchange. Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks. Van is the author of Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations. He is an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). The views expressed are his own. Please check out his podcast, Pacific Pundit.
2/13/201727 minutes, 26 seconds
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Bombshell: Ain’t No Party Like an America First Party

This week on Bombshell, we walk through the first week of the Trump administration. Sit down and listen to Radha Iyengar Plumb, Loren DeJonge Schulman, and Erin Simpson discuss America First, cabinet confirmations, Chelsea Manning, Wall of Stars + Hall of Heroes, re-organization of the National Security Council, and the immigration order. Stick around for our favorite podcasts and thoughts on Sherlock.
2/1/201749 minutes, 30 seconds
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You Can’t Always Get the World Order That You Want

Just an hour before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Ryan Evans sat down with Richard Haass in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. Given the momentous changes that seem to be underway, the topic under discussion was fitting: world order. Richard's new book - A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order - seeks to explain the origins of the current world order, the shifts currently underway, and how the United States should seek to shape the next world order. Ryan and Richard also discussed negotiating approaches to Russia and China and early decisions made by the Trump team. Richard, who served in four presidential administrations, ends by giving career and life advice to people leaving the Obama administration and others who thought they would be serving in a Clinton administration.
1/26/201731 minutes, 1 second
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Introducing Bombshell: The Explosive First Episode

Welcome to Bombshell.  This new bi-weekly series, brought to you by War on the Rocks, is hosted by three of your favorite Washington insiders who will dissect today’s foreign policy crises and tomorrow’s security challenges.  Our hosts — Loren DeJonge Schulman, Radha Iyengar Plumb, and Erin Simpson — will talk military strategy, White House mayhem, and the best cocktails known to (wo)man. In this episode, our hosts introduce themselves and each other before launching into a guide to what is going to face the Trump administration as it takes hold of the reins of power. If you're wondering about new appointments, how the new National Security Council could run, and possible crises that could erupt as soon as day one, this is the episode for you. The first two episodes will be on the War on the Rocks feed. Don’t forget to sign up for the Bombshell feed on your podcast app of choice (Note: Most apps use the iTunes feed and iTunes is taking their sweet time approving it. Keep trying).
1/17/201747 minutes, 59 seconds
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Is Asia’s Golden Age Already Ending?

If you follow international affairs, it often feels like you can't go to a lecture or read an article without being told that the world's economic and military center of gravity is shifting from West to East. Michael Auslin takes a different view in his new book, The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region (Yale University Press, 2017). We sat down at the Tabard Inn in Washington, DC to talk about it. Auslin argues that Asia's golden age is over and the region is likely to be approaching an era of instability when it comes to economies, political systems, demographics, and war. Our conversation ranged broadly from U.S. interests in the region, the state of America's alliances, China's anxieties, and President Obama's missed opportunities. We also preview a new series on "Reclaiming Realism" and I tease a new bi-weekly podcast we have rolling out early next week called Bombshell. Have a listen!
1/12/201739 minutes, 44 seconds
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He’s Just Not That Into You: Trump, Intel, and the American Presidency

One thing is clear about President-elect Donald Trump: He is skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community. With the aid of a bottle of bourbon, War on the Rocks assembled a top-notch group of experts to talk about what Trump means for the intelligence community. Our guests in this episode included Carmen Medina - a 32-year veteran of the CIA; David Priess - author of The President's Book of Secrets and a CIA veteran; Mark Stout - a WOTR senior editor, program director at Johns Hopkins, and a veteran of the CIA and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and Mark Zaid - a prominent national security attorney and the head of the James Madison Project.
1/5/201752 minutes, 13 seconds
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World Wars and the Craft of History

In this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, editor-in-chief Ryan Evans sat down with Michael S. Neiberg, author of the new book, The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America. Neiberg, an accomplished historian who holds the Chair of War Studies at the U.S. Army War College, covered a range of topics, starting with America and World War I,  the Treaty of Versailles, World War II, the use and abuse of historical analogies, doing historical research, and advice for young historians.
12/23/201622 minutes, 28 seconds
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Emails and Influence: Investigating Russia’s Attack on the U.S. Political System

Revelations over emails are going to be roiling this election season to the very end. This is, in no small part, due to a series of targeted hacks and leaks that cyber-security experts and the U.S. intelligence community have attributed to Russia. In this episode, we address this unprecedented Russian-directed information operations campaign targeting the U.S. presidential election and, indeed, the fundamental legitimacy of the American system of government. From email hacks to electronic voting machines, major vulnerabilities have been exposed and could change how we approach national campaigns forever, not just in the United States but in other democracies as well.  Think I am overstating it? See what you think by the end of this episode. I gathered together an all-star group of experts to help me figure out exactly how this all happened, including Dmitri Alperovitch of Crowdstrike, Ben Buchanan of the Belfer Center, Shane Harris of The Daily Beast, Susan Hennessey of Brookings and Lawfare, Michael Poznansky of the University of Pittsburgh, and Benjamin Wittes of Brookings and Lawfare (who throws down the gauntlet for Sean Hannity). Have a listen!   Ryan Evans is the founder and editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks.
10/31/201645 minutes, 9 seconds
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Around the World Over Drinks: The Middle East, Russia, and Big Issues for the Next President

In an "around the world" edition of our podcast series, Ryan Evans convened a top-notch group to discuss everything from Cuba to the Middle East to Russia to deterrence to China to personnel issues along with a whole range of big issues for the first 100 days of the next administration. Tune in to listen to Elbridge Colby (CNAS), Radha Iyengar (RAND), Will McCants (Brookings), and Bill Rosenau (CNA) talk about some of the world's most pressing issues with the aid of a few drinks. We also briefly remember the respected scholar and international security analyst, Angel Rabasa, who recently passed away. Image: U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret
9/30/201658 minutes, 26 seconds
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Civ-Mil Relations in the U.S. and Strategy Tales from Australia

In the latest episode of our podcast, editor-in-chief Ryan Evans sat down with Gen. Jim Mattis and Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution to talk about civil-military relations, the subject of their new book Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military. This is the first major study of civil-military relations in years. The conversation also turned to strategy, with Mattis observing that Washington is a "strategy-free environment" and that this is a problem that goes back through two administrations. Next, Ryan sat down with Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, to discuss his summer in Australia, where he was an Alliance 21 Fellow at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Fontaine was there to take an up close look at the U.S.-Australian relationship and hard questions related to American strategy in Asia. Have a listen!   Image: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Thor J. Larson
9/23/201634 minutes, 26 seconds
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Talking Turkey’s Coup: Erdogan, a Fractured Military, and the Gulen Movement

The Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul was closed down during the Gezi Park protests in 2013. This former symbol of Turkey's revered founding father is today adorned with large photos of its current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who successfully defeated an attempted military coup d'etat on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Some of you might have chimed into yesterday's live Google Hangout on Turkey's thwarted coup. For those who didn't and prefer audio to video, we've adapted it into an episode of our podcast series. WOTR's Ryan Evans spoke with Selim Koru of TEPAV in Turkey, Burak Kadercan of the U.S. Naval War College, Aaron Stein of the Atlantic Council, and Joshua Walker of the German Marshall Fund to try to sort through the violent events of last weekend in Turkey and the heated political aftermath. Listen here!  
7/19/201656 minutes, 33 seconds
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What to Read About the History of Strategy this Summer

What big think books on strategy in history should you add to you shelf this summer? Our editor-in-chief, Ryan Evans, sat down with two authors of two of his favorite books this year. First, he spoke to Hal Brands, author of the new book Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (Cornell). Hal has just taken up a professorship at the Kissinger Center at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Next, Ryan sat down with John Bew of the King's College London War Studies Department, author of Realpolitik: A History (Oxford), and interviewed him with the help of Iskander Rehman of the Brookings Institution, who reviewed John's book. (As a teaser for some of our nerdier listeners out there, I tempt Iskander and John into attacking American political science near the end.) Hal's book tells the story of how America understood (and often misunderstood) its own power from the 1970s through the end of the Cold War, taking us through the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations. In Realpolitik, John tells the story of this often misused word from its origins in 19th century Germany all the way through the Obama administration. Both books are sweeping, engaging, original, and readable. Have a listen!
7/15/201644 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Long Game: How Will Obama’s Foreign Policies Be Judged By History?

Is Barack Obama's foreign policy "failing at nearly every turn," as Speaker Paul Ryan and many other Republicans contend? Or has the president actually crafted a wiser, more effective approach to America's place in the world that sets this country up for success? Derek Chollet, a six-year veteran of the Obama administration, takes the latter view in his new book, The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World (PublicAffairs). Ryan Evans, WOTR's editor-in-chief, sat down with Chollet, currently at the German Marshall Fund, and Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, for an energetic debate on the legacy that this president will leave behind.
6/21/201650 minutes, 21 seconds
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A Tale of Two Speeches: U.S.-Russian Relations Through the Lens of Munich

We’re going to try something a little different with this episode of the podcast, and I think you’re going to like it. If you listened to our last episode, you know our focus was on the Munich Security Conference – a major annual event that hosts heads of state, ministers of foreign affairs and defense, thought leaders, and, this year, whisky-swilling editors like me. In this episode, the focus is Russia, and especially U.S. Russian relations. To do that, we tell a story that starts with Vladimir Putin’s 2007 speech at the Munich Security Conference and ends with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev’s speech at this year’s conference. Between 2007 and 2016, U.S.-Russian relations have gone from bad to good (sort of) to bad again. To tell that story, I conducted interviews in Munich with Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Senator John McCain, and Svitlana Zalishchua of the Ukrainian parliament. Back in Washington, I conducted more interviews with Elbridge Colby of CNAS, Matt Rojanksy of the Kennan Institute, and Michael Kofman of CNA and the Kennan Institute. Have a listen and let us know what you think about this new format.   This special episode of our podcast series is sponsored by American University’s School of International Service, which prepares graduates for global service in government, nonprofits, and business. Applications for Fall 2016 are still being accepted. Click here for more information on a variety of Master’s programs for mid- and early-career professionals online or on campus. Image: NATO
3/2/20161 hour, 6 minutes, 49 seconds
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Four Key Leaders in Munich on the State of the World

The Munich Security Conference brings together leaders from all around the world to discuss defense, foreign policy, and strategy - the bread and butter of War on the Rocks. It has been called the Davos of international security. Our editor-in-chief, Ryan Evans, was privileged to join the U.S congressional delegation to this year's conference. While he was there, he interviewed a number of key leaders and thinkers. This episode of our podcast series is the first of two to come out of these interviews and discussions. They are sponsored by American University's School of International Service. Listen here for Ryan's interviews with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator David Perdue (R-GA), and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is now the President of the Asia Society. They discuss the state of the world, American power, Syria, Ukraine, Europe, China, and more, offering diverse opinions and views informed by their decades of experience in politics, diplomacy, and business. This special episode of our podcast series is sponsored by American University's School of International Service, which prepares graduates for global service in government, nonprofits, and business. Applications for Fall 2016 are still being accepted. Click here for more information on a variety of Master's programs for mid- and early-career professionals online or on campus. 
2/16/201653 minutes, 50 seconds
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Hacking Defense and Iraq’s Controversial Security Groups

We have a two-parter for you in this episode. First, WOTR's Ryan Evans spoke with Steve Blank of Silicon Valley fame about his new course, "Hacking Defense." The class just launched at Stanford, but Steve has plans to proliferate it around the country. Will this course help change the way we approach national defense? Next, Ryan sat down with Basam Ridha Al Hussaini. Basam works for Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and was in Washington to talk to U.S. officials about the Popular Mobilization Units, a Iraqi security program that mobilizes armed groups - including sectarian groups responsible for terrible violence during the Iraq War - to fight the Islamic State. While these groups are controversial and - some say - too close to Iran, they have been undeniably important in rolling back the Islamic State. Hear Basam make the case for this program and talk about its future in Iraq, post-Islamic State. Have a listen!
2/8/201637 minutes, 14 seconds
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Journalism, the Military, and America’s Wars

The relationship between journalists and the U.S. military is simultaneously intimate and distant.  In the last several decades and the last two in particular, many things have changed in the way that journalists cover the military, but perhaps not as many as you think. Three defense and national security journalists of different generations joined Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks to talk about how covering the military has and has not changed over time: David Wood, the veteran, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at The Huffington Post Nancy Youssef, senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast Paul Shinkman, national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report Have a listen!   Image: U.S. Navy photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway
1/25/20161 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Obama Administration and the Middle East: An Insider’s View

WOTR's Ryan Evans sat down with Colin Kahl, the National Security Advisor to Vice Present Joe Biden, to talk about the mess of the Middle East and what the Obama administration is doing about it. From Iran to the Gulf states to Syria to Iraq to Turkey and beyond, Kahl explains how the White House views the problems and opportunities there. He also discusses what it's like to be in a presidential administration in its final year. If you like this podcast, be sure to check out our last conversation with Kahl about the Iran nuclear agreement. Image: USAF, Senior Airman Matthew Bruch
1/12/20161 hour, 3 minutes, 36 seconds
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Fighting Russia in Europe and a Dose of Military Fiction

We are trying something a little new with our podcast series. Segments! And music! In the first segment of our new podcast, Ryan Evans sits down with Claude Berube to talk about his new novel, Syren's Song. Ryan then joins Gen. Bob Scales to talk about his recent trip to Europe where he looked at the ability of U.S. and European forces to fight Russia in the event of a war. Gen. Scales expands on some of the concerns he expressed in the Wall Street Journal. Happy listening!
12/17/201544 minutes, 5 seconds
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Ash Carter: The Interview

How will the U.S. military stay competitive? This is about far more than platforms, bombs, and guns. It is fundamentally about people. And with archaic personnel systems plaguing the armed forces and the Department of Defense, our talented young men and women are being drawn away into the private sector in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter sat down with WOTR's Ryan Evans to talk about the Force of the Future initiative - a sweeping program of reforms that aims to bring the Department of Defense into the 21st Century in terms of how it manages its most important asset: human beings. TRANSCRIPT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RYAN EVANS:  Welcome a very special edition of the War on the Rocks podcast series, with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Thanks for making the time for us, Mr. Secretary. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER:  Ryan, thanks for being here.  Welcome to the Pentagon. EVANS:  We're here to talk about Force of the Future.  It's a program of reforms, aimed at changing the way the Department of Defense handles its human capital.  And you have just announced the first sort of tranche for these reforms earlier this afternoon. Personnel reforms are not generally considered the sort of sexiest topic out there, when you look at Defense, particularly when you're competing with attention in terms of issues with the Islamic State, Russia, what just happened in France. Why should the American people care about what you're trying to do with Force of the Future? SEC. CARTER:  Well, they care about having, in the future, as they have now, the finest fighting force the world has ever known.  That's what protecting them tonight; that's what's fighting ISIL; that's what is keeping the peace and making a better world for our children everywhere in the world. Now, we have, today, the best. In addition to using that wisely, as we do, we need to make sure that ten years, 20 years from now, since we don't know what the future will hold, that we have the very best men, also. That means attracting the people who are young people today to be part of our future. So, my job, as secretary of Defense, on behalf of our people is to -- both to deal with today's crisis and to leave behind me, to my successor and my successor's successor as fine a fighting force as it is my privilege to lead. And we're good for lots of reasons.  We're good because we have great technology, we're good because we stand for great values, we're good because we have lots of friends around the world, because people like working with Americans. But the chief reason we're the best is because we have the best people.  Now, you say this is kind of an abstract thing; maybe it is to most Americans, but I don't want them to think that way.  I want them to think that -- as many Americans, in fact, do -- how can I make a contribution? Many of them saw what happened in Paris over the weekend, and I was talking to a group of college students today, and I hope they're asking themselves, how can I contribute to making a better world? Some of them will join the military, but that's not the only way they can contribute.  They could join DOD in other ways.  And -- but I want to create as many different avenues as I can, to make sure that the talented people who are part of our future join our force. And the last thing is, Ryan, I mean, it may be abstract in some way to the general citizen, but for our millions of people -- military, civilian, and by the way, contractors who do a lot of our work as well -- that's what they do in life.  And they want to -- I need to make sure that they continue to improve themselves, keep up with the latest technology, get advanced degrees.  That they have opportunities to take care of their families, to have children if they want to have children. And that -- to the extent I can, consistent with military needs and with the profession of arms,
11/19/201519 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Vatican’s Cloak-and-Dagger War Against Hitler

In histories of the Second World War, the Vatican has not fared well. Pope Pius XII has been condemned as "Hitler's Pope" and the Church castigated for not doing enough to avert war and save the victims of the Third Reich. Enter Mark Riebling's new book, Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler. After years of painstaking research in the Vatican's archives, Riebling has a different and heart-pounding story to tell of the Pope's network of spies that fought to bring about Hitler's downfall. In this podcast, WOTR's Ryan Evans and Mark Stout (himself a veteran of the CIA) sits down with Riebling to chat about this amazing book that combines the rigor of history with the storytelling of a novel. His final verdict on Pius XII: "He wasn't Hitler's Pope, but he wasn't Anne Frank's Pope either." Listen!   Image: Public Domain
11/2/201527 minutes, 45 seconds
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Around the World: Episode 2

What's going on around the world? For our latest podcast, WOTR editor-in-chief Ryan Evans was joined by a great group to talk about Russia and its intervention in Syria, the Middle East more broadly, America's approach to foreign policy, the refugee crisis in Europe, the international economy, and Congress.  Our guests were Justin Johnson of the Heritage Foundation, Denise Natali of the National Defense University, Bill Rosenau of CNA, and Erin Simpson of Caerus Associates.
10/13/201557 minutes, 4 seconds
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Navigating the Islamic State Challenge

Will McCants of the Brookings Institution and David Ignatius of The Washington Post sat down with Ryan Evans to chat about the topic of Will's new book, ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. In this wide-ranging conversation, our guests reached back into the origins of the Islamic State and came all the way up to the storm of violence that covers so much of the Middle East today. Have a listen!  
9/24/201548 minutes, 3 seconds
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The State of Russian Strategy: Ukraine, Syria, and Beyond

Dmitry Gorenburg, an occasional WOTR contributor and expert on Russian military affairs at the CNA Corporation, sat down with Ryan Evans to chat about the state of Russia's armed forces, its campaigns in Ukraine and Syria, Putin as a strategist, and how one becomes an expert on Russian military affairs. Have a listen!    
9/22/201542 minutes, 33 seconds
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NATSEC2016: A Podcast on the 2016 Elections and National Security

Ah, the 2016 presidential election.  Trump still leads the GOP field, Hillary has been challenged in the polls by Bernie Sanders and the shadow of Joe Biden looms large over the Democratic hopefuls.  And whether it's the Islamic State, Russia, cybersecurity, or the politics of the Iran deal, national security issues are going to play a central role.  So to kick off our newest channel, #NatSec2016, we brought together  two experts from different parts of the political spectrum - Doug Ollivant and Mike Waltz - as well as Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post to explore the 2016 politics of national security. Have a listen and enjoy!
9/14/201546 minutes, 55 seconds
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Hacking the Defense Industry

Is the American defense industry ready for what is coming next? Can it adapt, survive, and thrive in an era of paradigm-changing new technologies? Can the industry maintain America's military superiority in the face of the U.S. government's stifling contracting regulations? What can the U.S. government and the defense industry learn from Silicon Valley? We brought together three experts - Stephen Rodriguez, Sam Zega, and Paul Scharre - the talk about how we can hack the defense industry. Have a listen!   Image: Dammit, CC
9/10/201543 minutes, 55 seconds
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America, China, and Xi Jinping’s Visit to Washington

In the latest installment of our podcast, we gathered some top Asia wonks - WOTR Senior Editor Van Jackson of CNAS, Evan Montgomery of CSBA, Mira-Rapp Hooper of CSIS, and Samm Sacks of the Eurasia Group. The topic? The state of U.S.-China relations and the major issues likely to occupy President Barack Obama when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to town. Have a listen!   Image Credit: thierry ehrmann
9/8/201551 minutes, 20 seconds
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A Relentless Conversation About JSOC

One organization has been behind America's most daring raids, from the deserts of Iraq and Syria to the hills of Pakistan to the jungles of South America. That organization is Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Ryan Evans, editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks, sat down with Sean Naylor of Foreign Policy and author of the new book, Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.  Have a listen! Image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul Peterson
9/1/201548 minutes, 42 seconds
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PODCAST: Infantry Combat from Modern Ukraine back to World War I

TM Gibbons-Neff of The Washington Post (and formerly of the U.S. Marine Corps) and ​Dr. Bruce Gudmundsson of Marine Corps University joined WOTR's Ryan Evans to talk about TM's recent reporting from the front in Eastern Ukraine through the lens of the history of infantry combat. Image Credit: TM Gibbons-Neff
8/26/201534 minutes, 18 seconds
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PODCAST: Drinking Through Naval History

In this week's podcast, navalists B.J. Armstrong and Scott Cheney-Peters joined Alex Hecht, the editor of the Molotov Cocktail channel, and Ryan Evans for a carousing (but responsible) imbibing of naval history through four naval drinks: grog, the rum flip, the daiquiri, and the gimlet. Have a listen and drink along with us! The recipes are below. Grog: 4 ounces lime juice 1/4 pound brown sugar 4 oz. dark rum 8 oz. water 2 sprigs mint Rum Flip: 4 oz. Gosling’s Rum 1 oz. simple syrup 2 egg yolks Grated nutmeg Daiquiri: 3 oz. silver rum 1.5 oz. simple syrup 1.5 oz. lime juice Gimlet: 3 oz. London dry gin 1.5 oz. simple syrup 1.5 oz. lime juice   Image: Wikimedia Commons. Illustration from the book "Songs, naval and national" by Thomas Dibdin, published in London, England in 1841. The caption is "Saturday Night At Sea," and shows a group of sailors amusing themselves while off duty by singing. The illustration itself is by George Cruikshank (d. 1878).
8/14/201544 minutes, 49 seconds
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PODCAST: Around the World, Ep. 1

At War on the Rocks, we are re-vamping our podcast series. We will be holding one podcast a week. The first of each month will be 'round the world. We will discuss the most pressing global security issues...over drinks of course. Have a listen! This week, we were joined by: Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies (all of his opinions are his own, of course, and not those of NDU, the Dept. of Defense, or the U.S. government) Justin T. Johnson, Senior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting Policy at the Heritage Foundation Afshon Ostovar, a Middle East analyst at CNA Mira Rapp-Hooper, the Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS Erin Simpson, CEO of Caerus Associates.
8/4/20151 hour, 19 minutes, 7 seconds
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PODCAST: A Novelist and a Historian Walk Into a Bar

In today's podcast, John Amble talks to August Cole of the Atlantic Council's Art of Future Warfare project and B.J. Armstrong, a historian and naval officer, about how we approach the critical task of forecasting the future of warfare. In the discussion, we examine the comparative merits of history and fiction as sources of lessons with which to understand, make predictions about, and prepare for warfare in the future. Somewhat sadly, this podcast's title isn't entirely accurate. This is one of those rare War on the Rocks podcasts that we did not record over drinks. I trust you'll make up for our shortcoming in this respect by imbibing on our behalf while you listen.   Buy August's book, Ghost Fleet, and B.J.'s book, 21st Century Sims. B.J.'s opinions, of course, do not represent those of the U.S. Navy or the Department of Defense.   Photo credit: k rupp (adapted by WOTR)  
7/28/201535 minutes, 6 seconds
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PODCAST: The war with China you’ve been waiting for

I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with PW Singer and August Cole to talk about their new book, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.  Yes, these two wonks wrote some fiction and it's an impressive piece of work. In Ghost Fleet, they bring us into the future - not too far away - and show us how this war could very well be fought, examining the social, political, and technological issues through the eyes of a massive cast of characters. The way they portray military technology and its myriad effects was, in particular, fresh and interesting. Listen to this awesome podcast (courtesy the awesome media team at the New America Foundation) here:   Image: Spike, Art of Future Warfare, Atlantic Council
6/30/201547 minutes, 17 seconds
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VP’s National Security Adviser on the Iran Deal: Colin Kahl Gives an Insider’s View

The deadline for a deal on the Iranian nuclear program is on June 30. Just weeks before the deadline, Colin Kahl, the National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, sat down with Ryan Evans to talk about the nuclear negotiations over drinks at the Jefferson Hotel's Quill Bar. Ryan lobbed every objection to the deal he could come up with at Colin. The result was one of the most candid conversations we've ever seen from a senior administration official on what might be a monumental event in the history of diplomacy. Have a listen!    
6/11/20151 hour
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PODCAST: National Security and the Schoolhouse

This is a very special Schoolhouse edition of the War on the Rocks podcast series. As many of you know, our Schoolhouse series is concerned with the intersection between policy and the academy. Is scholarship relevant to the policymaker? Is the academy preparing people to go into the policy world? Our guests grappled with these questions and more, telling their own stories of how they came be involved as scholars in the policy world, in the field in Afghanistan, and the private sector. We were joined by Frank Gavin of MIT, Erin Simpson of Caerus Associates, and Stephen Tankel of American University. Have a listen!     Image: Marcus Hansson
5/20/201559 minutes, 45 seconds
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PODCAST: War on the Rocks goes to Istanbul

Four members of the War on the Rocks squad ended up in Istanbul this week. What could go wrong? Afshon Ostovar of the CNA Corporation, Aaron Stein of RUSI, Joshua Walker of GMF, and Ryan Evans of your favorite outlet on strategy, defense, foreign policy, and booze join you from a lovely garden a stone's throw from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia to talk about the Turkish elections, the implications of the Iranian nuclear negotiations, Turkish-Iranian relations, the Syrian civil war, and Istanbul's best watering holes. Have a listen!  
5/7/201537 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Fog of Peace: Defense and Uncertainty

Editor's Note: I was honored to attend Professor Patrick Porter's inaugural lecture, celebrating his appointment at the University of Exeter as the academic director of the Strategy and Security Institute. Patrick is one of the most insightful and engaging scholarly speakers I know. Using Carl von Clausewitz and Hans Morgenthau as guideposts, he discusses Western strategic mishaps and proposes means by which states might navigate the fog of peace. Have a listen -RE     Image: GerryBuckel
4/30/201546 minutes, 21 seconds
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The State of the World: A Conversation with Lawrence Freedman

Yesterday, Lawrence Freedman of King's College London joined me for a conversation on the state of the world atop the ME Hotel's rooftop bar in central London, Radio. From the Middle East, to Russia, to China, to Britain's role in the world, the discussion ranged widely as we sat in the afternoon sun (an unusually lovely, breezy day in London). Have a listen!     Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982. His most recent book is Strategy: A History (OUP, 2013). He is a contributing editor at War on the Rocks. Ryan Evans is the editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks. Image: AlexLoves.com
4/29/201518 minutes, 53 seconds
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PODCAST: The Islamic State’s War in Iraq and Syria

This is the podcast in which War on the Rocks fixes the Middle East...ok, we kid, but it is a fascinating conversation with some of the most astute and informed U.S. experts on Iraq and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Have a listen!   We were joined by: J.M. Berger, author of the new book, ISIS: State of Terror (along with Jessica Stern) and a nonresident fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. William McCants, author of the forthcoming book, ISIS Apocalypse, a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. Denise Natali, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (her views do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. government). Douglas Ollivant, a senior national security fellow with the New America Foundation and a managing partner and the Senior Vice President of Mantid International. Ryan Evans, editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks, moderated with Lagavulin 16 neat in hand.
4/15/201556 minutes, 16 seconds
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Cybersecurity over Sazeracs

We got together a great panel of experts to talk all things cybersecurity, with a little bit of ClintonEmail.com and comedy troupes mixed in. Listen here to Jason Healey of the Atlantic Council, Shane Harris of The Daily Beast, and John Amble and Mark Stout, both of War on the Rocks, as they talk about cyber over drinks. (And yes, only Jason had a Sazerac, but alliteration won out over absolute accuracy. We trust you'll forgive us.)     Image Credit: Paul Hartzog, CC
3/5/201552 minutes, 16 seconds
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PODCAST: Asian Maritime Security and a Rising China

Last night, just hours before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address, Ryan Evans sat down with Mira-Rapp Hooper of CSIS, Bryan McGrath of the Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower, RADM Mike McDevitt (ret) of CNA, and Scott Cheney-Peters of CIMSEC.  Their beverage-fueled conversation ranged widely, from China's disputes with the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan to the balance of seapower in the Asia Pacific. Have a listen! Make sure you visit the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and read RADM McDevitt's latest report on the South China Sea! Image: Philippines Navy ship BRP Artemio Ricarte. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dave Gordon
1/21/201553 minutes, 24 seconds
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PODCAST: South Asia meets East Asia

Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund, Stephen Tankel of American University and WOTR, and Joshua White of the Stimson Center joined Ryan Evans to talk about South and East Asian regional affairs, including the complex web of relations between Pakistan, China, India, and Afghanistan. Have a listen and read Andrew's new book, The China-Pakistan Axis.
1/13/201547 minutes, 30 seconds
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PODCAST: Spitballing Offset Strategy

We recently sat down with the gang at the Center for a New American Security to discuss offset strategies. As you can see from the photo, we had all the important props one would need to plan how the United States will maintain its military technological superiority, including Star Wars action figures, a drone from Radio Shack, a model drone, a plastic shotgun, a fake robot, and - of course - a bottle of bourbon. We had a lot of fun recording this and we hope you have fun listening to it. Read more about our Beyond Offset series here. 
12/23/201450 minutes, 57 seconds
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On Strategy and Strategists

Editor's note: Recently, the Clements Center of the University of Texas at Austin and the King's College London War Studies Department held an important conference on the "special relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States in the larger context of grand strategy. Many WOTR friends and contributors were involved, including John Bew, MLR Smith, Kori Schake, Tim Hoyt, Ryan Evans, and --- of course --- Lawrence Freedman, who gave the final keynote lecture on a subject near and dear to WOTR readers: strategy. Read Freedman's Strategy: A History if you haven't already. And if you have, read it again!   Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982. His most recent book is Strategy: A History (OUP, 2013). He is a Contributing Editor at War on the Rocks.
12/4/201430 minutes, 13 seconds
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PODCAST: Naval and Maritime Strategy

Admiral Chris Parry (ret.) of the Royal United Services Institute, Bryan McGrath of Hudson's Center for American Seapower, and Evan Montgomery of CSBA joined Ryan Evans for a wide-ranging conversation on naval strategy, a rising China, territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, NATO's ability to project power in the Baltic and Black Seas, and much more. Have a listen and read Admiral Parry's new book, Super Highway: Sea Power in the 21st Century.   Image: U.S. Navy
10/21/201458 minutes, 6 seconds
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PODCAST: Asian Security – Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Confrontation with China

We sat down to talk Asian security at the Jefferson Hotel's Quill Bar. Our guests included: Dean Cheng, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Robert Haddick, an independent consultant for special operations command and author of Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific (Naval Institute Press, 2014). TX Hammes, who needs no introduction. With Ryan Evans moderating, the participants buzzed through a number of contentious issues related to Asian security including the ongoing protests in Taiwan, North Korea, tensions between South Korea and Japan, and whether or not the U.S. military is appropriately preparing itself for a potential conflict with China. Have a listen!   Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery
10/8/201447 minutes, 40 seconds
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Podcast: In Search of a Middle East Strategy

Some of the sharpest minds on the Middle East in town sat down over drinks to tackle some of the most troublesome problems in the world's most troublesome region. Have a listen! Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is the author of  The Rise of Turkey. Ryan Evans is the editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks. Douglas A. Ollivant is a Senior National Security Fellow with the New America Foundation and the Senior Vice President of Mantid International, LLC. Afshon Ostovar is a senior analyst at the CNA Corporation. Joshua W. Walker is a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project,   Image: Flickr, Argenberg, CC
9/19/201454 minutes, 37 seconds
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PODCAST: America’s Search for Security with Sean Kay

Yesterday, Ryan Evans sat down with Sean Kay over a couple beers at the Jefferson Hotel's wonderful Quill Bar to discuss America's foreign policy trajectory and Sean's new book, America's Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism.  This wide-ranging conversation covered every topic a foreign policy wonk could dream of: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, the Cold War, NATO, Russia, President Obama, Ukraine, the Asia Pivot, the Middle East, and more. Sean has insightful points to offer on all of these topics and more based on his perspective as a scholar of foreign relations and still recovering government adviser.   Image: White House
9/11/201429 minutes, 40 seconds
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PODCAST: Bourbon with a splash of counter-insurgency

What about counterinsurgency? At a time when all eyes are focused on the potential outbreak of a "conventional" war in Ukraine, Doug Ollivant, David Ucko and Ryan Evans sat down to consider counterinsurgency over fine bourbon (Noah's Mill, highly recommended). We recorded this podcast to mark the publication of an important book, The New Counter-Insurgency Era in Critical Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2104), edited by David Martin Jones, Celeste Ward Gventer, MLR Smith - who were kind enough to invite Doug and Ryan to Austin, Texas a couple years ago for a wide-ranging discussion aimed at re-assessing counterinsurgency. This workshop attracted the leading lights of the counterinsurgency debate alongside some fresh voices who have conducted some exciting original research. This book is the product of that workshop and it is the perfect text for any class on insurgency, counterinsurgency, and irregular warfare. Read it! And listen to the podcast! Other works referenced in this podcast include: Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History (Princeton University Press, 2013). Doug Ollivant, Countering the New Orthodoxy: Reinterpreting Counterinsurgency in Iraq (New America Foundation, 2011). David Ucko and Robert Egnell, Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the Challenges of Modern Warfare (Columbia University Press, 2013). David Ucko, The New Counterinsurgency Era (Georgetown University Press, 2009). David Ucko, "Counterinsurgency in El Salvador: The Lessons and Limits of the Indirect Approach," Small Wars and Insurgencies,24:4 (2014).
3/31/201454 minutes, 9 seconds
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Broken Mirrors Episode 5: The Operation of Intelligence in a Democracy

This is the second of a two-part podcast set on the concept, and uses, of Strategic Intelligence. In this episode, Marc and Tom discuss how intelligence functions within democratic societies in an effort to look at how a theory of intelligence can emerge.  Following up on the first part of the podcast, we look at what such a theory needs to answer before it can actually operate in a democracy. In the second segment, we sit down for a long discussion with BG (Ret'd) Dr James S. Cox, Vice-President, Academic Affairs with the Canadian Military Intelligence Association. After a 35 year career in the Canadian military dealing with Intelligence in a variety of settings, Jim completed a PhD looking at developing a theory of Intelligence that is truly interdisciplinary in nature.  In this wide ranging discussion, Jim, Marc and Tom tease out how such a theory can be built from the ground up, pragmatic operations of intelligence. For the full show notes for this podcast, check out brokenmirrors.ca   Image: Jo Naylor, CC
3/28/20141 hour, 41 minutes
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A Conversation with the Chairman: General Martin E. Dempsey

We sat down with General Martin E. Dempsey in his office to talk strategy, the profession of arms, military compensation reform, and professional military education. Interview Transcript (courtesy Federal News Service, Washington, DC): RYAN EVANS:  Hi, this is Ryan Evans with a very special War on the Rocks podcast.  I’m here with General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I have Jason Fritz, one of our editors at War on the Rocks, also joining us.  And we’re going to talk about profession of arms, which is, General, a big passion of yours, or one of your central efforts, actually, ever since you were TRADOC commander.  How much has your – did your experience joining the post-Vietnam Army in the mid ’70s, which sort of went through some similar challenges that we’re about to see now, shape your approach to profession of arms? GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY:  Well, you know, I think you’re shaped by the accumulation of your experiences over time.  So I entered West Point in 1970, and you know what kind of climate there was in the country in 1970 – not just related to the Vietnam War but related to just a whole bunch of social issues inside the country. So, you know, in that environment, the military had kind of lost its standing with the American people, you know, simply stated.  And so even as a very young officer, it occurred to me that if we are to live up to our – and especially as we transition to an all-volunteer force, by the way – it occurred to me that this issue of professionalism would have to become more prominent.  And, in fact, in 1998, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, I studied for a master’s degree and took as my thesis that issue. And in that particular treatise, if you will, I came to the conclusion that the single most important value in our long list of professional values was the – was the duty – was the value of duty.  By the way, I wasn’t the first one to turn that up.  You may remember that Robert E. Lee said that duty is the sublimest virtue. So that started me down a path of studying what it means to be a professional.  How is it different from simply a job?  What is it that we owe ourselves internally?  How do we hold ourselves to a higher standard?  How do we identify that standard?  What are the key leader attributes that define us?  And how do we deliver them?  And how do we make sure we know we’re delivering them? And so that’s the context in which I entered TRADOC, did some things there, did a few things as chief of staff of the Army, knowing that after 10 or 12 years of conflict we had gotten sloppy.  It’s not – I’ve said this before.  It’s not that the war caused this misstep, if you will, but rather that the tools that we had at our disposal, whether they were education, oversight, surveys, command climate assessments, fitness reports, mentoring and – you know, mentors and protégés, we had kind of broken – you know that – we had kind of broken some of those relationships because of the pace, and in some cases because of modularity, this notion in the Army, anyway, that you can kind of plug and play with units.  Well, you can, actually.  They’re very fungible.  But when you do that, you break the mentor-protégé relationship as you plug and play.  So we’re looking back now and looking forward as well.  That’s a long answer, but that’s how I came to this conclusion that it was time to take a very close look at this. RYAN EVANS:  That’s a good answer, actually.  And I know Jason, a fellow armor officer, experienced – I don’t know if, Jason, you want to comment or question based on what you saw. JASON FRITZ:  Yeah, I would agree, particularly on the issues of mentor and protégé issues.  I was in the first modularized brigade, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and, you know, we – going through the pains of transitioning to that model and some of the repercussion over the years with them.  I was a brigade planner during the surge,
2/25/201427 minutes, 26 seconds
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PODCAST: Contemporary Nuclear Strategy

Ryan Evans sat down with an august panel of gentlemen and a gentlelady to discuss issues related to contemporary nuclear strategy.  The guests: Elbridge Colby, Fellow, Center for a New American Security Thomas C. Moore, Defense Consultant and former Senior Professional Staff Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under then-Ranking Member Dick Lugar Stanley Orman, former British Defence official, our very own nuclear Yoda, and author of An Uncivil Civil Servant. William Rosenau, Senior Analyst with CNA Strategic Studies' Center for Stability and Development Usha Sahay, Assistant Editor at War on the Rocks and Director of Digital Outreach at the Council for a Livable World They discussed everything from Iran to submarines to the recent nuclear cheating scandal.  Pour yourself a drink and have a listen.   Image: SCFiasco, Flickr, Creative Commons  
2/17/201450 minutes, 32 seconds
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PODCAST: Cyberwar and Cybersecurity

Max Fisher of the Washington Post and Ryan Evans sat down recently with Peter Singer and Allan Friedman of the Brookings Institution to discuss their new book, Cyberwar and Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know.  It was a fun, wide-ranging, drink-fueled discussion at the Jefferson Hotel's Cabinet Room. Have a listen!   Image: Niklas Morberg, Flickr, CC
1/7/20141 hour, 5 minutes, 53 seconds
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PODCAST: Counter-Terrorism, Drones, Syria, & More

JM Berger, Will McCants, and Clint Watts sat down with Ryan Evans at the Jefferson Hotel to talk about a range of subjects related to counter-terrorism. What could be more appropriate for Christmas? Have a listen!   Image: Department of Defense
12/24/201358 minutes, 16 seconds
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Strategic Surprise, Intelligence and Terrorism: Developing a Tolerance for Disaster

This is the first of a two-part podcast set on the concept, and uses, of Strategic Intelligence.  In this episode, Tom and I lay out the actual, social function of Strategic Intelligence and look at it place in the long history of divination.  Strategic surprise, or intelligence failures, often are neither: a surprise or a `failure``, at least on the part of Intelligence Agencies.  What they often are is a breakdown in communications between the players involved; a breakdown that is often facilitated by a gross misunderstanding of what Strategic Intelligence can and cannot do. In the second segment, we sit down for a long discussion with Steven Strang, Director of Research and Innovation at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Steven is one of the top people in Canada when it comes to understanding how certain groups, mainly terrorists, communicate to their audiences and how this communication can, and should be interpreted by Intelligence agencies.  Steven has also trained many of the analysts working in the various Canadian agencies, and has presented world wide. For the full show notes for this podcast, check out brokenmirrors.ca Image: Jef Poskanzer Flickr
12/18/201355 minutes, 27 seconds
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PODCAST: Nuclear Strategy and the Cold War

Last night, I sat down to talk nuclear strategy with William Rosenau of the Center for Naval Analysis, defense analyst Elbridge Colby, Robert Zarate of the Foreign Policy Initiative, and Stanley Orman – a former nuclear arms wizard who saved the U.S. and U.K. nuclear arsenals from corrosion in the 1960s.  It was a fascinating discussion during which I learned a great deal about nuclear arms, the Cold War, and giants of strategy like Thomas Schelling, Herman Kahn, and Albert Wohlstetter. Have a listen and read Stanley’s new book, An Uncivil Civil Servant.   Ryan Evans is the assistant director of the Center for the National Interest and the editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks.    Image:  Free Grunge Textures, Flickr
12/10/201358 minutes, 56 seconds
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50 years on, can we still learn from JFK’s strategy?

Editor's Note: We are pleased to feature this talk by Sir Lawrence Freedman, which took place this week at the British Embassy in Washington, DC.  Special thanks to the King's College London Alumni Office and the British Embassy.  The event was a part of Principal Rick Trainor's final tour of the United States before he ends his 10 year tenure at King's.    Sir Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982. He became head of the School of Social Science and Public Policy at King’s in 2000 and was appointed Vice-Principal in 2003.   Photo Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House, 29 December 1962. President Kennedy is presented the flag of the 2506 Cuban Invasion Brigade. Miami, Florida, Orange Bowl Stadium.
11/7/201353 minutes, 54 seconds
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Broken Mirrors, Episode 3: Fear & (In)Security Theatre

"Nil terribile nisi ipse timor" In this episode, Tom Quiggin and I take a hard, realist look at the concept, and tactic, of terrorism.  In the first segment, we look at how the tactic of terrorism is structured, and how it can, and has, been employed.  At the strategic level, terrorist attacks are both rational and embedded within a narrative that supports and justifies them. In the second segment, we look at the operational processes of a terrorist campaign.  In particular, we look at how the responses to terrorist attacks can actually serve the purposes of the group using the tactics of terrorism. In the third segment, we talk with Mubin Shaik who helped to crack one of the major domestic terrorist plots in Canada (the Toronto 18), and is now involved in studying and working in the area of deradicalization. For the full show notes for this podcast, check out brokenmirrors.ca. Marc Tyrrell is an anthropologist teaching at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). He is a Senior Research Fellow with the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies.
10/31/201349 minutes, 22 seconds
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PODCAST: The War in your Wallet: The Real Invisible Hand

In this podcast, we take a look at a rarely discussed, structural vulnerability in advanced societies: the payments and settlements system. We first put this system in the historical context of economic warfare, then look at some potential forms of attacks, followed by a discussion with Michelle Couturier about possible local defensive measures. The vulnerability of the advanced economies to economic warfare attacks is increasing as we use primarily fiat currencies, the largest part of which exist in digital formats only with little to no reserves. At the same time, we have allowed the functioning of our local, national and international economies to migrate over at a complex network of computer systems of dubious heritage and stability. The central nervous system of our economy is now the international payments and settlements which is jointly run by a series of Central Banks and Financial Institutes. We focus the discussion on a simple proposition: what bankers are allowing to happen (consciously or not) at Central Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs) is far more fearsome than what terrorists have planned in the past. A failure of their jointly operated payments and settlements system would do more systemic damage to the advanced economies than any terrorist attack has done to date. This failure could result from an exterior attack by a state or group, an insider threat, or from technical failures in an overly complex system. For the full show notes for this podcast, and accompanying papers, check out brokenmirrors.ca.   Photo Credit: Mike Gifford, Flickr.  
10/4/201350 minutes, 11 seconds
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PODCAST: Pivoting around and around in the Middle East

Last night, some of  Washington's finest national security minds met me at the cabinet room in the Jefferson Hotel bar to talk shop.  Elbridge Colby, William Rosenau, and Afshon Ostovar - all of the Center for Naval Analyses - were joined by surprise guests ("surprise" because they didn't know they were meeting me for a podcast) Brian Fishman of the New America Foundation and Bill Braniff, the executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). We talked about President Obama's and President Rouhani's speeches at the United Nations, whether or not Rouhani's election means there is a real opening on the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian civil war, why the attack in Nairobi has gotten so much more press than the church attack in Pakistan, and what the Elizabeth O'Bagy PhD scandal says about the think tank sector's ability to "self-police." Photo Credit: B Rosen, Flickr
9/25/20131 hour, 26 seconds
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PODCAST: Broken Mirrors, Episode 1

Editor's Note:  War on the Rocks is proud to start featuring podcasts from its Canadian affiliate, Broken Mirrors. In this inaugural episode of Broken Mirrors, Marc Tyrrell and Tom Quiggin (me) introduce the podcast's foundations and discuss Canada/US relations. They then sit down with Ian MacLeod of the Ottawa Citizen and engage in a freewheeling discussion on intelligence and national security in terms of changes in journalism, the effects of technology, and the Snowden Affair (just because everyone else is focus only on Syria, it doesn't mean Canada has to be!). Why 'Broken Mirrors'? The number one problem with intelligence agencies and think tanks is 'mirror imaging.' We want to 'break those mirrors' - a good WOTR tradition - by taking a unique Canadian perspective on the issues. What is a 'Canadian perspective'?  Three values are at the core of our Canadians viewpoint: 'civil discourse' (including the concept of a 'loyal opposition'), bridging the gap between theory and practice, and an abandonment of rhetoric. Each monthly Broken Mirrors podcast on War On The Rocks will be split into three segments: strategic, operational, and tactical/current. In the first segment on this episode, Marc and Tom talk about what Canadians bring to the debate. In the second segment, we sit with Ian MacLeod who has 30 year’s experience as a reporter in the intelligence, national security, military and terrorism fields. The discussion occurs over several glasses of wine. In the third segment, Tom’s risk assessment looks at what damage has occurred as a result of the Snowden revelations. As philosophical realists (Marc is also a self-proclaimed 'Baconian Empiricist'), we want this series to apply the best technical practices from the broadcast community. We are blessed by our genius in-house producer Tim Reilly, who also has a background in national security. By using high end production values – ‘podcast best practices-  we aim to bring into the WORT community those that tend not to look at national security issues in detail. The idea of a reasoned and detailed discussion of particular issues is, as Ian notes, rapidly disappearing from the print world. We believe that our podcasts will deal both with the most important points as well as the in-depth issues giving the listener the 'fly-on-the-wall' perspective that is the hallmark of War On The Rocks podcasts.  Many people don't want to listen to a two hour podcast, so we are releasing the edited version (30 to 45 minutes) through War On The Rocks.  The extended material can be found on our site at brokenmirrors.ca. So, that's the story behind the 'Broken Mirrors' podcasts. Sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy
9/3/201339 minutes, 40 seconds
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PODCAST: Syria, Secrets, and Some Snark

Last night, Eli Lake of the Daily Beast and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a WOTR contributor, joined Senior Editor Mark Stout and me at the Jefferson Hotel, where we discussed some of the more pressing issues in foreign and security policy over drinks in one of their luxurious Cabinet Rooms: The impending attack on Syria and what this says about President Obama's foreign policy. Is there an Obama doctrine? Does the government keep too many secrets? Why? Since we had a journalist and a former CIA analyst at the table, this was a fun one. Good times were had by all. Have a listen.
8/28/201350 minutes, 2 seconds
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Podcast: Talking Terrorism with Pantucci and Simcox

On Friday, I sat down for a great talk over drinks with Raffaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and Robin Simcox, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.  I got to hear their insights into a number of emerging and evolving challenges in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, and more.  Once again, we were at the fantastic American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London.  Enjoy!     Photo Credit: Grant Williamson
8/19/201345 minutes, 14 seconds
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Podcast: War from the Ground up with Simpson and McInnis

Last Thursday I invited Emile Simpson and Kathleen McInnis to join me at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London to talk about Emile's book, "War from the Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics." After navigating the impressive drinks menu (priorities), we had a great discussion about Afghanistan, COIN, and the changing face of warfare. Have a listen!   Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk
8/1/201333 minutes, 52 seconds
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PODCAST: More Irregular Warfare Fun

This is Part Two of my session with Lieutenant Colonel Brian A. Payne and David Kasten of the U.S. Army Irregular Warfare Center (AIWC) at the Jefferson Hotel bar here in Washington, DC.   Did you listen to Part One?  If not, you missed out on bands in Haiti, coffee in Bosnia, training for human based skills, and lessons learned in war and over BBQ. In Part Two, Brian, David, and I talk 9/11 and everything (war) that came after.  Tune in for your counter-insurgency fix. Does COIN have a future in the Army? Tune in. Nothing Brian and David say here represents the opinions of the AIWC, the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense or anyone else.       Photo Credit: Cameron Russel
7/31/20131 hour, 2 minutes, 27 seconds
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Podcast: Talking COIN with the folks from the Army Irregular Warfare Center

I recently sat down with Lieutenant Colonel Brian A. Payne and David Kasten of the U.S. Army Irregular Warfare Center (AIWC) at the Jefferson Hotel bar here in Washington, DC.  This is part one of that conversation.  Brian is the Director of AWIC and David is its Chief of Interagency Coordination. Our guests show that irregular warfare was a dominant feature of American wars long before 9/11. It was a really fascinating conversation full of thoughtful analysis and war stories - over drinks of course. We hear everything from Brian's tactical response to a village band in Haiti to David not joining the French Foreign Legion and becoming a sniper instead. Listen! Needless to say, none of the views expressed by Brian and David represent the opinions of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or any part of the U.S. government.
7/29/201340 minutes, 35 seconds
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First WOTR Podcast: Bill Rosenau, Will McCants, and Afshon Ostovar

The other day, I sat down with War on the Rocks contributors Bill Rosenau, Will McCants, and Afshon Ostovar - all of the Strategic Studies Center at the Center for Naval Analyses - for a conversation that ranged widely from Syria to Snowden to the think tank industry. We were hosted by the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC. Listen here:
7/8/201347 minutes, 23 seconds