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Training the Military for the Next War

with Usha Sahay, Jennifer McArdle, Jacquelyn Schneider, and Tanya Estes (all in system except Tanya) 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...


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...


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...


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...


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,...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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. Produced by Tre Hester


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. Produced by Tre Hester


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...


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...


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...


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....


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...


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,...


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...


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...


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...