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Irregular Warfare Podcast

News & Politics Podcasts

The Irregular Warfare Podcast explores an important component of war throughout history. Small wars, drone strikes, special operations forces, counterterrorism, proxies—this podcast covers the full range of topics related to irregular war and features in-depth conversations with guests from the military, academia, and the policy community. The podcast is a collaboration between the Modern War Institute at West Point and Princeton's Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

The Irregular Warfare Podcast explores an important component of war throughout history. Small wars, drone strikes, special operations forces, counterterrorism, proxies—this podcast covers the full range of topics related to irregular war and features in-depth conversations with guests from the military, academia, and the policy community. The podcast is a collaboration between the Modern War Institute at West Point and Princeton's Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

Location:

United States

Description:

The Irregular Warfare Podcast explores an important component of war throughout history. Small wars, drone strikes, special operations forces, counterterrorism, proxies—this podcast covers the full range of topics related to irregular war and features in-depth conversations with guests from the military, academia, and the policy community. The podcast is a collaboration between the Modern War Institute at West Point and Princeton's Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

Language:

English


Episodes

From Little Green Men to Tanks Outside Kyiv: Irregular Warfare in Ukraine since 2014

6/17/2022
In this first episode of our two-part series focused on irregular warfare in Ukraine, we're joined by Michael Kofman, the research program director in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses, and Kent DeBenedictis, a US Army officer and author of the book Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’ and the annexation of Crimea: The Modern Application of Soviet Political Warfare. They begin by exploring how Russia conceptualizes and implements irregular warfare at the macro level. They then...

Duration:00:41:32

Plan Colombia: Anatomy of a Successful Counterinsurgency Campaign

6/3/2022
Plan Colombia has been described as a model of successful counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense at a time when large footprints in Iraq and Afghanistan have had mixed results. In this episode, we're joined by two guests. Alberto José Mejía Ferrero served as the general commander of the Military Forces of Colombia and has worked closely with American forces throughout his career. Dr. David Spencer is a professor at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the...

Duration:00:51:29

Digital Irregular Warfare: Cyber at the Tactical Level

5/20/2022
This episode explores how cyber tools and weapons are used at the tactical level within irregular warfare. Our guests, Dr. Trey Herr and Major Sally White, highlight some of the limitations of executing tactical cyber operations. They also provide insights into how information operations and cyber tools can be integrated together in the irregular warfare space for better utility and to influence target populations through both physical and digital effects. They conclude by noting that...

Duration:00:43:44

Little Blue Men in the South China Sea: Unmasking China’s Maritime Militia

5/6/2022
Since completing its terraforming and island reclamation projects in the Spratly Islands in 2016, the People’s Republic of China has shifted its emphasis to asserting dominance over the South China Sea. A key component of this pivot has been the expansion of China’s maritime militia—a force of vessels ostensibly engaged in commercial activity, but which in fact conducts operations in concert with Chinese law enforcement and military institutions to help the party-state achieve its military...

Duration:00:48:41

Digital Terrorists: Policy and Practice in the Online Counterterrorism Fight

4/22/2022
In this episode, we consider how extremists of all types have exploited maneuver space online, and what this means for efforts to counter violent extremism today. To do so, we're joined by Nick Rasmussen, executive director of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, and Dr. Daniel Byman, professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service whose most recent book is Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism. They discuss how the online...

Duration:00:44:56

Dynamite to Drones: The Diffusion of Lethal Technology to Terrorists and Insurgents

4/8/2022
From dynamite in the early twentieth century to drones, bioweapons, and private-sector satellite constellations today, lethal technologies are increasingly available to nonstate actors and individuals. At a time when states are focused on competition and potential conflict between great powers, the decentralization of today’s low-end technologies could equip nonstate actors, private companies, and terrorists with unprecedented irregular and asymmetric capabilities. In this episode, Professor...

Duration:00:48:29

COIN and Culture: How Important is Cultural Intelligence in Counterinsurgency?

3/25/2022
It has become axiomatic that cultural intelligence is key to success in counterinsurgency operations. But is it? This episode examines this assumption, exploring whether the cultural training we receive in the military is indeed the linchpin to success—or a red herring, even a harmful distractor, in the absence of coherent strategy. Why does cultural awareness tend to be absent at the strategic level, and does this really matter? Our guests on this episode, Sir Simon Mayall and Dr. Christian...

Duration:00:47:18

The Motivations and Methods Behind Russian Hybrid Warfare

3/11/2022
How do significant historical events and Russian cultural memory—especially those surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union—shape the Russian worldview? How do they motiviate Russia President Vladimir Putin? And what impact does that have on the way Russia employs hybrid warfare? In this episode, Shashank Joshi and Dr. Rob Person join to discuss these questions and more, including potential Western responses to an increasingly aggressive Russia. They conclude by exploring some of the...

Duration:00:49:04

Russia, China, and Iran: The Face of Competition in the Middle East

2/25/2022
Russia, China, and Iran have all been learning how to conduct irregular warfare from the United States, modeling their approaches to IW on observations of recent US interventions in the world. This episode examines strategic competition with these three states—specifically how it plays out in the Middle East. Our guests, Dr. Seth Jones and Rear Admiral Mitch Bradley, discuss how all three of these US competitors have used irregular warfare to achieve a position of geopolitical advantage over...

Duration:00:59:08

The Kill Chain: Why America Faces the Prospect of Defeat

2/12/2022
​​A fundamental change in warfare is occurring, one that risks rendering the American way of war obsolete. As China uses technology to enhance the primacy of its kill chain, the United States has pursued a method of war that is platform-centric—and could prove dangerously outdated. Our guests on this episode, General David Berger and Christian Brose, discuss the radically different approach to warfighting the United States needs to avoid finding itself completely outmatched by China...

Duration:00:50:38

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Enduring Lessons of Security Force Assistance

1/28/2022
What is the role of security force assistance in achieving national security objectives? Where did security force assistance work well in the post-9/11 era, and where was it unsuccessful? How did policy considerations differ from tactical implementation? And most importantly, how can research and experience from the past twenty years of war inform ongoing partner-building activities in a decidedly different Indo-Pacific theater? Retired Lieutenant General Larry Nicholson and Dr. Barbara...

Duration:00:54:40

Anytime, Anyplace: Air Force Special Operations Command in Future Irregular Warfare

1/14/2022
Irregular warfare is executed across all domains. In the air, the responsibility for IW falls to Air Force Special Operations Command. Today, the command stands at an inflection point in which it must prepare to compete against great powers while continuing the fight against violent extremist organizations. How must AFSOC change in order to meet divergent demands for specialized airpower? This episode featured a conversation with two guests who address that question: Lt. Gen. James C. Slife,...

Duration:00:38:55

Two Sides of the COIN: Good Governance vs. Compellence

1/1/2022
In counterinsurgency warfare, how can powerful states reform corrupt or repressive governments into legitimate ones? Our guests on this episode, Jacqueline L. Hazelton and Anne-Marie Slaughter, discuss this fundamental challenge and explain two competing models of counterinsurgency that take different approaches to it. The first is the good governance model, which has dominated both scholarship and COIN practice over recent decades. But the second, the compellence model, might actually...

Duration:00:44:17

The Future of Coalition Building and Irregular Warfare

12/17/2021
In the aftermath of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the country's chaotic collapse, it is easy to forget the prominent role that the United States played in building, leading, and sustaining a forty-nation coalition for the war effort—a task that required some determined diplomacy and a sophisticated understanding of what each country brought to the table. As the United States pivots to the Indo-Pacific region and the competition with China for legitimacy and influence below the...

Duration:00:55:52

Learning from the Past, Anticipating the Future: Organizational Change in Irregular Warfare

12/3/2021
hroughout history, IW organizations have undergone dramatic changes at all levels to meet the demands of new operating environments and threats. The book The Changing of the Guard: The British Army since 9/11 explores the difficulties the British Army faced trying to reorganize for irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. Simon Akam, the book's author, is one of our guests on this episode, and he provides listeners with lessons learned and key takeaways from the British experience that can...

Duration:00:40:51

Cyberspace as a Battlespace: Irregular Warfare through Bits and Bytes

11/19/2021
What is the intersection between cyber and irregular warfare? Should the United States consider cyberspace a typical or exquisite domain? How did the counterterrorism fight serve as a proving ground for the application of these emerging capabilities? This episode examines the character of cyber warfare—both in its relationship to irregular warfare and in its applicability to broader national security approaches—and features a conversation with Dr. Jacquelyn Schneider and Admiral Mike...

Duration:00:53:59

Special Operations Forces and Great Power Competition

11/5/2021
Will the role and capabilities required of special operations forces change in a geopolitical context characterized by great power competition? How will SOF balance enduring counterterrorism missions with new requirements to deter great power rivals? This episode examines those questions and more and features a discussion with General Richard Clarke, commander of US Special Operations Command, and Linda Robinson, a leading researcher on special operations forces and author of two books on...

Duration:00:56:37

What Have We Learned from Twenty Years of War?

10/22/2021
What lessons should the United States and its allies take from twenty years of irregular warfare since 9/11? What will the future of irregular warfare look like? Episode 38 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast is a recording of the keynote policy panel, featuring prominent scholars and practitioners, from the inaugural Irregular Warfare Initiative conference held on September 10, 2021. The panelists address these questions and discuss the overarching theme of the changing character of irregular...

Duration:01:12:23

On the Road to Jihad: The Role of Foreign Fighters in Irregular Warfare

10/18/2021
Foreign fighters play an influential role in Islamic extremist groups. They tend to be more violent, more committed, and more resistant to reconciliation than their indigenous counterparts. Perhaps most significantly, they act as vectors of extremism, moving between zones of conflict, and sometimes returning to their countries of origin to instigate acts of terrorism. Our guests on this episode, Jasmine El-Gamal and Nate Rosenblatt, have researched the problem extensively for almost two...

Duration:00:36:38

Information Operations for the Information Age: IO in Irregular Warfare

9/24/2021
When information can travel globally at the tap of a finger, irregular warfare professionals must contend with an ever-changing environment. How does strategic messaging tie into operations on the battlefield? How can we build a more information-savvy force? And how can information act as both weapon and warfighting space? Raphael Cohen and Brent Colburn join this episode to discuss these vital questions and more. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC...

Duration:00:46:49