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News & Politics Podcasts

The Modern War Institute podcast is the flagship podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Featured guests include senior military and defense leaders, scholars, and others who discuss the most important issues related to modern conflict.

The Modern War Institute podcast is the flagship podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Featured guests include senior military and defense leaders, scholars, and others who discuss the most important issues related to modern conflict.


United States


The Modern War Institute podcast is the flagship podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Featured guests include senior military and defense leaders, scholars, and others who discuss the most important issues related to modern conflict.




The US Army's Quest to be Ready for the Future

This episode features a conversation about innovation and the future battlefield and features two guests perfectly suited to discuss those topics. Maj. Gen. John George served as the deputy director of the Futures and Concepts Center and is now the commanding general of the Combat Capabilities Development Command. Mr. Jay Harrison served as Futures Command's first command innovation officer. As they make clear, the ways in which the Army is preparing for the future involve robotics,...


Security in the High Latitudes

In an era of renewed great power competition, what are the risks of that competition migrating to the Arctic region and Antarctica? How might it play out? What are states' key interests in the polar regions? How should we conceptualize issues of security and geopolitics in both areas? This episode tackles those questions and more. It features a discussion with Liz Buchanan and Ryan Burke, co-directors of the brand new Project 6633.


Proxies and American Strategy in Africa

The recent decision to withdraw seven hundred US servicemembers from Somalia offers a timely opportunity to explore a few important questions: How does the US military work with partners in pursuit of US objectives? And more specifically, what role does proxy warfare play in US strategy in Africa. Those questions are at the center of the discussion in this episode. (Note: This is a sample episode from the Irregular Warfare Podcast. If you enjoy it, be sure to subscribe to hear a wide range...


Scanning the Future Battlefield with Former Deputy SECDEF Robert Work

In this episode, MWI's John Amble speaks to Robert Work, former deputy secretary of defense. He describes his expectations for the future of conflict, including the role unmanned and autonomous systems are likely to play, how the way the military acquires new equipment will change, and more. Note: This episode was originally recorded and released in 2019.


Understanding Urban Warfare

This episode features a conversation with MWI's chair of urban warfare studies, John Spencer. In the conversation, he explores a wide range of questions. Why are cities so challenging for military forces? What steps can be taken to achieve a higher level of preparedness for those challenges? Is it possible to replicate cities’ complexity in a training environment? These are just a few of the topics he offers his keen insights on.


The Brain and the Battlefield

In this episode of the Modern War Institute podcast, MWI editorial director John Amble speaks to Dr. James Giordano, the Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at Georgetown University and Scholar-in-Residence in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics. Dr. Giordano discusses the rapid pace of advancement in neuroscience and neurotechnology—and what that advancement means for the future of war.


Pandemics, National Security, and Zombies

In this episode, Maj. Jake Miraldi talks to Max Brooks, bestselling author of "World War Z" and "The Zombie Survival Guide" about how he uses zombies in his books as a stand-in for the kinds of major crises that transcend borders and require coordinated responses, often with a military component. The conversation also touches on society's civil-military gap, the importance of creative thinking for military leaders, and more.


The Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is Giving Us a Glimpse into the Future of War

In this episode Dr. Jack Watling, Research Fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, discusses the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that has erupted since late September surrounding the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. He examines what we can learn from it about ground combat on the modern battlefield. Among other things, he discusses the saturation of the battlefield with a variety of sensors, challenges associated with electronic warfare, and the...


MWI Podcast: The Space Domain is Getting Crowded

In this episode of the MWI Podcast, John Amble talks to Dr. Moriba Jah, an aerospace engineer who has worked for NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory. He is now an associate professor at the University of Texas, where he monitors space and works to track thousands of objects—a number that continues to grow—orbiting Earth. Note: This episode was originally released in May 2019.


Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and the Modern Battlefield

This episode examines how special operations forces are integrating high-tech tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize their operations. Dr. Richard Shultz of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of US Special Operations Command, join the podcast to trace the history of US special operations forces' efforts in Iraq to adapt to the counterterrorism fight there, explain how these forces made use of data to enable a remarkably...


Command on the Modern Battlefield

This episode of the MWI Podcast features a conversation with Dr. Anthony King, author of the book Command: The Twenty-First-Century General. He explains how the way in which military leaders exercise command is now remarkably different from the way they did so in the last century. Note: This episode was originally released in March 2019.


Crafting a US Strategy for the Twenty-First Century

In this episode of the Modern War Institute Podcast, John Amble is joined by Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper, authors of the new book An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order. Amid global power shifts and a changing world order, as well as tumultuous domestic political dynamics and rapid technological change, they make the case that US success in the decades to come will hinge on policymakers' pursuit of openness as a defining characteristic of...


The Other Foreign Fighters

In this episode, we talk to American University Professor Joseph Young and the Brookings Institution's Jason Fritz about a phenomenon they've been studying: American citizens who traveled independently to the Middle East to fight ISIS. They interviewed many of these individuals, and they share what they learned about them and why they chose to go and fight in Iraq and Syria. Note: This episode was originally released in April 2018.


Competition, Conflict, and the Future of Irregular Warfare

This episode of the Modern War Institute Podcast features a conversation with Dave Stephenson, the director of the Joint Staff’s Office of Irregular Warfare and Competition. The conversation dives deeply into the role of irregular warfare in the current and future global operation environments. How does it fit into the notion of great-power competition? Why is a joint approach to irregular warfare, which brings together the perspectives and accounts for the capabilities of all US armed...


Security Force Assistance in an Era of Great-Power Competition

This episode of the Modern War Institute Podcast features a conversation with Col. Curt Taylor, commander of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade. The unit was formally activated in May, and he shares his perspective on everything that goes into creating such a unique organization. He also describes how SFABs recruit and select officers and noncommissioned officers for the advising mission, and what role advising has in an era of great-power competition.


Is Great-Power Competition a Strategy?

This episode of the MWI Podcast features a discussion with Ali Wyne. He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute whose recent research has been focused on great-power competition. This has become a framing mechanism within which to think about and plan US interactions with other actors. But is it a strategy? Have we defined what it entails, practically and considering all instruments of national power? The discussion tackles...


Women in Defense and Security

In this episode, four remarkably accomplished women in the field of national security join to share their experiences and observations on the evolving dynamics surrounding the vital contributions women make to US security.


The Robotic Revolution is Upon Us

This episode of the MWI Podcast features a conversation with August Cole, coauthor of a new book called Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. It’s a techno-thriller and a work of fiction, but it is also based on deep research and allows readers to examine the types of technologies that will increasingly characterize the future—from everyday life to the conduct of war.


Introducing the Irregular Warfare Podcast

The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a new collaboration between the Modern War Institute at West Point and Princeton University's Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. In this preview of the inaugural episode, hosts Kyle Atwell and Nick Lopez talk to Jake Shapiro, co-director of ESOC and Col. Pat Howell, director of MWI. The conversation tackles a fundamental question: What are "small wars"? Find the podcast on your favorite podcast app to hear the full conversation and subscribe so you hear...


How the Islamic State Happened

How did ISIS manage to take control of so much territory, imposing its will politically and inflicting an immense amount of damage? How should we make sense of its origins and evolution as an organization? And does a better understanding of the group enable us to anticipate what form it might take in its next evolutionary stage? This episode features a conversation about these and other questions with Craig Whiteside and Haroro Ingram, two of the authors of a recent book, The ISIS Reader.