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A weekly look at the weapons systems and tactics that both endanger the world and keep it safe.

A weekly look at the weapons systems and tactics that both endanger the world and keep it safe.
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A weekly look at the weapons systems and tactics that both endanger the world and keep it safe.




Surprise! It’s President Putin All Over Again

Mark Galeotti joins us for War College’s Russian election special. The winner, Vladimir Putin, was never in doubt, but what’s the sham election all about? And what comes next for Russia and its relations with the world. And by the way, is there a Gerasimov Doctrine? No, no there isn’t. You can listen to War College on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or follow our RSS directly. You can reach us on our new Facebook page:; and on Twitter: @War_College.


Inside the Occult Neo-Nazis Killing People in America

From the Silver Legion to the Aryan Nation, the U.S. has had its share of fascist organizations but its never had anything quite like Atomwaffen Division. Grown and organized online, the group has been linked to five murders and a bomb plot in the past eight months. The group is so extreme that even prominent leaders of the Alt-Right have denounced it. This week on War College, journalist Jake Hanrahan takes us through what the group believes, what it wants, and what it might be willing...


The Double Agent Who Busted a Russian Spy at Hooters

In the minds of many Russians, the Cold War never ended. When the Soviet Union collapsed, many spies never came in from the cold and the intricate game of espionage and counter-espionage has continued to the present day. This week on War College, U.S. Naval intelligence officer Naveed Jamali shares his story about working as a double agent in the years after 9/11. Jamali posed as a Russian asset for years while passing on information to the FBI. He recounted the story in his memoir, How...


ICYMI: What's the Point of Nuclear Weapons?

This week we've got a blast from the past. Here's what we said back then: This week Thomas Nichols helps us understand America’s current nuclear strategy … or lack thereof. This August marked the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seven decades later, Washington and the Kremlin control more than 7,000 nuclear warheads … each. Not all of those weapons are active. The two nations have deployed some, stockpiled more and disarmed far too few. And those numbers are...


Iran’s Red State Revolt

Iran is at war beyond its borders in Syria, Afghanistan, and other places, too. It’s a bit weird to hear it, but our guest, Amir Handjani, explains that one reason they’re fighting is a very similar principle to what drives the United States: Fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here. But that’s not easy with an economy in shambles and protests cropping up where you’d least expect them.


On the Frontlines of Turkey’s Invasion of Syria

NATO’s second largest army has invaded Syria. Turkey is conducting military operations in Afrin—a Kurdish city on Syria’s north western border. Russia and the U.S. wait on the edges as the world’s most complicated war zone gets even more so. This week on War College, Afrin native Can Êzîdxelo and freelance photographer Joey L. walk us through the conflict, what it means for the Kurds, and what it means for the unending Syrian Civil War. You can listen to War College on iTunes, Stitcher,...


The Most Important Middle Eastern Country You’ve Never Heard Of

Yemen. Saudi Arabia. Iran. Syria. These are the countries that cross most of our minds when we think of the Middle East, but there’s an important actor in the region that we almost never hear about--Oman. Next door to Yemen and Saudi Arabia and across the gulf from Iran, Oman sits in the middle of instability and war. Yet it’s politically and economically stable, friendly to the West, and fends off Islamic extremism with ease. What’s its secret? This week on War College, Tom Orderman...


How Modern China Got That Way

Xi Jinping’s China tends to look at itself as a historical victim, an underdog fighting to roll back indignities of the past and prove its strength. Author and journalist Paul French has been chronicling China’s rise since the 1980s, but has also focused on understanding the development of the country since the Opium Wars of the 19th century. In this episode, French offers his view of how China’s past is informing its aggressive foreign policy now. You can listen to War College on...


DARPA Is the Disney of the Defense Department

Without America’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency there would be no internet, no GPS, no M16, and no Agent Orange. The mysterious group of scientists and soldiers created much of today’s military and civilian technology, but the average citizen doesn’t know much about them. That’s by design. This week on War College, Sharon Weinberger—the executive editor Foreign Policy—reveals the hidden world of the Pentagon’s mad scientists.The agency is the subject of her book Imagineers of...


Prestige Weapons Systems are Busting the Pentagon’s Budget

The Pentagon always wants more money and it usually gets its way. Between sequestration and the War on Terror, America’s military often feels like it’s stretched thin. The Navy says it needs more sailors to prevent disaster, U.S. nukes need upkeep to stay safe, and the Special Operations Forces need more and more support to do their job. Yet the American military outspends every other major military power on the planet and watch dogs constantly complain of waste, fraud, and abuse at the...


Will the B-21 Bomber Break the Mold, or the Budget?

It’s been a while since the Air Force built a new bomber. In fact, it’s still flying an aircraft that’s 60 years old, the B-52. The more recent B-1 and B-2 bombers were beset by problems during their development and construction, and are now long in the tooth themselves. So, here comes the B-21, still in its development stage. In this episode, we talk with retired Air Force General David A. Deptula about what the new plane’s mission and capabilities will be. You can listen to War College...


Untitled Episode

It's a blast from the past this week and Jason and Matthew get ready for 2018. Here's what we said back then: From Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica, few battlefields are as fought over in pop-culture as space. Which makes sense. Since the end of World War Two, people have looked to the stars as the next great frontier of both exploration and warfare. For the United States, the Space Race was about both prestige and gaining an advantage over its Cold War enemies. And since the Soviet...


ICYMI: This Is How Republic's Fall

ICYMI: This holiday week we're re-running the first episode of the new era! We'll be back after the new year. The Weimar Republic was doomed from the start. World War I left Germany in a precarious position. The Treaty of Versailles ended outright aggression but it also left the German economy crippled and saddled its people with a government they never quite believed in. Worse, it stipulated that Germany take full responsibility for the most devastating war in human history. This week...


Optimism in America’s Forever War

Martin Skovlund Jr. first went to Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. This year he returned as a journalist. His reports offer a sharp contrast to the main narrative about a place that’s been at war for decades. He sees some hope in the form of Special Operations forces, along with well-trained commandos and police units. But are these really signs of peace to come? Check out Skovlund’s excellent reporting on the War in Afghanistan over at Task and Purpose. You can listen to War College on...


Social Media Has Changed War Forever

War. War has changed. Anyone can keep up to date with the latest conflict on Twitter. Facebook is a great place to watch the propaganda game of entire countries unfold. YouTube amplifies previously marginalized conspiracy theories to millions. Everything is different now. This week on War College, we talk to author and journalist David Patrikarakos about his new book War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. You can listen to War College...


How a Medieval Battle Invented English Pride and Made the Longbow a Legend

On a Summer day in 1346, a small army of upstart British peasants cut the heart out of the French aristocracy. That’s the story anyway. The Battle of Crécy was one of the most important of the Hundred Years War. A British army led by Edward III faced an overwhelming French force backed by Genoese crossbowmen. The French outnumbered the British two to one, had the initiative, and attacked in its own territory. The British won, killed hundreds of French nobles, and showed the world a new...


ICYMI: Talking About Russian Propaganda in 2015

As Jason and Matthew sleep off their holiday induced Turkey Comas, War College presents an episode from the early days of the show. Here’s what we said back then— The media in Russia is lively, often entertaining and largely state controlled. Still, an illusion of freedom remains key for the Kremlin to maintain its grasp over a country that spans 11 time zones. In this episode of War College, we look at how Russian president Vladimir Putin crafts his message for both internal and...


America’s Secret Nuclear Upgrades

If you just look at the number of warheads, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is a small fraction of the size it was during the Cold War. But is that even the right measure anymore? This week on War College, Reuters’ Scott Paltrow discusses a special report the wire service will release this week. Paltrow’s investigation discovered vast improvements to bombs whose names have stayed the same as their power increased tenfold, and weapons with adjustable yields that could lead to the ultimate...


A Deadly Warrior’s Peaceful Homecoming

War is hell and the people who fight often have a hard time coming home. Kevin Lacz didn’t. Lacz is a former U.S. Navy SEAL who served alongside Chris Kyle in the battle of Ramadi. He survived, came home, and thrived. He’s written books, spoken to crowds, and even played himself in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. This week on War College, Lacz tells us what it’s like to go to war, what it’s like to want to kill people, and how to turn off the warrior when you come home. You can listen...


The Apocalyptic Religion of Stalin’s Russia

Joseph Stalin’s Bolsheviks were atheists. At least in the traditional sense. But that didn’t mean they didn’t believe in prophecy. In fact, it was prophecy that guided their nearly every action. If people would just obey the rules of communism, peace, prosperity, justice and brotherhood would grow from the soil and be mass produced in the factories. So, what happens when a decade passes and the Bolshevik bible has no answers? Blood. You can listen to War College on iTunes, Stitcher,...


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