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Irregular Warfare Podcast
49 minutes | 14 days ago
Pacific Gambit: The Role of Irregular Warfare in Australia’s Great Strategic Shift
Australia is undergoing the most fundamental strategic realignment since the Second World War, toward a focus on threats closer to home without reliance on the United States. In that context, what role does irregular warfare play in Australian national security strategy? What lessons does the Australian experience hold for the United States as they both transition from the post-9/11 wars to great power competition? David Kilcullen and Andy Maher join this episode to discuss. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
43 minutes | a month ago
Institution Building as a Counterinsurgency Tool: The Case of Colombia
In 2016, the Colombian government and FARC rebels signed a peace deal, ending over five decades of guerrilla war. What lessons can be gleaned from the case for the irregular warfare community? Former US Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker and former assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict Caryn Hollis argue that effective US interagency coordination, bipartisan congressional support, and a focus on building institutions and stabilizing the security situation were key ingredients to success in Colombia’s efforts against the insurgency. But more important than anything was that the Colombian government and population owned the commitment to resolve the conflict. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
41 minutes | a month ago
Competing for Influence: Operations in the Information Environment
Information in its many forms has become a significant component of national power—the primary medium of competition between the United States and its adversaries. Our guests in this episode tackle that subject. Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds is the US Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for information and Dr. Thomas Rid is a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’ School of Advanced International Studies. Both are experts in their respective fields, each looking at this competition from opposing perspectives—one as a practitioner focused on the employment of military information power toward US national security goals, the other as a political scientist and historian who has investigated the strategic use of disinformation against the United States. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
51 minutes | 2 months ago
Artificial Intelligence in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency
What role do information and intelligence play in counterinsurgency? How can artificial intelligence assist in tracking and identifying insurgent or terrorist activity? What are some of the opportunities and challenges of using AI in irregular warfare contexts? Retired Gen. Stan McChrystal and Dr. Anshu Roy tackle those questions and more in this episode. They argue that AI allows counterinsurgent and counterterrorist forces to aggregate and process massive amounts of data that illuminates and even predicts insurgent activity. However, there are challenges that come with this groundbreaking opportunity. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
46 minutes | 2 months ago
Breaking the Boom-Bust Cycle of Irregular Warfare
Where does irregular warfare fit within the framework of national security policy? Does the recently released Irregular Warfare Annex to the National Defense Strategy attenuate focus, or relegate irregular warfare to a policy afterthought? How can irregular warfare concepts become enduring elements of a comprehensive effort toward competition and conflict with US adversaries? Those questions are at the center of this conversation with two guests: Retired Col. David Maxwell, a thirty-year US Army veteran and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Mr. Deak Roh, the acting principal director in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism.
51 minutes | 3 months ago
Russia’s Wagner Group and the Rise of Mercenary Warfare
What role do private military companies such as Russia’s Wagner Group play on the modern battlefield? How should US policymakers and US and allied troops in conflict zones manage threats from armed groups when Russia denies their existence? Is war by private armies a rising trend in modern conflict? The guests featured in this episode explore those questions and more.
54 minutes | 3 months ago
The Practice and Politics of Security Force Assistance
When, why, and under what circumstances does security force assistance work? This episode focuses on best practices of security force assistance, along with challenges, realistic expectations, and the role it will play for the United States in an era of great power competition with guests Dr. Mara Karlin, author of the book Building Militaries and Fragile States: Challenges for the United States, and Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, commanding general of the US Army's Security Force Assistance Command. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
41 minutes | 4 months ago
David Petraeus on Irregular Warfare and Countering Violent Extremism
This episode features a conversation with retired Gen. David Petraeus. He served over thirty-seven years in the US military, including as commander of coalition forces during the surge in Iraq, commander of US Central Command, and commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. He outlines lessons he argues the United States should have learned from two decades of fighting Islamist extremists, explains how US dominance in the particular areas allows it to support partners against violent extremist organizations using small and sustainable footprints, and provides his thoughts on the recently released Irregular Warfare Annex to the National Defense Strategy and how irregular warfare is situated within the context of rising great power rivalry. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 General David Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military to include as commander of coalition forces during the surge in Iraq, commander of U.S. Central Command, and commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military, Gen. Petraeus served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a 1974 graduate of West Point and received his Ph.D. in international relations from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. General Petraeus currently is a Partner at KKR, a global investment firm, and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute.
52 minutes | 4 months ago
The Costs and Benefits of Unconventional Warfare and Subversion
What are unconventional warfare and foreign subversion? Will they be important in an era of great power competition? What are some of the second- and third-order effects when states use subversion to undermine their rivals? Retired Lt. Gen. Ken Tovo and Dr. Melissa Lee join the Irregular Warfare Podcast to discuss these topics and more. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
53 minutes | 5 months ago
Counterinsurgency in the Philippines: An Inside Look at Partner Warfare
This episode is a deep dive into insurgency and counterinsurgency in the Philippines, presented through the perspectives of two guests with many years of experience in Philippine counterinsurgency efforts. Dr. Joe Felter and retired Col. Dennis Eclarin discuss the history and evolution of insurgency and counterinsurgency in the Philippines, with a focus on US support to building effective counterinsurgency forces in both the pre- and post- 9/11 eras. Based on shared operational perspectives and collaboration on research—specifically an extensive micro-conflict database—they describe what makes COIN forces effective. They then discuss the implications of their lessons learned for counterinsurgency and security efforts around the world.
45 minutes | 5 months ago
The Pentagon Bureaucracy and the Human Domain of War
What is the human domain of warfare, and will it be more or less relevant in great power competition? Who should own it? What does it take to change how the Department of Defense thinks about war? In this episode, Nick Lopez and Kyle Atwell dig into these questions and more with retired Brig. Gen. Kim Field and Dr. Sue Bryant. The conversation goes beyond defining the human domain of warfare, as the guests reveal how policy changes are considered within the Defense Department bureaucracy based on their experiences. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
48 minutes | 5 months ago
Are Some Militaries Better at Counterinsurgency than Others?
Are the US Marines better at counterinsurgency than the US Army? How about the British Army? If so, why? If not then what else might explain success and failure in different counterinsurgency campaigns over time? In this episode, Kyle Atwell and Nick Lopez discuss these questions with Dr. Colin Jackson and Dr. Austin Long. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
52 minutes | 6 months ago
The Future of Irregular Warfare
In Episode 8 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, hosts Nick Lopez and Shawna Sinnott speak to best-selling authors August Cole and P.W. Singer to discuss how they see the future of irregular warfare and implications for policymakers, practitioners, and academics. The guests have conducted extensive research on how technology will drastically affect society, the economy, and all things defense-related. They use this research to tell action-packed stories, to include the best seller Ghost Fleet: a Novel of the Next World War and their recently released Burn In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by Ketsa Outro music: "Launch" by Ketsa CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
42 minutes | 6 months ago
Proxy Wars, Part 2: Opportunity and Risk in the Middle East
In this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, Shawna Sinnott and Kyle Atwell discuss the history and context of proxy and partner warfare in the Middle East with Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Dr. Eli Berman. This is the second of a two-part discussion on fighting irregular warfare through proxy forces. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
55 minutes | 7 months ago
Proxy Wars, Part 1: War Through Local Agents in Africa
In this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, Kyle Atwell and Shawna Sinnott discuss proxy and partner warfare in Africa with retired Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks and Dr. Eli Berman. Eli and Mark discuss the objectives of proxy and partner warfare, the tools available to influence local agents, and whether the United States should increase or decrease its military and diplomatic footprint across Africa in an era of renewed great-power competition. The episode is the first in a two-part series on proxies and irregular warfare. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
37 minutes | 7 months ago
Inside Insurgency: Nonstate Armed Groups in Syria and Iraq
In this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, Kyle Atwell and Nick Lopez discuss the inner workings of nonstate armed groups in Syria and Iraq with Dr. Vera Mironova of Harvard University and Dr. Daniel Milton of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The conversation is based on analysis of ISIS documents captured on the battlefield and hundreds of interviews with civilians and fighters on the front lines. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
41 minutes | 8 months ago
Irregular Warfare Oversight in DC
What are the mechanics and politics that determine how the US government approaches irregular conflicts? That's the question at the center of this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast. Hosts Nick Lopez and Kyler Atwell are joined by Mark Mitchell, former acting assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, and Pete Villano, who spent a decade as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee.
41 minutes | 8 months ago
Does Building Partner Military Capacity Work?
This episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast features a conversation with two guests about an important question: Does building partner military capacity work? Dr. Stephen Biddle is a professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University and served as an advisor to Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Matt Cancian is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former Marine officer who has researched Western efforts to build partner capacity among the Kurdish Pershmerga during the fight against ISIS. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
40 minutes | 9 months ago
Leadership Targeting and Drones: An Effective Counterterrorism Strategy?
In the second episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, a collaboration between the Modern War Institute and Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, hosts Nick Lopez and Shawna Sinnott speak to Dr. Jenna Jordan and Dr. Asfandyar Mir. They discuss counterterrorism, the use of drones, and whether targeting terrorist groups' leaders is an effective strategy. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
32 minutes | 9 months ago
What are Small Wars?
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 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 important questions about what are often called "small wars," including material covered in Jake's book, Small Wars, Big Data. New episodes of the Irregular Warfare Podcast will be released every two weeks. Intro music: "Unsilenced" by KetsaOutro music: "Launch" by KetsaCC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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