Dec 17, 2015
We are trying something a little new with our podcast series. Segments! And music! In the first segment of our new podcast, Ryan Evans sits down with Claude Berube to talk about his new novel, Syren's Song. Ryan then joins Gen. Bob Scales to talk about his recent trip to Europe where he looked at the ability of U.S. and European forces to fight Russia in the event of a war. Gen. Scales expands on some of the concerns he expressed in the Wall Street Journal. Happy listening!
Nov 19, 2015
How will the U.S. military stay competitive? This is about far more than platforms, bombs, and guns. It is fundamentally about people. And with archaic personnel systems plaguing the armed forces and the Department of Defense, our talented young men and women are being drawn away into the private sector in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter sat down with WOTR's Ryan Evans to talk about the Force of the Future initiative - a sweeping program of reforms that aims to bring the Department of Defense into the 21st Century in terms of how it manages its most important asset: human beings. TRANSCRIPT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RYAN EVANS: Welcome a very special edition of the War on the Rocks podcast series, with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Thanks for making the time for us, Mr. Secretary. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Ryan, thanks for being here. Welcome to the Pentagon. EVANS: We're here to talk about Force of the Future. It's a program of reforms, aimed at changing the way the Department of Defense handles its human capital. And you have just announced the first sort of tranche for these reforms earlier this afternoon. Personnel reforms are not generally considered the sort of sexiest topic out there, when you look at Defense, particularly when you're competing with attention in terms of issues with the Islamic State, Russia, what just happened in France. Why should the American people care about what you're trying to do with Force of the Future? SEC. CARTER: Well, they care about having, in the future, as they have now, the finest fighting force the world has ever known. That's what protecting them tonight; that's what's fighting ISIL; that's what is keeping the peace and making a better world for our children everywhere in the world. Now, we have, today, the best. In addition to using that wisely, as we do, we need to make sure that ten years, 20 years from now, since we don't know what the future will hold, that we have the very best men, also. That means attracting the people who are young people today to be part of our future. So, my job, as secretary of Defense, on behalf of our people is to -- both to deal with today's crisis and to leave behind me, to my successor and my successor's successor as fine a fighting force as it is my privilege to lead. And we're good for lots of reasons. We're good because we have great technology, we're good because we stand for great values, we're good because we have lots of friends around the world, because people like working with Americans. But the chief reason we're the best is because we have the best people. Now, you say this is kind of an abstract thing; maybe it is to most Americans, but I don't want them to think that way. I want them to think that -- as many Americans, in fact, do -- how can I make a contribution? Many of them saw what happened in Paris over the weekend, and I was talking to a group of college students today, and I hope they're asking themselves, how can I contribute to making a better world? Some of them will join the military, but that's not the only way they can contribute. They could join DOD in other ways. And -- but I want to create as many different avenues as I can, to make sure that the talented people who are part of our future join our force. And the last thing is, Ryan, I mean, it may be abstract in some way to the general citizen, but for our millions of people -- military, civilian, and by the way, contractors who do a lot of our work as well -- that's what they do in life. And they want to -- I need to make sure that they continue to improve themselves, keep up with the latest technology, get advanced degrees. That they have opportunities to take care of their families, to have children if they want to have children. And that -- to the extent I can, consistent with military needs and with the profession of arms,
Nov 2, 2015
In histories of the Second World War, the Vatican has not fared well. Pope Pius XII has been condemned as "Hitler's Pope" and the Church castigated for not doing enough to avert war and save the victims of the Third Reich. Enter Mark Riebling's new book, Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler. After years of painstaking research in the Vatican's archives, Riebling has a different and heart-pounding story to tell of the Pope's network of spies that fought to bring about Hitler's downfall. In this podcast, WOTR's Ryan Evans and Mark Stout (himself a veteran of the CIA) sits down with Riebling to chat about this amazing book that combines the rigor of history with the storytelling of a novel. His final verdict on Pius XII: "He wasn't Hitler's Pope, but he wasn't Anne Frank's Pope either." Listen! Image: Public Domain
Oct 13, 2015
What's going on around the world? For our latest podcast, WOTR editor-in-chief Ryan Evans was joined by a great group to talk about Russia and its intervention in Syria, the Middle East more broadly, America's approach to foreign policy, the refugee crisis in Europe, the international economy, and Congress. Our guests were Justin Johnson of the Heritage Foundation, Denise Natali of the National Defense University, Bill Rosenau of CNA, and Erin Simpson of Caerus Associates.
Sep 24, 2015
Will McCants of the Brookings Institution and David Ignatius of The Washington Post sat down with Ryan Evans to chat about the topic of Will's new book, ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. In this wide-ranging conversation, our guests reached back into the origins of the Islamic State and came all the way up to the storm of violence that covers so much of the Middle East today. Have a listen!
Sep 22, 2015
Dmitry Gorenburg, an occasional WOTR contributor and expert on Russian military affairs at the CNA Corporation, sat down with Ryan Evans to chat about the state of Russia's armed forces, its campaigns in Ukraine and Syria, Putin as a strategist, and how one becomes an expert on Russian military affairs. Have a listen!
Sep 14, 2015
Ah, the 2016 presidential election. Trump still leads the GOP field, Hillary has been challenged in the polls by Bernie Sanders and the shadow of Joe Biden looms large over the Democratic hopefuls. And whether it's the Islamic State, Russia, cybersecurity, or the politics of the Iran deal, national security issues are going to play a central role. So to kick off our newest channel, #NatSec2016, we brought together two experts from different parts of the political spectrum - Doug Ollivant and Mike Waltz - as well as Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post to explore the 2016 politics of national security. Have a listen and enjoy!
Sep 10, 2015
Is the American defense industry ready for what is coming next? Can it adapt, survive, and thrive in an era of paradigm-changing new technologies? Can the industry maintain America's military superiority in the face of the U.S. government's stifling contracting regulations? What can the U.S. government and the defense industry learn from Silicon Valley? We brought together three experts - Stephen Rodriguez, Sam Zega, and Paul Scharre - the talk about how we can hack the defense industry. Have a listen! Image: Dammit, CC
Sep 8, 2015
In the latest installment of our podcast, we gathered some top Asia wonks - WOTR Senior Editor Van Jackson of CNAS, Evan Montgomery of CSBA, Mira-Rapp Hooper of CSIS, and Samm Sacks of the Eurasia Group. The topic? The state of U.S.-China relations and the major issues likely to occupy President Barack Obama when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to town. Have a listen! Image Credit: thierry ehrmann
Sep 1, 2015
One organization has been behind America's most daring raids, from the deserts of Iraq and Syria to the hills of Pakistan to the jungles of South America. That organization is Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Ryan Evans, editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks, sat down with Sean Naylor of Foreign Policy and author of the new book, Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command. Have a listen! Image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul Peterson
Aug 26, 2015
TM Gibbons-Neff of The Washington Post (and formerly of the U.S. Marine Corps) and Dr. Bruce Gudmundsson of Marine Corps University joined WOTR's Ryan Evans to talk about TM's recent reporting from the front in Eastern Ukraine through the lens of the history of infantry combat. Image Credit: TM Gibbons-Neff
Aug 14, 2015
In this week's podcast, navalists B.J. Armstrong and Scott Cheney-Peters joined Alex Hecht, the editor of the Molotov Cocktail channel, and Ryan Evans for a carousing (but responsible) imbibing of naval history through four naval drinks: grog, the rum flip, the daiquiri, and the gimlet. Have a listen and drink along with us! The recipes are below. Grog: 4 ounces lime juice 1/4 pound brown sugar 4 oz. dark rum 8 oz. water 2 sprigs mint Rum Flip: 4 oz. Gosling’s Rum 1 oz. simple syrup 2 egg yolks Grated nutmeg Daiquiri: 3 oz. silver rum 1.5 oz. simple syrup 1.5 oz. lime juice Gimlet: 3 oz. London dry gin 1.5 oz. simple syrup 1.5 oz. lime juice Image: Wikimedia Commons. Illustration from the book "Songs, naval and national" by Thomas Dibdin, published in London, England in 1841. The caption is "Saturday Night At Sea," and shows a group of sailors amusing themselves while off duty by singing. The illustration itself is by George Cruikshank (d. 1878).
Aug 4, 2015
At War on the Rocks, we are re-vamping our podcast series. We will be holding one podcast a week. The first of each month will be 'round the world. We will discuss the most pressing global security issues...over drinks of course. Have a listen! This week, we were joined by: Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies (all of his opinions are his own, of course, and not those of NDU, the Dept. of Defense, or the U.S. government) Justin T. Johnson, Senior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting Policy at the Heritage Foundation Afshon Ostovar, a Middle East analyst at CNA Mira Rapp-Hooper, the Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS Erin Simpson, CEO of Caerus Associates.
Jul 28, 2015
In today's podcast, John Amble talks to August Cole of the Atlantic Council's Art of Future Warfare project and B.J. Armstrong, a historian and naval officer, about how we approach the critical task of forecasting the future of warfare. In the discussion, we examine the comparative merits of history and fiction as sources of lessons with which to understand, make predictions about, and prepare for warfare in the future. Somewhat sadly, this podcast's title isn't entirely accurate. This is one of those rare War on the Rocks podcasts that we did not record over drinks. I trust you'll make up for our shortcoming in this respect by imbibing on our behalf while you listen. Buy August's book, Ghost Fleet, and B.J.'s book, 21st Century Sims. B.J.'s opinions, of course, do not represent those of the U.S. Navy or the Department of Defense. Photo credit: k rupp (adapted by WOTR)
Jun 30, 2015
I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with PW Singer and August Cole to talk about their new book, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. Yes, these two wonks wrote some fiction and it's an impressive piece of work. In Ghost Fleet, they bring us into the future - not too far away - and show us how this war could very well be fought, examining the social, political, and technological issues through the eyes of a massive cast of characters. The way they portray military technology and its myriad effects was, in particular, fresh and interesting. Listen to this awesome podcast (courtesy the awesome media team at the New America Foundation) here: Image: Spike, Art of Future Warfare, Atlantic Council
Jun 11, 2015
The deadline for a deal on the Iranian nuclear program is on June 30. Just weeks before the deadline, Colin Kahl, the National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, sat down with Ryan Evans to talk about the nuclear negotiations over drinks at the Jefferson Hotel's Quill Bar. Ryan lobbed every objection to the deal he could come up with at Colin. The result was one of the most candid conversations we've ever seen from a senior administration official on what might be a monumental event in the history of diplomacy. Have a listen!
May 20, 2015
This is a very special Schoolhouse edition of the War on the Rocks podcast series. As many of you know, our Schoolhouse series is concerned with the intersection between policy and the academy. Is scholarship relevant to the policymaker? Is the academy preparing people to go into the policy world? Our guests grappled with these questions and more, telling their own stories of how they came be involved as scholars in the policy world, in the field in Afghanistan, and the private sector. We were joined by Frank Gavin of MIT, Erin Simpson of Caerus Associates, and Stephen Tankel of American University. Have a listen! Image: Marcus Hansson
May 7, 2015
Four members of the War on the Rocks squad ended up in Istanbul this week. What could go wrong? Afshon Ostovar of the CNA Corporation, Aaron Stein of RUSI, Joshua Walker of GMF, and Ryan Evans of your favorite outlet on strategy, defense, foreign policy, and booze join you from a lovely garden a stone's throw from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia to talk about the Turkish elections, the implications of the Iranian nuclear negotiations, Turkish-Iranian relations, the Syrian civil war, and Istanbul's best watering holes. Have a listen!
Apr 30, 2015
Editor's Note: I was honored to attend Professor Patrick Porter's inaugural lecture, celebrating his appointment at the University of Exeter as the academic director of the Strategy and Security Institute. Patrick is one of the most insightful and engaging scholarly speakers I know. Using Carl von Clausewitz and Hans Morgenthau as guideposts, he discusses Western strategic mishaps and proposes means by which states might navigate the fog of peace. Have a listen -RE Image: GerryBuckel
Apr 29, 2015
Yesterday, Lawrence Freedman of King's College London joined me for a conversation on the state of the world atop the ME Hotel's rooftop bar in central London, Radio. From the Middle East, to Russia, to China, to Britain's role in the world, the discussion ranged widely as we sat in the afternoon sun (an unusually lovely, breezy day in London). Have a listen! Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982. His most recent book is Strategy: A History (OUP, 2013). He is a contributing editor at War on the Rocks. Ryan Evans is the editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks. Image: AlexLoves.com
Apr 15, 2015
This is the podcast in which War on the Rocks fixes the Middle East...ok, we kid, but it is a fascinating conversation with some of the most astute and informed U.S. experts on Iraq and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Have a listen! We were joined by: J.M. Berger, author of the new book, ISIS: State of Terror (along with Jessica Stern) and a nonresident fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. William McCants, author of the forthcoming book, ISIS Apocalypse, a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. Denise Natali, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (her views do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. government). Douglas Ollivant, a senior national security fellow with the New America Foundation and a managing partner and the Senior Vice President of Mantid International. Ryan Evans, editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks, moderated with Lagavulin 16 neat in hand.
Mar 5, 2015
We got together a great panel of experts to talk all things cybersecurity, with a little bit of ClintonEmail.com and comedy troupes mixed in. Listen here to Jason Healey of the Atlantic Council, Shane Harris of The Daily Beast, and John Amble and Mark Stout, both of War on the Rocks, as they talk about cyber over drinks. (And yes, only Jason had a Sazerac, but alliteration won out over absolute accuracy. We trust you'll forgive us.) Image Credit: Paul Hartzog, CC
Jan 21, 2015
Last night, just hours before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address, Ryan Evans sat down with Mira-Rapp Hooper of CSIS, Bryan McGrath of the Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower, RADM Mike McDevitt (ret) of CNA, and Scott Cheney-Peters of CIMSEC. Their beverage-fueled conversation ranged widely, from China's disputes with the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan to the balance of seapower in the Asia Pacific. Have a listen! Make sure you visit the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and read RADM McDevitt's latest report on the South China Sea! Image: Philippines Navy ship BRP Artemio Ricarte. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dave Gordon
Jan 13, 2015
Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund, Stephen Tankel of American University and WOTR, and Joshua White of the Stimson Center joined Ryan Evans to talk about South and East Asian regional affairs, including the complex web of relations between Pakistan, China, India, and Afghanistan. Have a listen and read Andrew's new book, The China-Pakistan Axis.