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War on the Rocks

Great discussions with security, defense, and foreign policy experts recorded over drinks.
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Now displaying: November, 2015
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
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