Long-time listeners might remember that Martin E. Dempsey, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a guest on our humble show back in early 2014. In the next phase of his career, Dempsey has become a writer or, as he prefers it, a storyteller. He has a book out — his second — called No Time For Spectators: The Lessons That Mattered Most From West Point To The West Wing. From its stories about Cold War Germany to working for President Obama, Ryan enjoyed the book a great deal. He spoke to Dempsey about the book and all sorts of other things in an extended conversation.
As listeners of this podcast know, the Marine Corps is taking a new direction. The latest document to lay out this vision is Force Design 2030. The commandant, Gen. David H. Berger, aims to cut the size of the Marine Corps and let go of some legacy systems (most notably tanks) in order to -- in the words of a recent article in the Economist --- turn the Corps into "a commando-like infantry force with nimbler weapons: drone squadrons will double in number and rocket batteries will triple." In Berger's view, the Marine Corps must make these changes in order to work with the other armed services to deter the People's Republic of China, if necessary, or win a war against it.
Ryan spoke with Berger to get the inside story of these reforms, which he describes as being in their earliest phase. "This is not the end of the journey" he said, "but rather the beginning." And he calls upon more voices to chime in with criticism to ensure the Marine Corps is ready for the future of war.
Further reading and listening: