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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: 2023
Dec 22, 2023

Nick Danforth sat down with Steven Cook, Joyce Karam, and Faysal Itani to discuss how the war in Gaza will impact Israel’s relations with the Gulf and American interests in the Middle East. Among other topics, they debated the future of the Abraham Accords and what options, if any, exist for governing post-war Gaza.

Nov 30, 2023

TechCrunch Disrupt hosted Ryan and a top-notch panel for a conversation on the increasing importance of commercial stakeholders in the exercise of military power in and from space. It features John Plumb, the first assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Mandy Vaughn, the CEO and founder of GXO, Inc.; and Gen. James H. Dickinson, the commander of U.S. Space Command. Listen to their discussion, which was recorded in September. Thanks to TechCrunch for allowing us to use this recording.

 

Nov 21, 2023

Ryan and Mike Kofman discuss the state of the war before turning to various other issues including important tactical adaptations since the start of summer, why Washington's theory of its involvement in this war is fundamentally "unworkable" due to a lack of military observers in country, the various meanings of "stalemate," and the big picture for next year.

Nov 20, 2023

Nick sat down in Tokyo last week with Satoru Mori and Yasuhiro Izumikawa to discuss the evolution of Japan’s threat perceptions and defense planning. They also shared their thoughts on how Japan views the challenge posed by China, a potential Taiwan scenario, and the current conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.

Nov 14, 2023

The title says it all! If you missed episodes of our show "Net Assessment" over the summer and fall, you aren't alone. Zack Cooper, Melanie Marlow, and Christopher Preble join Ryan for a discussion about the show, about what's happening in the world, and what we can expect from Net when it comes back next month.

Nov 6, 2023

Now that the offensive launched by Ukrainian forces is possibly in the process of petering out,  Mike Kofman shares some of his exploratory thoughts on where Ukraine stands and what 2024 might look like.

Oct 31, 2023

Continuing our series of conversations about issues at the intersection of defense and capital, Ryan chatted with Raj Shah of Shield Capital last month in San Francisco. From his service in the Air Force flying F-16s to his time as an entrepreneur to the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental to his current work in venture capital, Shah has been a critical player in trying to maintain and grow the U.S. military's technological advantages.

Oct 25, 2023

Ryan spoke with the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, about a range of issues from his forthcoming planning guidance to the future of force design to personnel and safety and beyond.

Oct 18, 2023

Ryan sat down with Mike to discuss the Russo-Ukrainian war, Russia’s effort to seize the initiative before winter begins, Moscow’s turn to North Korea for artillery shells, the challenges the Ukrainian military may face next year, the Biden administration’s failure to provide certain weapons to Ukraine quickly, and the state of the Russian military. Mike and Ryan close with a conversation about the need to be forward-looking about the conflict, given that the Russian defense industry has increased its rate of production, which will require the United States, its European allies, and Ukraine to plan for continued combat in the future.

Oct 13, 2023

Ryan sat down with John Amble of the Modern War Institute to unpack the challenges Israel is likely to face in Gaza; Israel's world-renowned urban warfare training facilities; comparisons with other battles in cities such as those that took place in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Mosul; and how the initial Hamas attack overwhelmed Israel's preparations to defend itself. John and Ryan close by reflecting on how three Islamist militant groups have shocked the world and armies that were, on paper, better prepared than they were: the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State in Iraq, and now Hamas in Israel and Gaza.

Oct 11, 2023

Welcome to a sneak peek of Thinking the Unthinkable, our newest members-only podcast. We are previewing this members-only podcast on this feed for free.  This members-only show features in-depth analysis and insight on the perils of a new nuclear age and is hosted by Ankit Panda. Expect Ankit to challenge views on nuclear weapons, deterrence, and explore the future of arms control. This show will come out bi-weekly for War on the Rocks members.

If you like what you hear, consider joining War on the Rocks Platinum, where you can hear all of Ankit's future podcasts, along with the Russia Contingency with Michael Kofman and a slew of other podcasts and newsletters focused on national security. Join our tribe today to gain access to War on the Rocks Platinum.

 

Oct 9, 2023

Ryan sat down with Bruce Hoffman, the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations, to discuss Hamas' terror attack over the weekend. The conversation touched on the intelligence failure before the attack, Hamas' history of terror attacks in the region, the role of Iran, and the likelihood of a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. This conversation was recorded on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

Oct 5, 2023

Nick sat down with Evan Medeiros, Thomas Shugart and Emily Weinstein to take stock of where U.S.-Chinese relations stand today and where they might be going. Can President Biden’s diplomatic push pay off? How will Taiwan’s elections and Beijing’s internal shakeup change the equation? What lessons is President Xi Jinping actually learning from the invasion of Ukraine? And can the U.S. and China ultimately find a stable floor for their bilateral relationship or are they headed toward conflict?

Sep 28, 2023

Nick and Mike sat down for an in-depth discussion of what it would take for Ukraine to achieve a true breakthrough against Russian forces. Mike also evaluated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to Washington, D.C., Ukraine’s strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters and the potential impact of ATACMS.

 

Sep 27, 2023

Ryan was happy to welcome back Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson and Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos onto the show. These Air Force leaders lead Air Education and Training Command and Air University, respectively, the latter of which is a major component of the former. As such, they work together all the time (and aren't dueling, but fun title right?). In this episode, they speak to Ryan about what they and their teams are doing to ensure the U.S. Air Force is trained at the highest level possible in order to ensure readiness.

Robinson was on the show last year about related topics. And this is Tullos' third appearance on the show, and she has also appeared on Unspent Rounds.

Sep 18, 2023

Ryan sat down at the War on the Rocks office with Adm. Sir Antony Radakin, the professional head of the United Kingdom's military. The two discussed the United Kingdom's support for the Ukrainian military, the lessons learned from the conflict and the challenges Russia is now facing. The conversation then pivoted to the future of the British military, the plans for global force presence and Adm. Radakin's perspective on the status of AUKUS.

Sep 8, 2023

Nick Danforth sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the state of the Ukrainain offensive three months in, as well as the challenges of assessing it. Mike also explained why he, as an analyst, was particularly pleased to have Yevgeny Prigozhin out of the picture. The two discussed Mike's recent co-authored piece with Rob Lee, "Perseverance and Adaptation: Ukraine's Counteroffensive at Three Months," and how the findings were similar to Jack Watling and  Nick Reynold's latest report for RUSI, Stormbreak: Fighting Through Russian Defences in Ukraine’s 2023 Offensive.

Aug 31, 2023

On this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, deputy assistant to U.S. President Joe Biden, Joshua Geltzer, sat down with Nicholas Danforth to discuss the administration’s case for the reauthorization of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They discussed the act's role in a changing threat environment, challenges in Congress and potential avenues to mitigate civil liberties concerns.

Aug 25, 2023

On this special preview of the Russia Contingency, Mike sat down with Stephen Kotkin, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The conversation touched on the latest news from the Ukrainian offensive, examined lessons learned from observing the conflict and explored the Ukrainian definition of victory in the war. Parts two and three of this conversation are available exclusively on the Russia ContingencySign up today.

Aug 22, 2023

On this episode, Nick sits down with Mike to discuss Ukraine's ongoing offensive. The conversation discussed the latest from Ukraine's three axes of advance. The two also covered the latest reports from both the Washington Post and the New York Times focused on the U.S. government's growing pessimism about the offensive, as well as how to judge Ukrainian military action. Mike also examined the latest news from the Black Sea, Russia's recent boarding of a ship operating in the area, and the feasibility of Russia using its Navy to interdict civilian ships there.

Aug 3, 2023

Ryan and Mike finally found themselves in the same locale after heavy travel and sat down for a in-depth conversation on Ukraine's offensive, how we got here, and what might be coming next.

Jul 27, 2023

Aaron sat down with Mike to discuss the Ukrainian counteroffensive and where things stand along the three axes of advance. The two discussed the state of the Ukrainian armed forces, the units committed to the fight, Russia's well-prepared defense and whether the offensive is at an inflection point. 

Jul 21, 2023

To mark the tenth anniversary of War on the Rocks, Philip D. Zelikow did us the honor of interviewing Ryan on the origin story of War on the Rocks, where it's gone from there, and where it is going next. 

Jul 20, 2023

On this special sneak peak of the Russia Contingency, Mike sat down with Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, to discuss the findings from their recent research trip to Ukraine. The conversation covered Russian defensive lines, the role that mines have played in stymying Ukraine's counteroffensive, and the broader challenges the Ukrainian military has with scaling offensive operations. To listen to part 2 of this episode, as well as a series of conversations about the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the Russian military, sign up today to become a member of War on The Rocks.

Jul 11, 2023

On this sneak-peak episode of the Russia Contingency, Aaron sat down with Mike Kofman to discuss the state of the Ukrainian military's offensive, the different axes of advance and what the offensive may be able to tell observers about the direction of the conflict. Listeners will get to hear the first 20 minutes of the conversation. To hear the rest, which examined the recent debates in Russia about nuclear weapons use and looked back at Yevgeny Prighozin's mutiny, please consider becoming a War on the Rocks member.

 

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