The Modern War Institute Podcast

The podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. We'll discuss tactical, operational, and strategic trends for the benefit of the United States Corps of Cadets as well as Army leaders and security professionals. Follow the Modern War Institute on Facebook, Twitter (@warinstitute), Instagram, and on the War Council Blog at
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May 22, 2018

This episode features a conversation with Dr. Amy Kruse, chief scientific officer at the Platypus Institute. She discusses "Human 2.0," a concept she describes a vision of where humans are headed in terms of cognitive performance. She also describes how this concept overlays on what we know about the cognitive demands of war.

May 8, 2018

Paul Scharre is the author of Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. In this episode, he talks about the state of development of artificial intelligence and autonomy, and how it and future advancements will change the way in which we fight wars.

Apr 24, 2018

This episode features a conversation with Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. He discusses everything from modernization and what that means for soldiers in the operational Army to the recently announced Army Futures Command and what role it will have in preparing the Army for a changing operational environment characterized by a diverse set of threats.

Apr 11, 2018

In this episode, we talk to Joseph Young and Jason Fritz of American University's School of Public Affairs about a phenomenon they've been studying: private Americans who traveled to the Middle East to fight ISIS. They interviewed many of these individuals, and they share what they learned about them and why they chose to go and fight in Iraq and Syria.

Mar 29, 2018

In this episode, we speak to Elsa Kania, whose research is at the forefront of efforts to better understand the way China approaches innovation and military technology. From artificial intelligence to automation to railgun technology, we discuss Chinese technological priorities and how they overlay on its strategic objectives.

Mar 14, 2018

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper has an important set of priorities for the Army. In this episode of the MWI Podcast, he discusses those priorities, and explains how his experience as an Army officer on active duty and in the reserve components informs the perspective he brings to his job as the senior civilian overseeing the US military's largest branch.

Feb 28, 2018

In this episode, retired US Army Col. Steve Banach talks about "virtual war," which he argues is transforming the way conflict plays out. He discusses the hallmarks of the concept, and explains why it requires us to fundamentally rethink the mental models we use to understand war.

Feb 13, 2018

Last summer, Iraq's prime minister declared victory in the long battle to retake Mosul from ISIS. The Iraqi security forces who fought there did so with the help of a US brigade commanded by Col. Pat Work. In this episode, he talks about the battle, what he learned from it, and how it should inform the way we fight in the future.

Feb 1, 2018

In this episode, John Amble is joined by retired Maj. Gen. David Fastabend and Mr. Ian Sullivan. Both have been heavily involved with initiatives to conceptualize the future of warfare for the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, where Sullivan is the assistant G-2 for ISR and futures. They talk through a range of emerging and future technologies and how they will impact the way we fight the wars of tomorrow.

Jan 17, 2018

In this episode of the MWI Podcast, we talk to Sean Naylor, an award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Not a Good Day to Die and Relentless Strike. The conversation covers everything from the reporter's role in war zones to the sometimes tricky aspects of writing about security, intelligence, and secretive military organizations.

Jan 4, 2018

In this episode, MWI's Capt. Jake Miraldi talks to best selling author and award winning filmmaker Sebastian Junger about his newest film, "Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS."

Dec 20, 2017

In this episode, MWI's Capt. Jake Miraldi speaks to Dr. Graham Allison, author of the book "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" In this fascinating conversation, Dr. Allison examines the critical factors that will determine whether war with a rising China will ultimately break out.

Dec 5, 2017

In this episode, Gen. David Perkins, commander of US Army Training and Doctrine Command, joins to talk about Multi-Domain Battle, the new concept by which the military will fight its future wars, deploying power dynamically across multiple domains: air, land, and sea, but also space, and cyberspace.

Nov 21, 2017

Gen. David Petraeus had a remarkable military career—including commanding the 101st Airborne Division at the beginning of the Iraq War and later commanding all forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He also served as commander of CENTCOM and, after retiring from the Army, as director of the CIA. In this conversation, he assesses the global operating environment and the trends that will define the future threat landscape.

Nov 8, 2017

The F-35 is the new fifth-generation fighter jet the US military expects will overcome the many challenges of the battlespace of today and tomorrow. In this episode, two former Air Force pilots, including one who was responsible for designing the F-35's cockpit, explain why this is the best fighter to meet the needs of the next war.

Oct 25, 2017

What should we make of the considerable uptick in North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests? What are the best tools to bring to bear against the North Korea problem? In this episode, Georgetown University's Victor Cha answers these and other questions in a fascinating conversation.

Oct 11, 2017

In the era of big data, the minds of human analysts are no match for the processing power of computers fed with terabytes of data and armed with powerful algorithms. But MWI Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Nicholas Krohley argues in this episode that, far from obviating the need for those human analysts, the incorporation of more and more data into military and intelligence analysis makes human judgment more important than ever.

Sep 28, 2017

How and why did the US Navy shift from battleships to aircraft carriers? What drove the US Army's adoption of helicopter aviation? In this episode, Harvard University's Professor Stephen Rosen tackles these and a range of other fascinating questions about innovation in the military.

Sep 13, 2017

Money is a powerful weapon in a combat zone. There are risks of deploying it in the form of economic programs, of course. But when used effectively, "tactical economics" can be a powerful tool with which to achieve operational and even tactical goals. In this conversation with MWI's Capt. Jake Miraldi, Maj. Jon Bate explains how money can be brought to bear at war.

Aug 29, 2017

In this episode of the Modern War Institute podcast, MWI's Capt. Jake Miraldi speaks to Dr. Jakub Grygiel, the George H.W. Bush Senior Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Grygiel explain the concept of "limited war," and discusses how its adoption as a strategy—most notably by Russia—shapes the global security environment.

Aug 15, 2017

In this episode of the Modern War Institute podcast, MWI editorial director John Amble speaks to Dr. Russell Glenn, a senior adviser for plans and policy to the deputy chief of staff, G-2, of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command. Dr. Glenn has spent nearly 25 years studying the city as a battlefield. During this conversation, he discusses the challenges it poses and what the US military should be doing to prepare to operate effectively in dense urban in the future.

Aug 2, 2017

In this episode of the Modern War Institute podcast, MWI editorial director John Amble speaks to Dr. James Giordano, the Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at Georgetown University and Scholar-in-Residence in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics. Dr. Giordano discusses the rapid pace of advancement in neuroscience and neurotechnology—and what that advancement means for the future of war.

Jul 19, 2017

In this episode, Capt. Jake Miraldi talks to Max Brooks, bestselling author of "World War Z" and "The Zombie Survival Guide" about how he uses zombies in his books as a stand-in for the kinds of major crises that transcend borders and require coordinated responses, often with a military component. The conversation also touches on society's civil-military gap, the importance of creative thinking for military leaders, and more.

Jun 28, 2017

In this episode, Capt. Jake Miraldi speaks to Col. Jonathan Neumann, the director of West Point's Department of Military Instruction and previously the commander of the 198th Infantry Brigade, responsible for training nearly 20,000 new infantrymen and mortarmen each year.

Jun 20, 2017

In 2008, Maj. Emily Spencer was an EOD platoon leader in Iraq. In April, she and one of her teams accompanied a route clearance patrol that was planned to approach Sadr City, a notorious safe haven for militants. As the reached the edge of the dangerous neighborhood, IEDs began detonating and they began taking fire. Listen to Maj. Spencer talk through the fight.

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