144 episodes

The Modern War Institute podcast is the flagship podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Featured guests include senior military and defense leaders, scholars, and others who discuss the most important issues related to modern conflict.

Modern War Institute Modern War Institute at West Point

    • News
    • 4.8 • 480 Ratings

The Modern War Institute podcast is the flagship podcast of the Modern War Institute at West Point. Featured guests include senior military and defense leaders, scholars, and others who discuss the most important issues related to modern conflict.

    The Robotic Revolution is Already Here

    The Robotic Revolution is Already Here

    This episode of the MWI Podcast features a conversation with August Cole, coauthor of a new book called Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. It’s a techno-thriller and a work of fiction, but it is also based on deep research and allows readers to examine the types of technologies that will increasingly characterize the future—from everyday life to the conduct of war. In fact, the seemingly remarkable technologies featured in the book's plot are already emerging and in many cases already exist.

    • 35 min
    Modern War in 2021: Year in Review

    Modern War in 2021: Year in Review

    What did we learn about modern war in 2021? What issues defined the most important conversations in defense circles? In this special year-end episode of the MWI Podcast, John Amble speaks to the directors of MWI's four themed projects, each aimed at advancing our understanding of a particular aspect of modern war—the Urban Warfare Project, the Irregular Warfare Initiative, Project 6633, and Shield Notes—along with one of the curators of the Full Spectrum series of articles on cyber and information operations that we published this year. They explain the events that were most significant in the past year, the topics that garnered the most attention, and what they expect for 2022.

    • 57 min
    When Security Force Assistance Works—and When it Doesn't

    When Security Force Assistance Works—and When it Doesn't

    After twenty years of America’s post-9/11 wars and the US military’s struggle to build capable and effective security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is an important discussion taking place about what role security force assistance should play for the United States in the very different strategic environment that is taking shape. Will it be a mission that we'll be required to do in order to compete with Russia and China? Or will it become tangential to our preparations for large-scale combat operations? And given the challenges we faced over the past two decades, what needs to happen to achieve better outcomes in the future? Will Reno, a professor at Northwestern University, and Franky Matisek, an Air Force officer and associate professor at the US Air Force Academy, have researched the topic deeply, including conducting hundreds of interviews in the field. They join this episode to discuss their findings.

    • 56 min
    A Looming Showdown Over Ukraine?

    A Looming Showdown Over Ukraine?

    Recently, large numbers of Russian military forces have been moved to areas near Russia's border with Ukraine. This has set off a wave of reporting and analysis about what it likely means. But there’s a considerable degree of nuance and substantial context that both need to be accounted for to best understand what the troop movements indicate, to predict what comes next, and to identify what strategic options are available to the united States and NATO. To examine all of that in this episode of the MWI Podcast, John Amble is joined by Michael Kofman, the director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses.

    • 40 min
    Taiwan, China, and the Poison Frog Strategy

    Taiwan, China, and the Poison Frog Strategy

    In this episode, John Amble speaks with Chris Dougherty of the Center for a New American Security. He and his colleagues recently conducted a wargame that sought to identify what strategic options the United States and Taiwan have to deter a particular fait accompli move by China against Taiwan. What they found as the best option is something they describe as “the poison frog strategy.” Listen as he describes what that entails, and why it's the most viable means of implementing deterrence against China.

    • 58 min
    On Resistance

    On Resistance

    In this episode, John Amble speaks to Sandor Fabian about a very specific approach to national defense: resistance. Specifically, Sandor argues that resistance is the most viable means of defense for small states facing the threat of aggression from a larger neighbor. But effectively embracing it as a strategic approach would require dramatic changes in force structure, training, equipment, doctrine, and more. And if small US allies choose to do so, it would have important implications for US special operations forces and for NATO.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
480 Ratings

480 Ratings

DomenicoDG1 ,

Outstanding.

Our future leaders should learn from here, teaches to maintain an open mind.

Bruegrassboy ,

Academic study of warfare - and global politics

Enjoyable intelligent Q&A with strategic thinkers on a variety of historical and current-event topics to improve and educate the profession of arms

GSWW- ,

Future of SFA

Though I enjoyed the conversation with LtCol Matisek and Dr. Will Reno, I thought the discussion was poorly framed; specifically, and to Will’s later points, everything flows from the strategic context, in which case the very first question, either preceding or incorporated into the definitions of FID/SFA, should have been: “Under what conditions should the US engage in SFA/FID? And have recent examples of SFA/FID been in alignment with National Interests?”

I appreciated LtCol Matisek’s anecdotal criticisms, but his points were only helpful in a discussion about whether we did SFA/FID correctly or not, and not whether we should do it at all or not.

Will’s comments - very pragmatic and germane to the question of whether the US should engage in SFA in the future - about the French and UK efforts in Mali and Sierra Leone, respectively, illuminated the idea that National Interest should drive application of SFA, and how a nation can justify action to its population, and how much to resource those operations.

I would have much preferred the following frame for the conversation:

1) Definitions
2) National Interest as deciding factor for considering conflict and/or SFA
3) Examples of SFA without support of National Interest, successes/failures
4) Examples of SFA with support of National Interest, successes/failures
5) Under what conditions and with what partners might the US justifiably conduct SFA in our new geo-strategic context?

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