Modern War Institute

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 ...more

Latest Episodes

September 08, 2022 00:50:02
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Why Cohesion Matters

The term "cohesion" features prominently in discussions of military effectiveness, especially at the small-unit level. We all know intuitively what it means, but understanding how to develop and nurture it in practice is a challenge. That's even more true as technological advancement continues to make constant connectivity with the outside world easier, even from a battlefield. How do soldiers' stresses from home impact cohesion? What about when soldiers no longer process shared traumatic experiences together? John Spencer spent twenty-five years as an infantry soldier and officer, including leading troops in combat. His new book, Connected Soldiers, is based on both his personal experience and deep research. He joins this episode to discuss how unit cohesion affects military performance and how leaders can foster its development.   ...

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August 26, 2022 00:45:48
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The British Army and the Post-9/11 Wars

This episode features a discussion with Simon Akam, author of the book The Changing of the Guard: The British Army Since 9/11. The book tells the story of nearly two decades of the service's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critical of the British Army's leadership at times, it aims to jumpstart an honest conversation about the those wars, the service's performance in them, the relationship between the UK military and the British people, and more. It's an insightful, thought-provoking conversation that brings into focus issues that are important not just in the United Kingdom but in the United States, as well. ...

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August 11, 2022 01:05:49
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Far-Right Extremism and the War in Ukraine since 2014

How have European far-right extremists responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? How has the Russian government leveraged the Russian far right in service of its objectives in the war? And how should we understand the role of Ukraine's well-known Azov regiment? These questions all revolve around the complicated intersection of far-right politics, foreign fighter mobilization, and war. Exploring them requires a nuanced understanding of context that extends back much earlier than Russia's February invasion. On this episode, a joint production between MWI and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Kacper Rekawek joins to share insights based on years of research on the subject. ...

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August 01, 2022 01:08:39
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Competition, Conflict, and Cyber

How does cyberspace differ from the other warfighting domains—land, sea, air, and space? What challenges do those differences pose? Does cyber require unique approaches to talent manage to ensure the US military can recruit, promote, and retain the talent it needs? What resources are needed to effectively compete in cyberspace, and are those different from the resources necessary for a conflict scenario? How would the cyber dimension of a modern war play out, and are there lessons from the ongoing war in Ukraine that illuminate this question? In this episode, John Amble is joined by Captain Maggie Smith, PhD, and Dr. Erica Lonergan of the Army Cyber Institute to explore these questions and others. For more analysis on a wide range of cyber-related topics, check out the Competition in Cyberspace Project, a joint initiative of the Modern War Institute and the Army Cyber Institute. ...

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July 14, 2022 01:01:31
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Finding Opportunity in a Competitive Strategic Environment

When the idea of great power competition began to gain traction with the publication of the 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 National Defense Strategy, it was in some ways less a strategy than a conceptual outline of one. Amid subsequent efforts to build out a more robust competitive framework around the idea, a vital question has taken shape: How should the US policy community develop a strategy that identifies and pursues opportunities in an increasingly competitive environment? A new book by Ali Wyne, America's Great Power Opportunity, sets out to advance our collective thinking about that challenge. He joins this episode to explore some of the key issues surrounding this important effort. ...

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June 30, 2022 00:52:47
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Adapting During War

What are the hallmarks of an adaptable military force? What types of leaders best create cultures of adaptability in their formations? How do such forces employ rapidly changing technologies? And how does doctrine drive or limit adaptation? Dr. Nora Bensahel and retired Lt. Gen. Dave Barno—authors of the book Adaptation Under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime—join this episode to discuss these questions and more. The episode was originally recorded and released in early 2021, and returning to it helps to provide a framework within which to understand the ways in which adaptation—or failures to adapt—have played into the ongoing war in Ukraine over more than four months. ...

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