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Midrats

Updated 2 days ago

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Navy Milbloggers Sal from "CDR Salamander" and EagleOne from "EagleSpeak" discuss leading issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and related national security issues.

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Navy Milbloggers Sal from "CDR Salamander" and EagleOne from "EagleSpeak" discuss leading issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and related national security issues.

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
30
4
3
1
0

Excellent analysis

By crankshaft333 - Oct 23 2018
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Excellent analysis and interesting guests. Enjoyable way to stay up to date on maritime news.

August Cole and Ghost Fleet

By brogrenj - May 20 2016
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This was the fastest an hour has ever expired. Wonderful insights, thank you.

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
30
4
3
1
0

Excellent analysis

By crankshaft333 - Oct 23 2018
Read more
Excellent analysis and interesting guests. Enjoyable way to stay up to date on maritime news.

August Cole and Ghost Fleet

By brogrenj - May 20 2016
Read more
This was the fastest an hour has ever expired. Wonderful insights, thank you.

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Cover image of Midrats

Midrats

Updated 2 days ago

Read more

Navy Milbloggers Sal from "CDR Salamander" and EagleOne from "EagleSpeak" discuss leading issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and related national security issues.

Episode 495: Countering China in the South China Sea with Hunter Stires

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China will continue to expand its holdings and presence in the South China Sea and the first and second island chain as long as it can and does not face pressure to do otherwise.

They have an unmatched shipbuilding program to expand not just their traditional navy, but their coast guard and maritime paramilitary fleets.

To discuss these and related topics will be returning guest, Hunter Stires.

As a starting point for our discussion, we'll review the major points in his US Naval Institute General Prize Essay Contest winning essay, The South China Sea Needs a 'COIN' Toss and related recent works.

Hunter Stires is a fellow with the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research at the U.S. Naval War College. His focus centers on maritime strategy and logistics in the Western Pacific.

Hunter is the winner of the U.S. Naval Institute’s 2018 General Prize Essay Contest, with his winning entry published as “The South China Sea Needs a ‘COIN’ Toss” in the May 2019 issue of Proceedings alongside a companion piece, “Why We Defend Free Seas.” His article “’They Were Playing Chicken:’ The U.S. Asiatic Fleet’s Gray-Zone Deterrence Campaign against Japan, 1937-40,” is featured in the Summer 2019 issue of the Naval War College Review. He is an Associate at Central Gulf Lines, a division of SEACOR Holdings Inc., and is a graduate of Columbia University.

Jul 01 2019

1hr 3mins

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Episode 513: Naval Aviation with Kevin Miller

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With the sequel to "Top Gun" coming up, if you ever wore the uniform of the US Navy, you're going to get asked a lot of questions.

For this week's show we are going to talk about today's Naval Aviation experience with author Kevin Miller, CAPT, USN (Ret.)

Kevin is a third generation naval officer. He graduated from the University of Mississippi and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1983. In his career he flew the A-7E Corsair II and FA-18C Hornet, deploying overseas six times throughout the 1980’s and 90’s aboard the aircraft carriers Nimitz, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Enterprise. He finished his career in the Pentagon serving on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy, retiring in 2005.

After leaving the service Kevin was employed as an associate at two Washington DC defense consulting firms, and it was during this time he drafted his first novel Raven One. In 2010 he joined the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Today he is a self-employed defense consultant, Amazon Best-Selling author of the military action-adventure novels Raven One and Declared Hostile and serves as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the Tailhook Association.

Kevin earned a Master of Science in Business Management from Florida State University and a Master of National Security Policy and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Nov 04 2019

57mins

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Episode 355: Best of Bryan McGrath on carriers, distributed lethality, & 2015

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For those who have seen the Great Carrier Debate between Jerry Hendrix and Bryan McGrath, one thing was clear - both gentlemen had only scratched the surface of their thoughts on the topic.

At about the same time, the concept of "distributed lethality" had seeped its way in to the conversation. To examine both topics and to review the national security issues you should expect to see in 2015 will be returning guest, Bryan McGrath.

Bryan McGrath is the founding Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC (FBG), a niche consultancy specializing in naval and national security issues, including national and military strategy, strategic planning, executive communications, strategic communications and emerging technologies.

Prior to starting FBG, Bryan founded a national security consulting line of business for Delex Systems, where he directly supported a number of senior clients in the Navy and the Army.  Additionally, he provided critical insight on Navy policy and acquisition preferences to commercial clients, including major defense contractors and small technology firms negotiating the "post-earmarks" era.    

A retired Naval Officer, Bryan spent 21 years on active duty including a tour in command of USS BULKELEY (DDG 84), a guided-missile destroyer homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.  

In his spare time, Bryan is a well-published commentator in the fields of national and maritime strategy, with policy papers published at major think tanks, and articles placed in nationally marketed periodicals.  He is a frequent panelist at symposia that deal with naval issues and is frequently quoted by major press organizations.

Oct 23 2016

1hr 4mins

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Episode 476: August Cole & P.W. Singer's Ghost Fleet, Best of

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The best fiction doesn't just entertain, it informs and causes the reader to think.

Our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern is August Cole, the co-author with P.W. Singer of one of the best received military fiction novels on the last year, Ghost Fleet: An Novel of the Next World War.

August is an author and analyst specializing in national security issues.

He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council where he directs The Art of the Future Project, which explores narrative fiction and visual media for insight into the future of conflict. He is a non-resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy (West Point). He is also writer-in-residence at Avascent, an independent strategy and management consulting firm focused on government-oriented industries.

He also edited the Atlantic Council science fiction collection, War Stories From the Future, published in November 2015. The anthology featured his short story ANTFARM about the intersection of swarm-warfare, additive manufacturing and crowd-sourced intelligence.

He is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Washington and an editor and a reporter for MarketWatch.com.

Feb 24 2019

1hr 3mins

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Episode 159: Best of Counter Narcotics

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This week's 3-day weekend "Best of" will reach back to Episode 39 where we talk about the U.S. Coast Guard's role in defending the USA from the flow of illegal drugs.
Our guest will be CDR E. A. Westfall, CDR, USCG, then Commanding Officer of the USCGC ESCANABA (WMEC 907).

Jan 20 2013

58mins

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Episode 164: Best of With James D. Hornfischer

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You're in for a good treat this Best Of.

When you mention books on naval history, there are but a few authors whose work immediately come to mind, and our guest is one of them.

Unquestionably one of the finest writers of naval history of the last half-century; James D. Hornfischer.

We have talked about his books on a regular basis both on Midrats and over at our homeblogs; The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors &  Ship of Ghosts.  He has a new book out, one that will be required reading for his fans - Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal.

We will have him for the full hour, so don't miss the discussion of the U.S. Navy in the opening of WWII, the lessons we should take from history, and the importance of the study of naval history for both the professional and amateur.

Feb 24 2013

59mins

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Episode 433: Reform, Readiness and the Navy's Path Ahead, with Dr. James Holmes

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How is our Navy making progress in adjusting how we man, train, and operate our forces following the series of lessons identified in the wake of 2017's series of mishaps that left ships damaged, reputations destroyed, and 17 Sailors dead?

For the full hour to discuss where we are and the way forward will be returning guest Dr. James Holmes. We will use his recent comments from Asia Times and The National Interest as starting points for a broad ranging conversation.

Dr. Holmes is a professor of strategy and former visiting professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, where he is the inaugural holder of the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy. A former U.S. Navy surface-warfare officer and combat veteran of the first Gulf War, he served as a weapons and engineering officer in the battleship Wisconsin, engineering and firefighting instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command, and military professor of strategy at the Naval War College. He was the last gunnery officer to fire a battleship’s big guns in anger. 

The book he co-authored with Toshi Yoshihara, Red Star over the Pacific, is out in its second edition this fall.

Apr 22 2018

1hr 5mins

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Episode 182: Marine Recon Best Of

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I cannot believe it has been almost 2.5 years since this show. Unquestionably time to have it again.
Much of the conversation about the USMC over the last decade has been about its "Second Land Army" status .... well .... Marines are still second to none at their core skill set. In case someone forgot that - our next guest and his Marines reminded everyone of not just that - but the power of the Navy-Marine Corp team.
Over a 48 hour period, the 15th MEU/PELARG team conducted offensive air operations in Afghanistan resulting in the deaths of 5 confirmed enemy fighters, provided disaster relief in Pakistan to 120 victims who had been without aid since July, and seized a pirated vessel, rescuing a crew of 11 hostages and detaining 9 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Our guest will be Captain Alexander Martin, USMC - the leader of the team that took back The Magellan Star.

Jun 30 2013

59mins

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Episode 401: Reporting on a Navy in Crisis, With David Larter

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In an era of the 24-hr news cycle but in a subject area where accuracy and subject-knowledge is required - how does the navy-focused media report on the fast changing environment?

For the professional journalist, the last few months have shown that even peacetime naval operations can create stories as professionally demanding as reporting on wartime developments.

The stories coming from the deaths of 17 Sailors from the USS FITZGERALD and USS JOHN S. MCCAIN and the reaction from the SECNAV on down are just the latest example.

Our guest for the full hour to discuss the interplay between media, political concerns, industry pressure, and personal agendas in reporting on our Navy will be David Larter, Naval Warfare Reporter for Defense News. He's a graduate of the University of Richmond and a former Operations Specialist Second Class, still DNQ in his ESWS qual.

Sep 10 2017

51mins

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Episode 170: Stolen Seas; Tales of Somali Piracy

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We have heard from industry, military leaders, Marines, and private security providers, this Sunday we are going to look at piracy at a more personal level with director Thymaya Payne of the documentary, Stolen Seas; Tales of Somali Piracy. He will be our guest for the full hour.
From the show promo:
The filmmakers have spent the past three years traveling to some of the world's most violent locales in order to make this documentary on Somali piracy, Stolen Seas. Utilizing exclusive interviews and unparalleled access to real pirates, hostages, hostages' relatives, ship-owners, pirate negotiators and experts on piracy and international policy, Stolen Seas presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon.
The film throws the viewer, through audio recordings and found video, right into the middle of the real-life hostage negotiation of a Danish shipping vessel, the CEC Future. As the haggling between the ship's stoic owner Per Gullestrup, and the pirate's loquacious negotiator, Ishmael Ali, drags on for 70 days, these two adversaries' relationship takes an unexpected turn and an unlikely friendship is born.
Stolen Seas is an eye opening refutation of preconceived ideas on how or why piracy has become the world's most frightening multi-million dollar growth industry.

Apr 07 2013

1hr 1min

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Episode 324: Best of Force Structure & Tipping Points

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What happens when a global maritime power finds itself in a position where it can no longer sustain the global presence it once considered an essential requirement?

The US Navy has been in a period of decline in both numbers and capability for awhile, and as budgetary reality sets in and burn out starts to hollow remaining capabilities - the decline is set to continue for at least another decade.

How far the decline goes until stability sets in is unknown, but what is the best reaction to this reality? Are the lessons one can derive from history that can help policy makers shape direction and priority going forward?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss will be Daniel J. Whiteneck, Ph.D.

Dr. Whiteneck is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses. He has directed projects ranging from Tipping Point and the future of US maritime dominance, to the use of naval forces in deterrence and influence operations.  He also led studies on naval coalition operations and maritime security operations focusing on counter-piracy and counter-proliferation.

Dr. Whiteneck deployed twice with Carrier Strike Groups for OEF and OIF.  His CNA field assignments included two tours on numbered fleet staffs, as well as field representative to the Commander of NATO Joint Command Lisbon in 2004-05.  He also did three tours in the Pentagon as CNA Scientific Analyst to N51, N31, and OPNAV DEEP BLUE.

He held academic positions at the Seattle University, the University of Colorado, and the Air Force Academy, before joining CNA.  In addition to authoring a number of CNA studies over the past 14 years, he has published articles and book chapters on US and British global leadership and naval operations, NATO’s expansion and operations, and the role of conventional and strategic deterrence against terrorist networks and rogue states after 9/11.

This episode first aired in July of 2013.

Mar 20 2016

1hr 2mins

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Episode 451: A Navy of the Gilded Age, with Scott Mobley

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The last quarter of the 19th Century, the Gilded Age, was a period of breathtaking change in society, technology, politics and industry. This rapid change helped drive the intellectual and institutional change that brought the US Navy to the world’s attention in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

The first two decades of the 20th Century are generally called the Progressive Era, but that only took place due to the advance of progressive ideology the quarter century prior during the Gilded Age.

Our guest for the full hour to discuss these and related issues raised in his new book, Progressives in Navy Blue: Maritime Strategy, American Empire, and the Transformation of U.S. Naval Identity, 1873-1898, will be Scott Mobley, CAPT, USN (Ret).

Scott is the current Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy (CSLD) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds an M.A. in National Security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School. Most recently, he earned a Ph.D. in History at the University of Wisconsin.

As a career U.S. Navy surface warfare officer, Scott commanded USS BOONE (FFG-28) and USS CAMDEN (AOE-2). While under his command, CAMDEN participated in the opening assault phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Other notable tours included: Reactor Officer in USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-76); Navy Section Chief at the U.S. Military Group in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Chief of Staff for Commander, Naval Surface Group Pacific Northwest. Scott retired from the Navy with the rank of Captain, after thirty years of service.

Scott also serves on the U.S. Naval Institute Naval History Advisory Board and is a founding editor for Voices & Visions, an open-access online reader featuring primary media sources that illuminate the history of U.S. foreign relations.

Aug 26 2018

1hr 5mins

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Episode 350: 21st Century Patton, With J. Furman Daniel III

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Put the popular, and mostly accurate, image of the flamboyant General Patton, USA given to us by popular culture to the side for a moment.

Consider the other side of the man; the strategic thinker, student of military history, and innovator for decades. This week's episode will focus on that side of the man.

For the full hour we will have as our guest J. Furman Daniel, III, the editor of the next book in the 21st Century Foundations series; 21st Century Patton.

Furman is an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona. He holds a BA (with honors) from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Georgetown University.

Sep 18 2016

1hr 2mins

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Episode 326: Undersea Lawfare with RADM Johnson, USN (Ret) and CAPT Palmer, USN

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Since its ascendency to the premier maritime power, the US Navy - especially in the area of undersea warfare - has been at the leading edge of using technology to get a military edge. 

During the Cold War, significant and steady progress in the first two steps of the kill chain against submarines, location and tracking, made the prospect of engaging superior numbers of Soviet submarine forces manageable.

We continue that tradition today, but to keep ahead of growing challenges, we have test. Build a little, test a little, learn a lot will stop dead in its tracks without testing in the real world. Computer simulation is only so good. 

When it comes to submarines especially, you have to get in the water with them.

Knowing our technological track record an operating a generation or two ahead of some potential adversaries - are there ways they can negate our edge - or at least buy time while they catch up?

Are we vulnerable to potential challengers using national and international law against us? Undersea Lawfare?

Our guests for the full hour to discuss will be Rear Admiral J. Michael "Carlos" Johnson, USN (Ret.) and Captain Michael T. Palmer, USN.

As a stepping off point, we will be using their article in the latest Naval War College Review; UNDERSEA LAWFARE - Can the US Navy Fall Victim to This Asymmetrical Warfare Threat?

RADM Johnson retired after 33 years of service as a naval aviator that included combat in Vietnam, Libya, the Balkans, and the Persian Gulf. He commanded the John F. Kennedy Battle Group, CVW-8, and VFA-86. Ashore he served on the staffs of the CNO as Director of Aviation Plans and Requirements) and the J3 of EUCOM. 

Captain Palmer is an active-duty JAG and an adjunct assistant professor at ODU. Her has served as environmental counsel to the CNO; U.S. Fleet Forces Command; and Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

Apr 03 2016

1hr 3mins

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Episode 173: Back to the Littorals with Milan Vego

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If the requirement is to be able to operate, fight, and win in the Littorals - is the Littoral Combat Ship the answer?
Other nations have the same requirement - yet have come up with different answers.
Are we defining our requirements properly in face of larger Fleet needs and the threats we expect?
What platforms and systems need to be looked at closer if we are to have the best mix of capabilities to meet our requirements?
Using his article in Armed Forces Journal, Go smaller: Time for the Navy to get serious about the littorals, as a stepping off place, our guest for the full hour will be Milan Vego, PhD, Professor of Joint Military Operations at the US Naval War College.

Apr 28 2013

1hr 4mins

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Episode 204: A Day Without Seapower - Best of

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Almost two and a half years ago we had a show that is a fitting ago now as it was then.  

Almost a decade of involvement in two land wars in Asia combined with a series of costly and ill timed shipbuilding programs that have yet to produce ships anywhere near promised cost and performance has brought our Navy to the growing budget crisis in a delicate position. 

The national security arena suffers from SeaBlindness about the critical requirements of seapower to the long term economic and security needs of a maritime, mercantile republic.

Using their work at The Heritage Foundation, Thinking About a Day Without Sea Power:Implications for U.S. Defense Policy as a starting point, for the full hour we will returning guests Mackenzie Eaglen and Bryan McGrath to discuss the long view on the future direction of our Navy and Marine Corps team.

Dec 01 2013

59mins

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Episode 397: Migrants, NGOs & the Mediterranean with Claude Berube, Chris Rawley

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What role are Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) playing in the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean Sea as wave after of wave of people try to make the passage to Europe?

Are they doing good? Are they filling a gap of lawlessness caused by government inaction, or increasing the problem?

What are the motivations and goals of governments, international organizations, traditional NGOs, and new players on the scene?

To discuss these question and related issues they raised in their two part series at War On the Rocks and CIMSEC will be returning guests Claude Berube and Chris Rawley.

Claude is the director of the Naval Academy Museum and a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve. He is the author of the Connor Stark novels – THE ADEN EFFECT (Naval Institute Press, September 2012) and SYREN'S SONG (Naval Institute Press, November 2015.) He earned his B.A. in History and Soviet Studies, his M.A. in History from Northeastern University, and his M.A. in National Security Studies from the Naval War College.  He is currently writing his doctoral dissertation through the University of Leeds on Andrew Jackson’s Navy.

Chris is a Captain in the Naval Reserve where he is the commanding officer of a reserve unit focusing on building partnerships to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. He is also founder and CEO of the agriculture investing company, Harvest Returns, and serves on the board of directors of the Center for International Maritime Security.

Aug 13 2017

1hr 3mins

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Episode 201: The 911 Decade Best Of

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Going back 14 months, this Veterans Day weekend, let's review the war we have been soaking in.
There are certain points in a nation's history that define a transition from one era to another.  These moments are so clear that you don't realize it in retrospect - you know it the moment it happens.  No one argues the fact that everything has changed; from all sides, everyone sees it.  September 11th, 2001 was one of those times.
911 was not just a national moment, but a global moment.
Our military has changed, our national strategy has changed, the way we perceive the tradeoff between liberty and freedom has changed - the international order has changed.
Where was our nation and the world on September 10th 2001, and how did the events the following day bring us to where our nation is a decade later?
To discuss this, our extened panel members will include:
- J. Michael Barrett, Partner at Diligent Innovations, Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and former Director, Strategy & Resources at the White House Homeland Security Council.
- L. Thomas Bortmes, CAPT USN (Ret), research staff member at IDA, and former Executive Director, Office of Intelligence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.
- Claude Berube, LCDR USNR, instructor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, Intelligence Officer in the Navy Reserve, author, and former Senate Staff member.

Nov 10 2013

1hr 30mins

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Episode 198: Best of the Darkhorse Battalion

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This week, we'll go back to 2011 for an interview with one of the better reports from an embed this decade. For those who listened to All Things Considered on NPR in 2011, you caught an outstanding series on the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines – the  Darkhorse Battalion — the Marine unit that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war.
Our guest for the full hour is the journalist who brought the American people that story - Tom Bowman, NPR National Desk reporter covering the Pentagon.
In his current role, Bowman has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan often for month-long visits and embedded with U.S. Marines and soldiers.
Before coming to NPR in April 2006, Bowman spent nine years as a Pentagon reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Altogether he was at The Sun for nearly two decades, covering the Maryland Statehouse, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Oct 20 2013

1hr

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Episode 446: July Maritime Natsec Melee

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NATO, Russia, the Chinese Navy, Australia's pocket fleet of the future and a potpourri of other issues that come across the transom - it's  Midrats Melee!

Open topic, open phones and we'll be trolling the chat room for ideas.

Come join us live.

Jul 22 2018

1hr 4mins

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Episode 518: Holding the Line with Guy Snodgrass

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How do you report history as you live it? When, why, and how do you write about it?

When even the most experienced DC watchers are having trouble tracking what is going on in the Trump Administration, what can people expect to learn from first hand accounts?

If you haven't already heard about our next guest and his book - and you count yourself as someone interested in national security - then welcome back on the grid.

Returning to Midrats, our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss his new book, Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis, will be Guy Snodgress, CDR USN (Ret.)

Guy is a retired American naval aviator, Topgun instructor, and former commanding officer who served as Jim Mattis's chief speechwriter and communications director during his time as Secretary of Defense. Snodgrass owns and manages a strategic advisory firm in Northern Virginia, serving government and tech industry clients.

Dec 08 2019

1hr 6mins

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Episode 517: Best of Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., Captain, USN (Ret)

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First aired in November of 2012.

"If we cannot have the navy estimates of our policy, then let's have the policy of our navy estimates."
---- Lieutenant Ambroise Baudry, French Navy

As our guest this week noted in his book Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice, "These are the watchwords for the twenty-first-century American navy."

As we leave our land wars in Asia and look forward to the future maritime challenges of our nation, what size and kind of Fleet should the US Navy have?

How will budgets impact the size and nature of our Fleet, and how will that impact the ability of the Navy to meet what it will be asked to do?

What are the major schools of thought on what should drive our Fleet design, and what does history have to tell us about where we should head, and what we should be cautious of?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and a lot more will be Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., Captain, USN (Ret), who in addition to being the author of innumerable books and articles, is a Professor, Department of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Captain Hughes received an MS in Operations Research from NPS in 1964, and returned in 1979 and continued as a civilian instructor for thirty-two years, including 5 years as Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, he is a Distinguished Alumnus of NPS.

On active duty he commanded a minesweeper, a destroyer, and directed a large training command. Ashore, he was Deputy Director of the CNO’s Systems Analysis (OP-96), and Aide to Under Secretary of the Navy R. James Woolsey.

Dec 06 2019

1hr 2mins

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Episode 516: Making the Fleet Ready for a Peer Challenge, with Bryan McGrath

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Keeping a fleet ready for war is a process of years of careful, consistent, and sustained stewardship of both personnel and material.

The easiest parts are the buying of equipment and recruiting new people.The hard parts, maintenance, training, and retention – mostly because they are hard – rarely break in to the open.

For our fleet, the structure we live in is the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). It is a system few understand well, but is one designed around a peace time “efficiency” with only a passing interest in wartime “effectiveness.”

Decades of dominance at sea has provided the US Navy the luxury of such, but as China expands her fleet at an alarming rate – do we need a new construct?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and related topics will be Bryan McGrath, CDR USN (Ret.).

Bryan McGrath grew up in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1987. He was commissioned upon graduation in the United States Navy, and served as a Surface Warfare Officer until his retirement in 2008. At sea, he served primarily in cruisers and destroyers, rising to command of the Destroyer USS BULKELEY (DDG 84). During his command tour, he won the Surface Navy Association’s Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Award for Inspirational Leadership, and the BULKELEY was awarded the USS ARIZONA Memorial Trophy signifying the fleet’s most combat ready unit. Ashore, Bryan enjoyed four tours in Washington DC, including his final tour in which he acted as Team Leader and primary author of our nation’s 2007 maritime strategy entitled “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.”

Since retirement, Bryan has become active in presidential politics, serving first as the Navy Policy Team lead for the Romney Campaign in 2012, and then as the Navy and Marine Corps Policy lead for the Rubio Campaign in 2016.

Nov 25 2019

1hr 8mins

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Episode 515: Building a Thinking Force: the Navy’s CLO, John Kroger

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A byproduct of the April 2018 memo from Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, the newly created position of CLO is described as, “A senior civilian with educational leadership experience headquartered in the Pentagon, with a small supporting staff transferred from extant Navy and Marine education management billets, responsible to the President, Naval University for all matters related to education in policy, budgets, promotion board precepts. Congressional interaction, future requirements, and assessments.”

The Navy's first Chief Learning Officer (CLO) John Kroger will join us for the full hour to describe his mandate, the path ahead, and the opportunities and challenges of building a position from scratch.

John served as an enlisted Marine between 1983 and 1986. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard University. After college, he spent a significant part of his career in the public sector, as a U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor and Attorney General of Oregon from 2009 to 2012.

Kroger’s academic experience includes working as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Leader in Residence at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. For the past six years, Kroger was president of Reed College, a small liberal arts college in Portland, Ore.

Nov 17 2019

1hr 5mins

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Episode 514: Best of Stolen Seas; Tales of Somali Piracy

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Episode first aired in July of 2013.

We have heard from industry, military leaders, Marines, and private security providers, this Sunday we are going to look at piracy at a more personal level with director Thymaya Payne of the documentary, Stolen Seas; Tales of Somali Piracy. He will be our guest for the full hour.

From the show promo:

The filmmakers have spent the past three years traveling to some of the world's most violent locales in order to make this documentary on Somali piracy, Stolen Seas. Utilizing exclusive interviews and unparalleled access to real pirates, hostages, hostages' relatives, ship-owners, pirate negotiators and experts on piracy and international policy, Stolen Seas presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon.

The film throws the viewer, through audio recordings and found video, right into the middle of the real-life hostage negotiation of a Danish shipping vessel, the CEC Future. As the haggling between the ship's stoic owner Per Gullestrup, and the pirate's loquacious negotiator, Ishmael Ali, drags on for 70 days, these two adversaries' relationship takes an unexpected turn and an unlikely friendship is born.

Stolen Seas is an eye opening refutation of preconceived ideas on how or why piracy has become the world's most frightening multi-million dollar growth industry.

Nov 15 2019

1hr

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Episode 513: Naval Aviation with Kevin Miller

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With the sequel to "Top Gun" coming up, if you ever wore the uniform of the US Navy, you're going to get asked a lot of questions.

For this week's show we are going to talk about today's Naval Aviation experience with author Kevin Miller, CAPT, USN (Ret.)

Kevin is a third generation naval officer. He graduated from the University of Mississippi and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1983. In his career he flew the A-7E Corsair II and FA-18C Hornet, deploying overseas six times throughout the 1980’s and 90’s aboard the aircraft carriers Nimitz, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Enterprise. He finished his career in the Pentagon serving on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy, retiring in 2005.

After leaving the service Kevin was employed as an associate at two Washington DC defense consulting firms, and it was during this time he drafted his first novel Raven One. In 2010 he joined the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Today he is a self-employed defense consultant, Amazon Best-Selling author of the military action-adventure novels Raven One and Declared Hostile and serves as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the Tailhook Association.

Kevin earned a Master of Science in Business Management from Florida State University and a Master of National Security Policy and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Nov 04 2019

57mins

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Episode 512: Best of the Union and Confederate Navies, with James M. McPherson

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The War Between the States, the American Civil War - whichever description you prefer - this crucible on which our nation was re-formed has legion of books, movies, and rhetoric dedicated to it. Most of the history that people know involves the war on land, but what of the war at sea?

What are details behind some of the major Naval leaders of both sides that are the least known, but are the most interesting? What challenges and accomplishments were made by the belligerents in their navies, and how do they inform and influence our Navy today?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be James M. McPherson, the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, Crossroads of Freedom (which was a New York Times bestseller), Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the Lincoln Prize.

As a starting off point for the show, we will be discussing his book, War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865.

Show first aired in 2013.

Nov 01 2019

1hr 2mins

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Episode 511: Baltic Security with Dr. Sebastian Bruns

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From Finland to Denmark, Sweden to Poland - from small Latvia to the Continental power of Germany - the return of Russia has brought a renewed focus the last half decade to the Baltic.

Not just a SLOC, there are important economic and cultural ties that predate written history that continue to be important today.

Our guest for the full hour in a wide ranging discussion will be Dr. Sebastian Bruns.

Sebastian heads the Center for Maritime Strategy & Security (CMSS) at the Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel (ISPK). He is the author/editor of six books, including "Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security" (edited with Joachim Krause, London 2016), and his latest, "US Naval Strategy and National Security. The Evolution of American Maritime Power" (London, 2018).

Oct 20 2019

1hr 11mins

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Episode 510: A Half-Baked Navy with Jimmy Drennan and Blake Herzinger

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Everyone has half-baked ideas ... some quarter-baked and some three-quarters-baked ... that in a just world of their making would have a funding line.

Are there some ideas so far "out of the box" that they really should be "in the box?"

Find yourself saying, "If I were CNO/emperor/Chairman of the HASC for a day, I would..."?

Have some ideas that you are convinced our Navy needs to win, but everyone else thinks is impossible/stupid/insane?

Well, that is the Navy we're going to ponder today.

With our guests Blake Herzinger and His Exalted Saltiness Jimmy Drennan, EagleOne and I the Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will talk about our pet "half-baked ideas" that ... in all seriousness ... we'd like someone to at leave give a serious thought to for a few seconds.

Blake graduated from OCS in 2010 and affiliated with the USNR in 2017, having spent time in the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare and intelligence collection communities. As a civilian he supports planning and execution of Indo-Pacific Security Cooperation and he works for Commander, Naval Forces Korea as a reservist.

At the moment he’s getting his first real taste of 5th Fleet and starting his sea counter for the first time (which, as a mobilized intel reservist, is basically like being struck by lightning and bit by a shark at the same time).

Jimmy Drennan is a Surface Warfare Officer, President of the Center for International Maritime Security, and Boat Rocker in Chief at The Salty Herald.

You can find them both on twitter at @BDHerzinger and @SaltyHerald.

Oct 13 2019

1hr 10mins

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Episode 509: Larger Navy? How About Better USCG Instead?

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As the USN continues its slow goodbye to 355 ships, what are some other measures it can use to expand maritime power, presence and influence?

Would better and expanded integration, support, and interoperability with the USCG be part of the answer?

Our guest this Sunday for the full hour to discuss this and all thing USCG will be Chuck Hill, and we’ll used his recent post, Navy, this is Coast Guard, we need to talk (https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2019/09/29/navy-this-is-coast-guard-we-need-to-talk/ ) as a starting off point for our discussion.

Chuck graduated from the USCG Academy in 1969, and retired in 1991, Assignments included four ships, Rescue Coordination Center New Orleans, CG HQ, Four years in HQ in the Military Readiness branch, Fleet Training Group San Diego, Naval War College (Command and Staff Course), and Pacific Area/Maritime Defense Zone Pacific Ops/Readiness/Plans/Exercises.

Afloat, he served on the McCulloch (a 311′ WAVP/WHEC), Confidence when it was homeported in Kodiak, Duane (a 327′ WPG/WHEC and my avatar in its WWII form), and Midgett (the WHEC).

He is one of the premier USCG bloggers for the last decade and can be found at, https://chuckhillscgblog.net/

Oct 07 2019

1hr

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Episode 508: Best of Confessions of a Major Program Manager, w/ CAPT Mark Vandroff, USN

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First aired in October 2015:

One man's chore is another man's hobby. Another man's dread, is the other's fantasy. Such, in a fashion, is Program Management in the Navy.

To be a good one, step one is to be self-aware. From his latest article in USNI's Proceedings, Confessions of a Major Program Manager, Captain Mark Vandroff, USN just lays it out; "Face it: Everyone hates MPMs. For the budget-conscious officials in the Pentagon, our products are never cheap enough. For technologists both inside and outside the Department of Defense who want military progress to be state of the art, our products are never fielded fast enough. For the fleet users and their advocates, products could always be more capable, usable, or maintainable. Industry gets upset when we treat the taxpayers’ money like it is worth saving rather than help Wall Street with its next earnings report. Our uniformed brothers and sisters, support scientists, contractors, and comptrollers all loathe us—and if you aren’t in one of those groups, you probably quit reading already."

Coming back to Midrats, we will have the author on for the full hour to discuss the dark art of the program manager, what it takes to be one, and why at the end of the day someone would - really - come to love it all.

Captain Vandroff is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. With 10 years as a surface warfare officer and 16 years as an engineering duty officer, he is currently the major program manager for Arleigh Burke class destoyers.

Oct 06 2019

1hr 2mins

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Episode 507: Goldwater–Nichols; Problems and Solutions, Best Of

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From the week before the 2016 election, in this episode of Midrats we discuss the systems that trains, mans, and equips our military - and provides guidance and support to their civilian masters is broadly shaped by Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. There is much discussion that in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century, is there a better system to serve our national security requirements than one designed at the height of the 20th Century's Cold War?

Using his article in War on the Rocks, Don't Rush to "Fix" Goldwater-Nichols as a starting point, our guest for the full hour to discuss this and other related issues will be Justin Johnson of The Heritage Foundation.

Johnson spent over a decade working on defense and foreign policy issues on Capitol Hill before coming to the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense were I am now a defense and foreign policy analyst at Allison Center for National Security and Foreign Policy.

Johnson received a master’s degree from the Naval War College with a particular focus on terrorism and the maritime domain. He is also a member of the 2013-2014 Future Leaders Program at the Foreign Policy Initiative, the 2011-12 class of Next Generation National Security Leaders at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the 2012 class of the Heritage Foundation’s Marshall Fellows.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Johnson grew up in Iowa before moving to Eastern Europe. After living in Germany, Belarus and the Czech Republic, Johnson attended Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia where he studied philosophy and art.

Sep 30 2019

32mins

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Episode 506: Afghanistan in its 18th Year: at the Personal Level

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Almost to the day, our direct military involvement in Afghanistan has reached its 18th year. Those Afghans, American, British, and others who were had yet to reach their first birthday when the attacks of September 2001 led us to move in to direct military action in Afghanistan, those children of 2001 are now on their way to that Central Asian country to pick up the conflict other generations have yet to put an end to is.

Nation building, counter-terrorism, training, capability building, infrastructure development and even agricultural assistance, we’ve had the better part of two decades to find a path, or combination of paths, to help the Afghan people stand in the modern age. The programs and names change, but in the distance was that common goal.

Today’s guest Lieutenant Jack McCain, USNR returns to Midrats after recently completing a tour helping train the Afghan armed forces to fly and use the ubiquitous Blackhawk helicopter. We’ll cover his experience there to talk about that stage of our involvement in Afghanistan, the experience of working with Afghans on a daily basis, and other related topics.

Lieutenant McCain is a currently serving Naval Aviator and graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He has deployed four times in the Pacific, Persian Gulf, and recently returned from Afghanistan where, as an Afghan Hand, he flew alongside Afghan pilots in the Blackhawk. Prior to that was a leadership instructor at the Naval Academy and a Search and Rescue Pilot in Guam. He is presently assigned the Navy Reserves as a helicopter pilot.

Sep 16 2019

1hr 1min

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Episode 505: Sea Shepherd, Public/Private Partnership and Protecting our Seas

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Even developed nations have difficulty effectively managing marine resources, enforce pollution controls, and maintain the rule of law in their territorial seas. With most of the world's coastal nations struggling to maintain authority ashore, the sea is left lawless.

From fisheries to waste disposal, bad actors are taking advantage of these localized challenges with negative impacts not just on the coastal nations, but on the global environment and integrated ecosystems.

For over four decades, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has grown to the world’s most passionate and powerful protector of ocean life. They've expanded their expertise to include partnering with nations from Africa to Central American in a maritime public-private partnerships to bring order and proper stewardship to the already endangered maritime domain.

Our guest for the full hour was supposed to be Captain Paul Watson, the Founder, President, and Executive Director of what is commonly known as just, Sea Shepherd. Unfortunately, technology issues prevented him from joining us - but our guest co-host Claude and Sal dove in to the topic anyway.

Sep 09 2019

1hr 6mins

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Episode 504: Best of Baltic Security with Bruce Acker and Dan Lynch

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First aired in AUG 2018.

With a resurgent Russia, the security environment from former Soviet Republics to the traditionally neutral nations of Finland and Sweden has changed dramatically.

What are those changes and how are they changing how these nations see their place in the larger Western security infrastructure? We’re going to look at how thing are changing in how they work and see each other, NATO, and what they need to do to provide for both their and collective defense.

Our guests for the full hour will be Colonel Bruce Acker, USAF (ret) and Captain Dan Lynch, USN (Ret).

Bruce is currently a Defense Strategy Consultant in Stockholm Sweden. He spent 30 years on active duty starting as a Air Defense Weapons flight test engineer upon graduation from the Air Force Academy, and subsequently served in Space, Missile Warning, and Missile Launch operations culminating as a Minuteman ICBM squadron Commander. Following staff tours managing future Air Force and Defense Space systems programs, he broadened to political military assignments as the US Air Attaché to Malaysia and as the US Defense Attaché and Senior Defense Official in Stockholm. Col Acker has published articles on regional security issues in the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences journal as well as leading National daily newspapers.

Dan is currently beginning his fifth year on the maritime faculty of the Swedish Defense University in Stockholm. He spent over 35 years on active duty starting as an enlisted Marine and upon graduation from the Naval Academy selected Naval Aviation where he commanded a VP squadron and a patrol and reconnaissance wing. Following major command, he served on the staff of the US ambassador to NATO in Brussels and retired after his last tour as the Naval Attache to Stockholm.

Sep 09 2019

1hr 11mins

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Episode 503: Missile Defense at Sea and Ashore with Tom Karako

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Not since the last decade of the Cold War have ballistic missile defense, land based cruise missiles, as well as short, intermediate, and medium range ballistic missiles received this much attention outside the compartmentalized and esoteric warfare specialities they belong in.

With the realities of our century bidding farewell to the previous century's INF limitations, you shouldn't expect the topic to fade away anytime soon.

Shipboard and land based missile defense are rising to meet the threat - using both established capabilities and new ones emerging from the lab.

For the full hour this Sunday to discuss these and related topics, our guest will be Dr. Thomas Karako.

Tom is a senior fellow with the International Security Program and the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he arrived in 2014. His research focuses on national security, missile defense, nuclear deterrence, and public law. For 2010–2011, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, working with the professional staff of the House Armed Services Committee and the Strategic Forces Subcommittee on U.S. strategic forces policy, nonproliferation, and NATO.

He is also currently an adjunct professor in the Strategic Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and a fellow with the Institute for Politics and Strategy of Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University and his B.A. from the University of Dallas.

Aug 26 2019

1hr 5mins

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Episode 502: Red Flag and the Development of USAF Fighter Pilots, Best of

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In parallel efforts that in the Navy which led to Top Gun, the US Air Force looked hard at the lessons of air to air combat in the Vietnam War and brought forward "Red Flag,"

Moving beyond the technical focus, they looked to training and fundamentals to bring back a primacy of combat skills.

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and his new book, The Air Force Way of War: U.S. Tactics and Training after Vietnam, will be Dr. Brian D. Laslie, Deputy Command Historian, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

A historian of air power studies, Dr. Laslie received his Bachelor’s degree in history from The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina, his Master’s from Auburn University Montgomery in 2006 and his Doctorate from Kansas State University in 2013.

Dr. Laslie was Honorably Discharged from the United States Air Force in 2007 as a Captain after serving as a logistics officer, doctrine instructor, and Action Officer to the Commander of Air University.

Aug 25 2019

1hr

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Episode 501: 21st Century Patton, With J. Furman Daniel III, Best of

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Put the popular, and mostly accurate, image of the flamboyant General Patton, USA given to us by popular culture to the side for a moment.

Consider the other side of the man; the strategic thinker, student of military history, and innovator for decades. This week's episode will focus on that side of the man.

For the full hour we will have as our guest J. Furman Daniel, III, the editor of the next book in the 21st Century Foundations series; 21st Century Patton.

Furman is an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona. He holds a BA (with honors) from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Georgetown University.

Aug 25 2019

1hr 1min

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Episode 500: The War in Yemen, with Katherine Zimmerman

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It is a civil war, tribal war, religious war, and proxy war with local, regional, and global implications.

The specific and larger implications of the war in Yemen will be our topic for the full hour with our guest Katherine Zimmerman.

Katherine Zimmerman is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the research manager for AEI’s Critical Threats Project. As AEI’s senior analyst studying terrorist groups, she focuses on the global al Qaeda network and covers the Salafi-jihadi movement and related trends in the Middle East and Africa. She also specializes in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, al Shabaab in Somalia, and al Qaeda in the Sahel.

Ms. Zimmerman has testified before Congress about the threats to US national security interests emanating from al Qaeda and its network. She has also briefed members of Congress, their staff, and US military, diplomatic, and intelligence community personnel. Her analyses have been widely published, including in CNN.com, Foreign Affairs, FoxNews.com, The Hill, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She is a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the ?RESOLVE Network Research Advisory Council.

Aug 05 2019

1hr 1min

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Episode 499: No Summer Break for NATO with Jorge Benitez

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From Baltic air policing, through the Russian border areas, to Afghanistan and curling back to the Strait of Hormuz, NATO alliance members are being tested not just by external powers, but by domestic politics and the slow churn of history.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO members continue to grapple with their larger mission - and what alliance members mean and owe to each other.

From purpose to public support, returning to Midrats for a thorough review of NATO near the end of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century will be our guest Dr. Jorge Benitez.

Jorge is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Marine Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He specializes in NATO and transatlantic relations, European politics, and US national security. He previousy served as assistant for Alliance issues to the Director of NATO Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served as a specialist in international security for the Department of State and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.

Dr. Benitez received his BA from the University of Florida, his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Jul 29 2019

1hr 3mins

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