Modern War Institute

John Amble

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.

  • 1 hour 8 minutes
    Competition and Conflict in Cyberspace

    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? This episode addreses those questions as John Amble is joined by Maggie Smith, an Army officer and codirector of Project Cyber at the Irreegular Warfare Initiative, and Dr. Erica Lonergan, an assistant professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

    12 July 2024, 4:25 pm
  • 46 minutes 26 seconds
    Clausewitz and the War in Ukraine

    The Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz is held in high regard among US military scholars. But it can be challenging at times to apply his ideas—with necessary nuance—to real-world security challenges. In this episode, Dr. Donald Stoker, a professor at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School and the author of Clausewitz: His Life and Work, joins John Amble to discuss several of Clausewitz’s theories and use them as a lens through which to examine the ongoing war in Ukraine—and how it might eventually come to an end.

     

    The MWI Podcast is produced with the generous support of the West Point Class of 1974.

    26 June 2024, 12:13 pm
  • 54 minutes 44 seconds
    Defending Against Drones

    No unit in the US Army has more experience defending against drone attacks than 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. During a recent deployment to the Middle East, spread out across eight bases in Iraq and Syria, the brigade was targeted more than one hundred times by drones known as one-way attack unmanned aircraft systems. The brigade’s commander, Colonel Scott Wence, joins this episode to discuss that experience, the weapons and systems that enabled the unit to successfully defeat the vast majority of the attacks, and lessons from the deployment that can inform the Army’s preparation for a modern battlefield increasingly defined by the rapid proliferation of unmanned systems.

     

    The MWI Podcast is produced with the generous support of the West Point Class of 1974.

    13 June 2024, 9:45 am
  • 29 minutes 31 seconds
    Introducing "Ctrl Alt Army"

    In this special episode of the MWI Podcast, we're taking the opportunity to introduce listeners to a brand new podcast series called Ctrl Alt Army: Stories from Cyberspace. Hosted by Dr. Michael Sulmeyer, principal cyber advisor to the secretary of the Army, this podcast series features informal conversations with senior Army leaders about cyber issues. This is not a podcast by and for cyber specialists about cyber topics, but an opportunity for leaders from wide-ranging professional backgrounds to share how cyber issues have become increasingly impactful on a wide range of noncyber fields.

    Each of the series' eight episodes will feature a discussion with a different Army leader. To hear all episodes as they're released each week, find and subscribe to Ctrl Alt Army on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.

    30 May 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 34 minutes 42 seconds
    Russia's Pursuit of Military AI

    Russia is actively pursuing military applications of AI technology. But how much progress has been made in that pursuit? How have sanctions put in place in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine influenced the course of Russian AI research and development? Most fundamentally, how do Russian military leaders actually want to employ AI-enabled tools on the battlefield? This episode examines those questions and more and features a discussion with Sam Bendett, an adviser and member of the Russia Studies Program at CNA and the author of a report, recently published by the Center for a New American Security: “The Role of AI in Russia’s Confrontation with the West.”

     

    The MWI Podcast is produced with the generous support of the West Point Class of 1974.

    15 May 2024, 10:29 am
  • 51 minutes 28 seconds
    Landpower in the Pacific

    Many people look at a map of the Indo-Pacific region and assume that—characterized as it is by long distances and vast stretches of ocean—it is principally the air and maritime domains where military capability is most important. But as you'll hear in this episode, landpower services play a vital role in the region. So what is the US Army uniquely suited to achieving there? How are the service's newest capabilities reinforcing security for its allies and partners? How is it leveraging new Army organizations to meet its objectives? To discuss these questions and describe the diverse set of activities the Army is undertaking to help maintain a free and secure Indo-Pacific, John Amble is joined on this episode by General Charles A. Flynn, commanding general of US Army Pacific.

     

    The MWI Podcast is produced with the generous support of the West Point Class of 1974.

    30 April 2024, 8:49 pm
  • 41 minutes 31 seconds
    How Iran's Missile and Drone Attack Was Defeated

    When Iran recently launched more than three hundred drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles in a large-scale attack against Israel, almost every single one was stopped from reaching its target. A combination of ground-based air defenses, ship-launched weapons, and aircraft from multiple nations were involved in the defensive operation. But how does such a complex air defense mission happen? How is it commanded and controlled? How are the differing capabilities of such a variety of air defense systems integrated most effectively? And what lessons can be derived from the Iranian attack and the successful defense to inform the way the United States and its partners and allies conceptualize and implement defenses against a rapidly evolving air and missile threat?

    17 April 2024, 9:54 pm
  • 48 minutes 7 seconds
    NATO at 75

    Seventy-five years ago, on April 4, 1949, representatives of twelve governments came together to sign the North Atlantic Treaty. Much has changed in the intervening period—the Cold War came and went, NATO invoked the Article 5 collective defense clause after the 9/11 attacks, an era of renewed strategic competition has emerged, and large-scale conflict has returned to the continent of Europe. Yet despite all of that change, in both the strategic landscape and the alliance itself, NATO's history is marked by remarkable continuities. That means that an appreciation of its history provides a useful framework within which to understand the challenges and opportunities NATO faces today. To explore that history, this episode features a discussion with Seth Johnston, a US Army officer and author of How NATO Adapts: Strategy and Organization in the Atlantic Alliance since 1950.

    4 April 2024, 4:13 pm
  • 57 minutes 23 seconds
    Resistance and the National Defense of Small States

    In this episode, John Amble speaks to Sandor Fabian about a very specific approach to national defense: resistance. The war in Ukraine has made clear that comparatively small states can be vulnerable to the threat of aggression from larger neighbors. Resistance, Sandor argues, is the most viable means of defense for these states. 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.

    21 March 2024, 10:20 am
  • 42 minutes 29 seconds
    Nuclear Weapons—Past, Present, and Future

    For eight decades, the world has navigated the risk of nuclear war. But what will be required to so in the future? And because that risk is not static, how do we measure, conceptualize, and respond to changes—like when Russia rattles its nuclear saber? What challenges do so-called tactical nuclear weapons pose to deterrence models based on much larger, strategic weapons? And what dynamics influence both the creation and erosion of international arms control frameworks that aim to regulate these weapons? This episode tackles those questions and more. It features a discussion with W. J. “Bill” Hennigan, the lead writer for a new series published by the New York Times called “At the Brink.”

    7 March 2024, 10:49 am
  • 44 minutes 55 seconds
    From Hezbollah to the Houthis—Understanding Iran's Proxy Network

    The Houthi movement in Yemen has launched dozens of attacks against commercial ships in the Red Sea in recent months. Over the same period, militant groups have attacked US forces in the Middle East as many as 160 times—including the deadly drone attack against a base on Jordan’s border with Syria. And cross-border strikes between Hezbollah, operating from its southern Lebanon base, and Israeli forces have increased. All of this has occurred since Israel began its campaign in Gaza in response to Hamas’s October 7 attacks. And all of these groups have strong relationships with Iran. But how should we understand this complex array of combatant groups and their employment by Tehran? More directly, how should the US government respond to these groups’ actions? To explore these questions, this episode features a conversation with Jonathan Panikoff, director of the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

    6 February 2024, 10:14 am
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