THE GRIT AND GROWTH MINDSET

Adversity and resilience are incredibly relevant topics in light of what’s going on in the world today. People around the world are facing challenges and adversity that they’ve never seen before and are seeking new ways to deal with it. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Jennifer Alessio to share her story of a potentially career-ending injury and how she found a path forward to not only survive but thrive. Jennifer joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss the grit and growth mindset. Based in the works of Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr. Carol Dweck, Jennifer discusses how the mindset can benefit innovation, talent management, soldier development and even recruiting in the U.S. Army.

THE INTERIM NSS: A TOUCHSTONE

Mandated by public law, the National Security Strategy (NSS) is the report that the President of the United States sends to Congress to communicate the administration’s strategy and vision regarding national security. It is to be submitted to Congress in a classified format no later than 150 days after the date on which a new President takes office. But Congress isn’t the only audience of the NSS as there is typically an unclassified summary that communicates the administration’s intent to the military, the citizenry, and friends and foes alike. Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Whitt is in the virtual studio with podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the Interim NSS that the Biden administration released on 3 Mar 2021. Ron and Jacqueline take a look at what’s different in this document and perhaps more importantly what is similar to previous administration’s NSS reports.

AFTERMATH: THE FIRST GULF WAR

“The Gulf War is often remembered as a ‘good war,’ a high-tech conflict that quickly and cleanly achieved its objectives.” That’s the opening line of Sam Helfont’s new article in the Texas National Security Review, and he’s in the virtual studio to discuss how the narrative might not match reality. Sam joins A BETTER PEACE editor Ron Granieri to discuss the fallout of the first Gulf War. As a Middle East historian, Sam offers a unique perspective on the realities of life after the shooting stopped. He talks about the political, economic, and humanitarian dilemmas it caused in the region as well as the divisions and harm it introduced into the western world and the United States.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE: THE BENS REPORT

Business Executives for National Security (BENS) a nonprofit comprised of senior business and industry executives commissioned a study and produced a report it refers to as “A CALL TO ACTION” to strengthen U.S. emergency response for sustained, widespread events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. BENS President and CEO, Joseph Votel, joins our own Editor-in-Chief in the virtual studio to discuss the findings of the report. Their conversation reviews the recommendations of federal, state and local government responsibilities and relations and the need for a national strategy for emergency response. Not surprisingly, as in any large scale operation, the need for clear communication and information sharing is highlighted as one of the crucial factors for success.

THE ARMY’S ROBERT E. LEE PROBLEM

On 5 February, 2021, newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed military leaders to lead a one-day stand-down within the next 60 days to address extremism within the nation’s armed forces. That same afternoon our Editor-In Chief, Jacqueline Whitt sat down with Ty Seidule in the virtual studio to record this episode. Seidule, a prominent figure in the conversation about extremism, has long fought against the veneration of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate cause in the Army, specifically at the United States Military Academy. His 2015 video on Prager University, “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” has been viewed over 34 million times. And his newest book Robert E. Lee and Me is drawing both praise and anger. Their discussion ranges from his childhood in the south to his time at West Point as the Head of the Department of History, and what he’s been doing since his retirement as a brigadier general in 2020.

EVERY SOLDIER HAS A PERSONAL STORY

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Ann Meredith to discuss her experience as a female officer in the U.S. Army. She joins WAR ROOM podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss what her career has looked like as a woman, a mother and a wife in the Military Police corps. Ann recounts long separations, supportive units, honest mentors and the biases and discriminations that many women must overcome in any branch of the military. 

HOW MUCH FOR THE PEN? SCHELLING (GREAT STRATEGISTS)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes back Tami Davis Biddle to our GREAT STRATEGISTS series. She joins WAR ROOM podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss the contributions of Thomas C. Schelling to the Cold War nuclear strategy realm.

WHEN A GENERAL WRITES FOR THE GENERALIST (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes authors General Sir Rupert Smith and Ilana Bet-El to the virtual studio to talk about the ultimate goal of being understood as authors. Smith and Bet-El are co-authors of The Utility of Force now available in a second edition. They join our own Michael Neiberg to discuss their collaborative process and the different strengths and attributes they each bring to the effort. He is a retired British Army officer with a wealth of experience in matters of war and diplomacy culminating as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. She is a strategic adviser, writer and historian with experience at the UN as well as advisory work around the world. Together they compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses to produce a book that is readable by academic, specialist and generalist alike.

Editor’s Note: We apologize for the intermittent sound quality of our guests. We had technical difficulties with the equipment, but we feel the intent of the conversation remains intact and is well worth the distractions.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: RADICALS IN THE RANKS

UPDATED: 1450/15 Dec 2020 A BETTER PEACE welcomes Robert Payne to discuss the radicalization of U.S. military members, particularly in the Army. Payne joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to examine how individual members of the Army are radicalized and what the service and law enforcement need to do to defeat the […]

LIKE YOUR BRAIN HAS JUST GONE TO THE GYM (WARGAMING ROOM)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Chris Dougherty and Becca Wasser from The Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security (CNAS). Chris and Becca join host Ken Gilliam in our special series the WARGAMING ROOM to discuss the efforts and contributions of CNAS to the gaming world. The three discuss how strategic gaming is used […]

PAST VISIONS OF FUTURE WARS

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Adam Seipp to discuss the world of Cold War literature. Adam’s previous article in our DUSTY SHELVES series reviewed Sir John Hackett’s 1978 best seller, The Third World War: August 1985. Hackett, deemed both the heir to Pat Frank and Neville Shute and also the ancestor of Tom Clancy and so […]

A LABORATORY FOR MILITARY PROFESSIONALS (WARGAMING ROOM)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes back Ken Gilliam for another installment of the WARGAMING ROOM. In this episode Ken sits down with Doug Winton, the chair of the Department of Military Strategy, Planning and Operations (DMSPO) at the U.S. Army War College. Ken and Doug discuss War College games like JOINT OVERMATCH and MDO 1943. They […]

A FATAL DOSE IN 2 MILLIGRAMS: FENTANYL AND NATIONAL SECURITY

The United States has identified drug trafficking, drug use, and drug manufacturing as important issues — domestically and internationally. In recent years, the opioid crisis has been at the center of many U.S. government efforts. Overdoses due to synthetic drugs have been on the rise for the past decade with fentanyl and its derivatives squarely […]

UNDERSTANDING A DIFFERENT PEOPLE: THE OKINAWAN IDENTITY

When planning for interactions with foreign countries, whether in peace or in war, it can be easy for military planners to be lulled into the false security of the homogeneity of a culture or race or nationality. Many would argue that was exactly what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last two decades. But […]

THE VALUE OF WRITTEN THOUGHT: STEPHEN VOGEL (ON WRITING)

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Pulitzer nominated journalist and author Stephen Vogel to the virtual studio to talk about his path to authorship and his love of history. Steve joins our own Michael Neiberg to discuss the differences between his role as a journalist versus his style as a narrative historical author and how that differs […]

GAMES, PLAY, AND THE AFFECTIVE DOMAIN (WARGAMING ROOM)

What do a hyper-competitive Monopoly player, an educational methodologist and a U.S. Army War College Faculty member have in common? Well for starters they’re all the same person and that combination of skills and interests makes Megan Hennessey the perfect guest on this inaugural WARGAMING ROOM episode of A BETTER PEACE. Megan joins series editor […]

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING AND HE’S HERE TO HELP

Facial recognition technology promises to help law enforcement identify and track suspicious individuals ideally revealing bad actors before they can commit acts of violence or other crimes. The more promising facial recognition becomes as a technology however, the louder grow the voices concerned about the potential invasion of privacy that such mass collection could or would […]

WOMEN IN PEACE AND SECURITY

On October 31st, 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which reaffirmed “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace building, the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase […]

TWO AUTHORS UNDER THE SAME ROOF
(ON WRITING)

It’s a two-for-one on A BETTER PEACE this week. Kara Dixon Vuic and Jason Vuic join Michael Neiberg in the studio for our ongoing ON WRITING series. Kara and Jason share their varied approaches to writing and discuss what literary collaboration looks like in their house. Two very different authors that write on different topics […]

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS?

It’s an election year, and leaving all politics aside, the use of opinion polls is already in full swing by all parties involved. Polling performance in recent years has called the accuracy of polls into question. Was the sample size big enough? Did the questions lead to predictable answers? Who is actually willing to answer […]