The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

The Convergence is an Army Mad Scientist podcast with a distinct focus on divergent viewpoints, a c ... more

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52

March 10, 2022 00:36:37
52. War in Ukraine: The Urban Fight is Happening Now with Maj. (Ret.) John Spencer

52. War in Ukraine: The Urban Fight is Happening Now with Maj. (Ret.) John Spencer

MAJ John Spencer (USA-Ret.) is the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies with the Madison Policy Forum.  He served over twenty-five years in the U.S. Army as an infantry Soldier, with two combat tours in Iraq as both an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company Commander.  He has also served as a Ranger Instructor with the Army’s Ranger School, a Joint Chief of Staff and Army Staff intern, fellow with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group, and Strategic Planner and Deputy Director of the Modern War Institute where he was instrumental in the design and formation of the institute.  In today’s interview, MAJ John Spencer (USA-ret.) discusses the on-going war in Ukraine, urban warfare strategies employed by both Russian and Ukrainian military forces, the changing character of warfare, and what this portends for the future of conflict. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Both with respect to the current Russia/Ukraine conflict and with modern conflict in general, urban warfare strategies are critical.This is true whether the objective requires getting past urban terrain or involves an objective that is urban in nature.  Despite Russia’s initial plans falling in line with traditional invasions, characterized by a large mass of forces that are then rapidly deployed in a “shock and awe” campaign, Ukraine’s combined arms approach to defense has prevented Russia from quickly gaining control of critical areas. Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) have been very effective in this conflict due to Russia trading combined arms operations for speed. Russia’s rush to seize ground objectives in convoy without effectively utilizing their air superiority has led to many of their ground assets being destroyed.  It is tough to find a recent battle where an urban ...

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47

December 09, 2021 00:38:33
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47. How China Fights with Ian Sullivan, Kevin Pollpeter, Amanda Kerrigan, Peter Wood, Elsa Kania, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Doowan Lee

Over the past two decades, China has transformed its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through a holistic approach — modernizing its weaponry, force structure, and approaches to warfare, to include operations in the cyber and space domains, while improving its professional military education. Although Russia remains a near-peer threat, China has ascended to become the United States’ lone pacing threat. The PLA’s momentous progress in warfighting capabilities and concepts, coupled with its whole-of-nation approach to competition, crisis, and conflict, enables it to challenge the United States across all domains and the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic spheres. Army Mad Scientist interviewed the seven world-class SMEs regarding our near peer threat to learn How China Fights: Ian Sullivan serves as the Senior Advisor for Analysis and ISR to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC G2). He is responsible for the analysis that defines and the narrative that explains the Army’s Operational Environment, which supports integration across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy.  Mr. Sullivan is a frequent and valued contributor to the Mad Scientist Laboratory, including the previous episode in this series, How Russia Fights. Peter Wood is a program manager and defense analyst at Blue Path Labs, a strategic advisory firm. He previously edited China Brief, a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. He has an M.A. from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies (HNC) and a B.A. in Political Science from Texas Tech University. He is proficient in Chinese. Elsa B. Kania  is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. Her research focuses on Chinese military strategy, military innovation, and emerging technologies. Her book, Fighting to Innovate, should be ...

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46

November 18, 2021 00:35:04
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46. How Russia Fights with Ian Sullivan, Samuel Bendett, Katerina Sedova, and Andrea Kendall-Taylor

Russia is a formidable adversary that is currently undergoing transformative modernization.  Its combat proficient force has inculcated lessons learned from recent combat operations in Syria, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine; selectively invested in niche capabilities (e.g., autonomy, robotics, and artificial intelligence) to add precision strike to its already formidable fires, enhance decision making, augment combined arms formations and logistics support, and safeguard its Soldiers; and professionalized to a more balanced ratio of contract to conscript Soldiers.  A master of information confrontation, Russia employs cyber, information operations, and disinformation to offset any conventional force asymmetries.  Above all, Russia remains a persistent, vice a declining power! Army Mad Scientist interviewed the following four world-class SMEs about our near peer threat to learn How Russia Fights: Ian Sullivan serves as the Senior Advisor for Analysis and ISR to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC G2). This is a Tier One Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL) position. He is responsible for the analysis that defines and the narrative that explains the Army’s Operational Environment, which supports integration across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy. Mr. Sullivan is a career civilian intelligence officer, who has served with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI); Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (USAREUR G2); and as an Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) cadre member at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Prior to assuming his position at the TRADOC G2, Mr. Sullivan led a joint NCTC Directorate of Intelligence (DI)/Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Counterterrorism Mission Center (CTMC) unit responsible for WMD terrorism issues, where he provided direct intelligence support to the ...

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43

September 30, 2021 00:29:25
43. A New American Way of Training with Jennifer McArdle

43. A New American Way of Training with Jennifer McArdle

Jennifer McArdle is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and a Product Strategist at Improbable LLC, an emerging global leader in distributed simulation technology for military planning, training, and decision support. Her research focuses on military innovation, readiness, and synthetic training. She currently serves as an expert member of a NATO technical working group that is developing cyber effects for the military alliance’s mission and campaign simulations. Her work has been featured in Real Clear World, The Cyber Defense Review, National Defense Magazine, and War on the Rocks, among others. Ms. McArdle previously served as an Assistant Professor of Cyber Defense at Salve Regina University, where she lectured on the relationship between national security and disruptive technologies. In our interview with Ms. McArdle, we discuss the future of the Synthetic Training Environment, flexibility and scalability in training systems, and the critical need for a new agile approach to training that can keep pace with the dynamic character of warfare.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Synthetic training will be instrumental in providing the next generation of Soldiers with the tools they need to succeed in a new era of warfare. The adoption of synthetic training and simulation will empower realistic individual and collective multi-echelon and multi-domain training and mission rehearsal, advanced wargaming, and enhanced decision-making. The New American Way of Training Initiative at CNAS examines how the military will be required to train and fight in the future, using the Cold War as a model. During the Cold War, intense tension and sporadic ‘hot’ proxy conflicts spurred a ...

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40

July 22, 2021 00:44:07
40. Gamers Building the Future Force with Air Force Gaming

40. Gamers Building the Future Force with Air Force Gaming

Air Force Gaming (AFG) is the official gaming program and competition hub for the United States Air Force and Space Force.  Over 86% of Airmen and Guardians between the ages of 18-34 identify as gamers.  AFG was started to help Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds find common ground through video games, while also promoting mental acuity, fine motor coordination, and competitive excellence.  Its mission is to create an inclusive gaming community for Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds.   Capt Zach “ZB” Baumann co-founded AFG, and for the better part of 2020, led the explosion of AFG's digital reach to 575K impressions and 40K profile visits (doubling its digital footprint of followers on social media and verified members on its Discord server) across five platforms, and tirelessly built the connective tissue between the Department of the Air Force, DoD at large, and the gaming industry — ultimately leading to AFG’s “acquisition” by the USAF in November of 2020.  AFG is helping to bridge the gap between the DoD’s digital natives (tomorrow’s leaders) and digital immigrants (today’s leaders).Capt Oliver “OliPoppinIt” Parsons founded AFG and leads a diverse group of Airmen and Guardians all across the world. AFG strives to be the leading DoD eSports/gaming organization. In 2020, he led the AFG Space Force Call of Duty team to victory in the first ever transatlantic Armed Forces eSports bowl (CODE Bowl).MSgt Michael Sullivan co-founded AFG, launching the Department of the Air Force’s first gaming and eSports organization, with a primary focus in mental health and resiliency for service members.  MSgt Sullivan led day to day operations; advised ...

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35

May 13, 2021 00:26:11
35. Women Warriors Fighting for the Future with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

35. Women Warriors Fighting for the Future with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015), and The Daughters of Kobani (2021). Additionally, Ms. Lemmon is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rebellion Defense, and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as an expert on their Women and Foreign Policy Program,  She also serves in private sector leadership roles in emerging technology and national security firms,  Ms. Lemmon is a frequent speaker on national security topics, including at the Aspen Security Forum and TED forums, and has given talks at the U.S. Military Academy, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Infantry Museum. In today’s podcast, Ms. Lemmon discusses writing about disruptors, the emergence of female fighters and military leaders, and the future of women on the battlefield.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: In The Daughters of Kobani, Lemmon details the story of an all-female Kurdish Militia that partnered with the United States to fight ISIS in Syria. Their story demonstrates the evolving nature of women in combat, as role-breakers step forward to lead both women and men in conflict. The successful collaboration between this militia and the U.S. military provides strong justification for the formation of future counterterrorism partnerships. These efforts could include a ground partner force, a light U.S. special operations presence, and U.S. air support. While partnerships with local groups can be challenging, success in Kobani shows significant advantages to such endeavors. As the ...

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