Archive for category Podcasts

Podcasts: Sean McFate, Author Of The Modern Mercenary On NPR

This is interesting. Sean McFate is the author of the book The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order and he is making the rounds promoting his book. He will also be at several speaking events in the near future. One will be at the Atlantic Council on March 3 and the other will be at the World Affairs Council on March 24. His background is that he worked for DynCorp International in Africa on a unique project to rebuild Liberia’s army back in 2004.

In the podcast, he gets into the nitty gritty of what this industry is currently involved with, and where he thinks it is going. Check it out. –Matt

Listen to the podcast here.




From NPR

In World War II, contractors made up just 10 percent of the military workforce; by the Iraq war, that number had risen to 50 percent. And that number is climbing – not just in the U.S. but worldwide, as governments look to save money and keep casualty numbers down for their own militaries. But what does this trend toward private-run warfare mean for the future of international relations? One former contractor warns that armies-for-hire will soon be the norm, making it easier than ever to wage war. What an increased reliance on private armies could mean for modern warfare and global security.


Sean McFate senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Former paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and former private military contractor in Africa.

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Podcasts: Boyd Briefing On Organic Design For Command And Control

This is fantastic stuff! I had no idea this existed and if you are a fan of Boyd and mission command, you need to check this out. If you go to this link, or click on the graphic below, it will take you to the website that has this recording that is synced to Boyd’s slide. It also has audience participation in the audio and you get a really good feel on how Boyd would interact with the audience.

A big hat tip to Gahlord of Thoughtfaucet for putting this together. As for an actual download, perhaps someone out there can put it together? Until then, just listen and watch the slides at the Boyd and Beyond site, and enjoy some ‘Leadership and appreciation’!!! –Matt

Edit: 01/04/14 -Notice the theme in this briefing about the importance of having multiple nodes of feedback within your organization, in order to get the proper orientation to make good decisions. It is why Balck ate with his troops–to get feedback that was different than what he was getting in his staff meetings. You do not want a situation where you are getting information from just one source–because that one source could be biased. They could be sucking up to you. You want multiple sources of honest feedback to get a more complete picture. In other words, and this is the point of his lecture, you want to get an ‘appreciation’ for what you have and what is, so that you can apply some sound leadership to the situation. Appreciation and leadership….not command and control.


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Podcasts: DoD Works To Institutionalize Contracting Lessons From Iraq, Afghanistan

Outstanding little podcast and I am in 100 percent agreement. The military must not lose the lessons learned from this war when it comes to working with and using contractors. So management ‘lessons learned’ must be institutionalized and be part of the military commander’s tool box of how to fight wars. It is also nice to know that contractors are finally getting this kind of attention at that level. Check it out. –Matt


DoD Works To Institutionalize Contracting Lessons From Iraq, Afghanistan
By Jared Serbu
DoD acquisition officials say they’re working to instill the idea throughout the department that contracting is a military commander’s responsibility. Now, Estavez said, contracting guidance for Afghanistan comes straight from Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force.
“That’s because it’s part of his effort to win that fight in Afghanistan,” he said. “That needs to go into our military education process and our civilian education process. When our junior officers go through their paces, that has to become part of their process. They need to think, ‘When I deploy, contractors are going to be part of the process. They can help me win the fight or they can impede me. I need to manage them to help me win.’ We’ve been saying this at leadership levels, but we’re all transitory. We need to have that idea inculcated into the workforce for the future.”
Transcript here.

Listen here.


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Podcasts: Drone Archer Weapons–AeroVironment Talks About The Switchblade

The price for these things has yet to be determined. I was also interested to hear that these are ‘one time use’ SUAV’s. Which leads one to think did they purposely make them one time use so that the military would have to buy more of them, or is it just technically impossible to re-use the device if it has been flown?

As for further thoughts about the Switchblade, I personally think that this system should be launched out of pre-existing launchers in the US inventory. Something like the SMAW or the M-3 MAAWS would be excellent launchers to sling SUAV’s out of.  I also know that a few companies have experimented with launching SUAV’s out of artillery or from rocket pods on helicopters. To me, it just makes sense to use anti-tank/bunker buster teams as drone archers of a company/unit and utilize the tools they are already familiar with and carrying.

If there was a Switchblade that could be launched out of a M 3 MAAWS, then AeroVironment could take advantage of a global market that uses those weapon systems. Or even develop a SUAV that could be launched from a RPG launcher? The market for both of those launchers would be massive, just because they are used all over the world.

The other thing that must be looked at is control and situational awareness.  I am particularly interested in the RQ 14 Dragon Eye system, because it uses a video goggle. That is a great path to go for control and there has been some movement towards this, and especially in the civilian world. Vuzix is one company that makes a monocular that could help the soldier on the ground maintain situational awareness, and yet still fly the drone. Or you could have the gunner wear this, and the targeting specialist wear 3D or panoramic goggles. You need one guy to be on the lookout as the other guy’s attention is on flying the drone. And of course the computer used in all of this would be a smart phone or similar sized device.

What I really like about this set up is that if a team runs out of drones, they could switch back to standard munitions for their weapon system. They could put away their goggle and smart phone, and go back to being anti-tank or anti-material bunker busters if need be.  Just some thoughts on the matter, and just a recap on what I have talked about in the past. –Matt

Listen to it here.


‘Backpack-able drones’ could soon be deployed to troops on ground
By Jack Moore
Drones — officially known as unmanned aerial systems — have patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border and targeted terrorist leaders halfway across the world. Someday fighters and bombers will likely even be unmanned.
And now one company has learned how to downsize the latest weapon of war to a size small enough to fit in a soldier’s backpack.
Steven Gitlin, vice president of Aerovironment, which creates the backpackable drone — formally known as the Switchblade Agile Munition Systems — joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris to discuss how it works.
The Switchblade air vehicle launches from a small tube that can be carried in a backpack. It also transmits live color video wirelessly.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Podcasts: Cry Havoc–Simon Mann Speaks At Chatham House About Coup Attempt In Equatorial Guinea

This is interesting. Simon Mann tells his side of the story at the think tank Chatham House. He is also promoting his book Cry Havoc (Jundi Gear Store) which details this coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. I am sure it will sell well.

The other thing that I wanted to mention is that Eeben picked up on a story written about Cry Havoc over at News24, and they outright lied about Executive Outcome’s involvement with this incident. Eeben corrected the record and I wanted to put the word out through this blog as well. Here is a link to the post. To be clear, Executive Outcomes was not involved, did not back anything, and EO was officially shut down in December 31, 1998. The coup attempt took place in 2004.

Finally, if you are interested in following Simon Mann online, he has become quite connected. He is on Twitter , Facebook, and has a website he is using to promote the book. His Twitter account is very active and he talks about all sorts of stuff there. –Matt


Cry Havoc: Simon Mann’s Account of his Failed Equatorial Guinea Coup Attempt
Tuesday 1 November 2011
Chatham House, London
Simon Mann, Author and Coup Attempt Leader

Discussant: Alex Vines, Research Director, Regional and Security Studies, Chatham House, and author, Well Oiled: Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea?Chair: Professor Nana Poku, John Ferguson Professor of African Studies and Dean, School of Social and International Studies, University of Bradford
Type: Members Events
The speaker will outline his version of events surrounding the failed coup attempt against Equatorial Guinea in 2004. He will contend that a number of governments had prior knowledge and offered tacit endorsement of the coup attempt.  ?For more information about the event please contact the Members Events Team
Transcript to follow.
Cry Havoc: Simon Mann’s Account of his Failed Equatorial Guinea Coup Attempt (Click to download)
Click on the play icon to start playing the audio.

Q&A Recording (Click to download)
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Podcasts: Interview With Peter Stiff, Author Of The Covert War (Koevoet)

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